It’s the true blues
26 September, 2019 — By Róisín Gadelrab
Mud Morganfield is on the line-up for January Blues Festival
THERE’S something about tales of woe, tragic death, lost love and betrayal, punctuated by grieving guitars, that brings a warm feeling to an evening of blues.
Perhaps it’s the fuzzy comfort you get from knowing someone else’s life is as tough as yours, or just the relief that you haven’t sold your soul to the devil. Whatever it is, the early weeks of the new year seem like a good time to pile into a darkened room and take in some of the many acts that make up January Blues Festival 2020.
From the son of Muddy Waters to Son of Dave, there is something for everyone, although, aside from a couple of female names, the line-up is heavily male dominated.
So, here’s the line-up as we know it so far:
STAN Webb’s Chicken Shack + The Sharpeez, 100 Club.
Back in the ‘60s Stan Webb was at the heart of the British blues boom, leading his band Chicken Shack around the club circuit. Special guests are London-based rhythm & blues group The Sharpeez, formed from the ashes of ‘70s band Rebel.
A Celebration of the life and music of Little Walter, featuring Billy Branch & The Sons Of Blues + Marion Diaz Reacco (Little Walter’s daughter) + Giles Robson Band, 100 Club.
American blues musician, singer-songwriter Little Walter, started out as a part of the Muddy Waters Band between 1948-1952, going on to have a bunch of solo hits such as Juke, and Boom, Boom Out Go The Lights. His daughter, Marion Diaz Reacco, joins Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues and Giles Robson Band to celebrate the life and music of her late father, who died in 1968.
Dr Feelgood + Jim Riley’s Blues Foundation, 100 Club. Formed in the early ‘70s, Dr Feelgood have become one of the most popular live rhythm and blues acts in the world. The last album to feature Lee Brilleaux, Down at the Doctors, was recorded live on Canvey Island at the band’s own music bar just two months before he died. The band have continued at Lee’s request. Support from Jim Riley’s Blues Foundation.
Otis Grand & The Big Blues Band + Ramon Goose, Under The Bridge. After the decline of the British blues boom of the ‘60s, Otis Grand arrived on the scene with his 10-piece rhythm and blues band. Having played blues guitar since the age of 13, he has made a name for himself as one of Britain’s best blues guitarists. English guitarist, singer and producer Ramon Goose is known for his mastery of the slide guitar and for producing albums for American blues artists.
Mud Morganfield A.k.a. Muddy Waters Jr + The Cinelli Brothers, Under The Bridge. Mud Morganfield, eldest son of Blues icon Muddy Waters, only became a professional musician after his father’s death. He flies in from Chicago for this exclusive appearance. Support comes from emerging group The Cinelli Brothers.
Savoy Brown + Special Guests: Danny Giles Band, 100 Club. Savoy Brown was formed by guitarist Kim Simmonds in 1965. Forty albums later and the band is still going.
Kirk Fletcher + Ben Poole + The Bad Day Blues Band, 100 Club.
This double-headline blues guitar concert features four-time Blues Music Award nominee Kirk Fletcher, widely considered one of the best blues guitarists in the world, and Ben Poole, one of the hottest new blues artists in the UK.
Billy Bremner & Rockfiles + Geraint Watkins Trio, 100 Club. Scottish blues guitarist Billy Bremner, formerly of Rockpile and The Pretenders, and Geraint Watkins, formerly vocalist-accordionist-pianist with The Balham Alligators, share the bill for this special show.
Popa Chubby + The Blues Against Youth, 100 Club.
Popa Chubby isn’t easily missed, with a shaven head, tattooed arms, a goatee and a performance style he describes as “the Stooges meets Buddy Guy, Motörhead meets Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix meets Robert Johnson.”.
Sonny Landreth + Son of Dave, Islington Assembly Hall. Virtuoso slide guitarist Sonny Landreth is in London following the release of Recorded Live in Lafayette, his first live album in over 12 years. Support from Canadian singer-songwriter Son of Dave, aka Benjamin Darvill.
Band of Friends – A Celebration of Rory Gallagher ft Gerry McAvoy + special guests, 100 Club. This is not a tribute to Irish blues-rock guitarist Rory Gallagher, who died in 1995, but a celebration of his life and music featuring his long-term bassist Gerry McAvoy and special guests.
Bernie Marsden + Deborah Bonham, Under The Bridge. Marsden was the guitarist for hard-rock outfit UFO before becoming an original member of Paice, Ashton & Lord, later joining Whitesnake and Alaska. Blues-Rock Vocalist Deborah Bonham, sister of the late John Bonham, who has toured with Robert Plant, Van Halen, Ann Peebles, Paul Rodgers, Ozzy Osbourne and more, shares the bill.
Martha High & the Italian Royal Family, 100 Club. Soul-blues vocalist Martha High started out as backing vocalist for Bo Diddley and was part of the James Brown Soul Revue for more than 30 years. She is backed by the Italian Royal Family.
Stanton Moore, 100 Club. Drummer Stanton Moore has become known as one of the premier funk musicians of his generation and has been the driving force behind New Orleans funk, jazz, hip-hop and blues group Galactic.