There were eight Independent sets, including the opening set by the house band and the closing set with Dave Thomas dropping out in favour of Martin to play bass. This week was Dave Barnes playing slide, singing and playing some sterling harmonica, Richard Stenhouse supporting on the guitar with the aforementioned Dave Thomas and Reg Patten fronting up the rhythm section. First set had seven numbers: Walking The Dog, Killing Floor, It Hurts Me Too, Long Distance Call and what I originally mistakenly thought was Dust My Broom, but was in fact a broom-ish treatment of the Allman Brothers' Statesboro Blues followed by the wonderful interpretation of The Sky Is Crying. Apart from recalcitrant mic stands and the crew's
The second combination of the evening was a quartet retaining the warmed up backing band with Jan Fielder fronting three interpretations of Hound Dog, Torn Down and (I've got my) Mojo Working, all nicely executed with Jan on top form.
Third jam set featured Erik Pattison singing and playing harmonica, Raf on guitar and Dave Taylor and Tom Thomas delivering a persuasive rhythm section. The interpretations of these songs differed from our normal expectation in that they explored slightly more unusual territory. Cadillac Deville, Catfish Blues and finally Bright Lights Big City, all delivered with great aplomb.
There were few guitarists this evening, so Raf stepped up to deliver a further three performances of well-executed guitar playing. This set was headed by Bo, delivering an east side Chicago vocal and harmonica, I played bass and Steve Pantelli provided the four on the floor to great effect. The tunes were Poor Boy by Howling Wolf, I Wish You Would by Billy Boy Arnold, and finally a variation on Muddy Waters' Crawling King Snake, and had a very concise delivery from my perspective as being part of the equation.
The fourth set was Phil Hughes's quartet, where he delivered some sublime vocals and harmonica, Martin Heath and Steve Pantelli provided admirable foundation for the rhythm section. I single out Martin Heath as one of the standouts with some very nice playing, They had the dubious pleasure of my guitar skills.
Finally for the fifth set we had a quintet, which seems appropriate. This featured Dave Thomas on bass and vocals, Richard Stenhouse and Kevin O'Brien on guitars, Marc Turner on drums with great style and accuracy and a new performer (to me anyway) on harmonica - Oisin - who seemed to to have a great understanding and capability grappling with 3 fairly sophisticated arrangements of Steady Rolling Man, Brand New Companion and Roll 'em Pete.
Set 6 featured myself playing guitar and singing with Dave Taylor on bass and Mark Turner on drums. We gained a late guest arrival on guitar - Andy Romasc? - and Tom Thomas played some very comprehensive harmonica. We stuck with three standards before the house band came back: Sweet Home Chicago, Talk To Me Baby and Route 66 (there was some confusion because we thought Jan might have done this one earlier).
The last set featured Mad Dog with the house band as mentioned earlier but with Martin Heath on bass to make certain he had a second chance to pay some superlative bass patterns. Again he executed this with great expertise and flair. Three numbers were played and I'm afraid that I cannot remember what the titles were but I'm sure that our illustrious guests and audience will fill in the details, I did say to Mad Dog that I thought the second song was Sweet Little Rock 'n' Roller - which it wasn't - but it was Let It Rock or something similar.
It was a well performed evening with a nice variety of music. We had half the amount of guitarists we usually get, which was unusual. We seem to be having increasing numbers of harp players and some different vocalists which is making for some nice variety.
Next week pour Houseband Guest is Steve Monk from south of the river. Steve is a wonderful guitarist and singer who will undoubtedly be channeling his inner Peter Green and Danny Kirwan. The equally capable Matt Withey will be the house band comping guitarist, and Terry and myself will be alternating bass tasks with Reg on drums.
Thank you to everybody who gave considerable help to this gig: Jan Fielder for sorting out the door and the musicians in the sets; equally Dave Thomas lending his extensive expertise in finding good jamming partners to maintain a nice balanced musical integrity over the evening; Richard Stenhouse the bar staff, and anybody I may have missed. I'm looking forward to seeing Terry and Vera back because they are the experts and the real deal when it comes to making these things work!