Portrait Of The Blues Exhibition @ Bleu Note, Capel Street Dublin 18th April until 29th April 2007
Every picture tells a story and Ray Wright’s collection on display in the Blue Note is the story of theDublin Blues Scene.
Ray Wright a big fan and supporter of the music assembled thirty musicians who have been stalwarts of live music in Dublin over the years to sit for portraits in a city centre studio.
The fruits of that project were unveiled last night with an opening reception in the Blue Note Blues Soul & Jazz venue on the corner of Capel & Parnell Street.
Among the 30 images on display are all my favourite local guitarists all of them present and chilling out and appreciative of this gesture of recognition such as Pat Farrell, The Business, Pete Mc Gowan, Parchman Farm, Junior Hynes, Hollywood Slim & The Fat Cats, Gerry Hendricks, Don Baker Band, Peter Moore & Johnny Reynolds, International Blues Band, Ben Prevo, Dermot Byrne and Brian Meakin.
The portraits on display all around the walls of the Blue Note are wonderful and capture not only the personality, spirit, emotion and energy of each individual performer but also reflects a portraiture of the passionate endeavour each brings to their music on the stage.
What you see is a labour of love for the musicians and the music and is a glimpse into this distinct and powerful mode of music and a rich soup of talented musicians who give
expression to the deeply emotional content of the blues on the stages around Dublin and abroad over the years.
Derived and distilled from traditions of Gospel, European and African music and rhythm the Blues is appreciated the world over for its hard truths, collective soul, humour and
depth of spirit often referred to as the premier musical format of the disenfranchised and downhearted but also a joybringer for audience and musician alike within the small, tight knit and supportive community very similar to our own Irish traditional music community.
Its extremely difficult to solve the commercial nature of playing blues music and as such it becomes obvious to fans and observers that these musicians are driven by a passionate
motivation, an earthiness, honesty and desire to play sing and participate with other musicians and the audience with the likelihood that they won’t get their reward in this life.
From a fans point of view it’s a much more accessible environment with none of the ego and pretence that unfortunately surrounds the more commercial mainstream formats.
At a blues gig you can join together with the band, meet and greet the musicians and support the musicians directly by buying CD’s from the band itself.
Ray Wright has done an excellent job of using the subjects in his large portraits to tell his thoughts by bringing together the diverse talents of these local heroes and masters of
On the walls of the Bleu Noteand as well as the guys I mentioned earlier for the next two weeks you can see Mary Stokes, Bree Harris, Nigel Mooney, Jimmy Faulkner, Kevin Morrow, Deko Kennedy, Pat Kilty, Tommy Carney, Steven Mc Loughlin and Tommy Grimes, Drummers Brian Downey and Shane Atlas, Bass Players Brendan Priestley, Bill Bergin and Neil Partridge, horn player Karl O Byrne, harmonica players such as Tony Poland and Brian Palm who also has some of his own creative talents on the walls of the Blue Note.
Music for the occasion was provided by Pat Farrell on Guitar, Tommy Moore on Bass and Fran Breen on Drums. Pat Farrell playing a hollow bodied Gibson 335 through a Fender
amp revealing his versatility offering up excellent biting guitar solos and chord phrasing to the assembled roomful of his peers.
Tommy Moore is an impressive musician who performs with colour and variety on Bass & Vocals supported by Fran Breen’s propulsive percussive style but its Pat Farrell’s scintillating fretwork that bursts into pants on fire boogie and is marked by an experienced inventiveness.
Happy Birthday Blues, Barefooting, Red House, Further On Up The Road and Need Your Love So Bad were sure fire winners, loaded with solid blues feeling and golden age tradition.
Bree Harris a top class entertainer joined the band on stage for Stormy Monday and Talk To Me Baby for a swinging energetic top flight performance assisted by Dermot Byrne and Tony Poland on harps demonstrating a musical portrait from these Irish Ambassadors of the Blues.
It was a night of celebration and collaboration and the Blue Note laid on food and a supportive party atmosphere that makes it all worthwhile for the fans and especially for the musicians and as long as we have artists like Ray Wright and our local Blues
Musicians helping each other project their mutual talents we will keep the music alive.
Ray also has some great pictures on his site www.raymondwright.org particularly of Thin Lizzy and Philomena Lynott was in the Blue Note to support the launch.
I walked down the street with my body still vibrating to the wonderful version of Willie Cobbs You Don’t Love Me, a song I have worn out playing on many albums over the years from the Allman Brothers to Ike & Tina Turner and such is the catchy indelible nature of these tunes I never grow tired listening to alternative interpretations.
“You don’t love me pretty baby
You don’t love me yes I know
You don’t love me pretty baby
You don’t love me yes I know
Well if you leave me pretty baby
Don’t you know your gonna hurt me so”