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Talkin’ Blues 4 August 2007

By Thursday 2nd August Little Dave, who books the bands for gig nights, was beginning to panic.  TS Blues band, originally scheduled to play on Saturday had rung the previous week to say that they would have to cancel their appearance.  Jamie, their guitar/vocals lead, had broken his wrist and Kirby, their drummer has suffered a heart attack (we wish them both well soon!).  Little Dave had phoned all the bands he knew and could not find one to deputise for the TS Band.  Just when things seemed to be getting desperate he acted on a tip from one of the BBC members and phoned Talkin’ Blues who hail from Cardiff.  They were not keen to play since they had a gig the previous night but, recognising the difficulties of the situation, kindly agreed to step in which was much appreciated by Little Dave, the Committee and by the Club members.

The band, who have been together for about 2 years, had a few problems of their own since they had lost their regular drummer earlier in the week.  So they lined up with Mark Cowley on drums, Brian Humphries on vocals and harp, Ken Markham on lead guitar and Dave Robertson on bass.  Mark normally plays with a seven-piece soul band and had only managed one practice three days before the gig with, of course, one performance the previous night.  Paying full attention to his notes and with elaborate signals from his band mates he managed to cope well and got through the evening without a noticeable hitch.

The band did two sets of good blues standards to the steady appreciation of the crowd.  Dave Robertson, who boasted that he had become an Old Age Pensioner the day before, introduced most of the numbers.  He challenged the audience to identify which two writers from those who wrote the songs the band played were still alive.  It was said that Otis Rush was one correct answer, but that was not clear.  What was certain, however, was that Ken Markham was the other with four good songs he had penned spread throughout the set including one called “Talkin’ Blues” from which the bands name was taken.  Ken claims a long experience in the blues having played guitar in the 60’s with Peter Green and much later having jammed with Irish blues star Gary Moore.  His elegant style with many slides, runs and fills helped give the band their very laid back feel which they only departed from briefly to provide a few dance numbers at the end of the evening.

Brian Humphries played excellent blues harp and sang well, though in a much understated fashion, as the band delivered one blues standard after another.  One, written in 1946, was “Route 66” which went from Chicago to Los Angeles passing through San Bernadino where, apparently, the first McDonald’s restaurant was opened in the same year.

It was clear that the band thoroughly enjoyed the night.  Dave Robertson was very complimentary about the Borough Blues Club which he said was gaining a reputation as a great blues venue.  Judging by the encore at the end of the evening the members appreciated Talkin’ Blues and Little Dave sighed with relief (possibly assisted by Crow Valley real ale), just grateful that Talkin Blues had turned up and done the business!


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