Good Memories Refresh Them

The Best Way To Keep Good Memories Is To Refresh Them With New Ones.

*The music show (MP3 file) for this playlist has been archived and is available upon request.

Taste – Blister On The Moon
Foreigner – Hot Blooded
The Poppy Family – Which Way You Goin Billy
Rush – Mission
The Who – Happy Jack
Elvis Presley – Milk Cow Blues
Joe Cocker – Until The Night Comes
The Chords Of Chaos – 2 Pint’s Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps
Cream – Crossroads (Live)
Van Morrison – Warm Heart
Chilliwack – Fly At Night
AC/DC – Touch To Much

Intro Tune: Take It Off The Top – Dixie Dregs
Outro Tune: Theme 1 – Van Der Graff Generator
Background Link Tunes: Mik The Who

The Captivation Of Music

Get Interested In The Captivation Of Music To Grab Your Attention And Take You Away To A Natural High To Help You Enjoy Life

*The music show (MP3 file) for this playlist has been archived and is available upon request.

Santana – Oya Como Va
Alice Cooper – Schools Out
The Rubinoos – I Think We’re Alone Now
The Stone Roses – Waterfall
The Rolling Stones – 2120 South Michegan Avenue
Howlin’ Wolf – How Many More Years
Led Zeppelin – Trampled Underfoot
The Jam – All Around The World
Aerosmith – Magic Touch
Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane – Annie
The Black Velvet Band – The Way That We Are (from Album When Justice Came)

Intro Tune: Take It Off The Top – Dixie Dregs
Outro Tune: Theme 1 – Van Der Graff Generator
Background Link Tunes:  Mik The Who

Pause Just Be Happy

Every Now And Then It’s Good To Pause In Our Pursuit Of Happiness And Just Be Happy

*The music show (MP3 file) for this playlist has been archived and is available upon request.

AC/DC – Let’s Get It Up
The Who – I’m Free
Free – Travellin Man
Rick Wakeman – Catherine Howard
Chuck Berry – From St Louis To Frisco
Dr Feelgood – Back In The Night
The Stranglers – All Day And All Of The Night
Rush – Bastille Day
Van Morrison – Ain’t Nuthin You Can Do (Live: It’s Too Late To Stop Now)
The Beatles – If I Fell
Kings Of Leon – Sex On Fire
Taste – If I Don’t Sing I’ll Cry
Grand Funk Railroad – The Loco-motion

Intro Tune: Take It Off The Top – Dixie Dregs
Outro Tune: Theme 1 – Van Der Graff Generator
Background Link Tunes: Mik The Who

Don’t Be Unhappy Nightmares

Don’t Be Unhappy If Your Dreams Don’t Come True Just Be Grateful Your Nightmares Don’t

*The music show (MP3 file) for this playlist has been archived and is available upon request.

Thin Lizzy – Sha La La
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Even The Losers
Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Wake Up And Make Love To Me
Fairport Convention – Si Tu Do Partir (If You Got To Go, Go Now)
Steppenwolf – Drift Away
Billy Flynn – Blues Crawled In My Bed ( from album Billy’s Blues)
Humble Pie – Heartbeat
Pete Townsend – Rough Boys
Something Happens – Hello Hello Hello Hello Hello (Petrol)
Maura O Connell – All Of Me ( Jimmy Faulkner, Jimmy Gibson, Declen McNelis, Patrick Collins Hotfoot)
Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
Grainne Duffy Band – Let Me In

Intro Tune: Take It Off The Top – Dixie Dregs
Outro Tune: Theme 1 – Van Der Graff Generator
Background Link Tunes: Mik The Who

Feel Rich Count Things

If You Want To Feel Rich Just Count The Things That Money Can’t Buy.

*The music show (MP3 file) for this playlist has been archived and is available upon request.

Rory Gallagher & Taste – Born On The Wrong Side Of Time
The Doobie Brothers – Without You
Geoff & Maria Muldaur – Havanna Moon
Ann Margaret & The Who – Smash The Mirror
Jimmy Barnes – You Can’t Judge A Book By Lookin At The Cover
The Black Keys – Gold On The Ceiling
David Bowie – Queen Bitch
Tom Robinson Band – Black Angel
The Lookalikes – Radio
Free – The Stealer
Dan Baird – I Love You Period
The Winklepickers – She Does It Right (Haddocks & French Kisses )

Intro Tune: Take It Off The Top – Dixie Dregs
Outro Tune: Theme 1 – Van Der Graff Generator
Background Link Tunes: Mik The Who

Nigel Mooney @ Sugar Club, Dublin, Thursday November 2nd 2006

Nigel Mooney one of Ireland’s national entertainment treasures brought his well crafted, jazz tinged, soulful blues to the Sugar Club on Thursday night accompanied by a big band of consummate musicianship linked with a jazzy blue sensibility.


Nigel stands on stage with the power and authority of a man confident in his own ability among eminent cohorts of the music scene Damien Evans on Bass, Johnny Taylor, Piano, Guy Rickaby Drums, Danny Healy Trumpet, Karl Rooney Saxophone and the amazing Richie Buckley who I have been enjoying at home very much recently in Sharon Shannon’s new Live at Dolan’s DVD.


There is a good up-tempo diamond tipped class about each song’s arrangement mostly from Nigel’s excellent new CD All My Loves in Vain, that is consistently refreshing, strong and inventive throughout.


Love in Vain is a superb collection of good music, played with flair and feeling from top to toe and one of my favourite presents to friends at home and abroad over the past year.


This well oiled music machine launched into a strident rousing fashionable moon dancing instrumental the minute they stepped on stage with each of the musicians attacking their individual role with verve and relish underpinned by Guy Rickaby’s rock solid and equally adept drumming technique.


I was very interested in meeting Guy as he has much in common with my teenage hero Keith Moon in that they both played drums behind Rocks great vocal belter Roger Daltrey.


On top of Nigel’s proficient fretboard fluency the icing on the cake is the wonderful chemistry of Nigel’s vocals and his very superior lyrics and it all works marvellously in the warm comfortably appreciative surroundings of the Sugar Club.


As well as familiar numbers from the All My Loves In Vain CD, Nigel introduces a classic Lowell Fulson song Love Grows Cold giving it that traditional West Coast groove highlighting the fact that Richie Buckley and he shared a memorable stage in Dublin with the prolific and legendary Bluesman back in the late eighties.


Whether its old standards like Sammy Cain’s Teach Me Tonight or Willie Dixon’s I Am Ready, the arrangements are dynamic, free from excess and full of excitement and melodic soulful goodtime tone with Nigel’s voice particularly well suited for getting inside the nostalgic lyric’s which in turn illustrate the sulty silky sexy edge of his infectious vocal on songs like Ray Charles’s I Got A Woman.


Nigel has paid his dues and it seems like several lifetimes ago when we all piled on the 19.25 out of Donabate on a Friday night for the place to be, The Gripewater Blues Band weekly residency in JJ’Smyth’s to hear the real deal on guitar back in the early 80’s.


Over the years this fine player has been a pleasure to listen to swerving away from the rock excesses and producing interesting, insightful and thoughtful mature and mellow music with a solid crew around him.


The retro swing and masterly guitar playing with Saxmen Richie Buckley, Karl Rooney and Trumpeter Danny Healy’s horns riffing behind him as he ranges from tricky single string riffs to blistering propulsive left on blue chord phrasing bursts makes him a guitarist’s guitarist these days.


The show came to a close with the smooth rich flowing mellifluous Beautiful Day revealing how uptown and strong his own material is and a hopeful expectation for the future, that it won’t be long until he repeat’s the prescription.


The extremely well received performance featuring this local guitar slinger of note, with his distinctive emotion charged vocals and a very tight unit finishing each number with pin point accuracy got a standing ovation until they returned for a classic encore Everyday I Have the Blues.


Nigel is succinct, never in your face, knows when to lay back and when to step forward and develops graceful and subtle guitar solos and thought provoking fleet fingered fretwork that attracts your attention with its diverse ideas and tasteful restraint.


The CD has a wonderful version of one song that always reminds me of the summer holidays in Wexford when all the family would gather in the ancestral home and perform a party piece and mine was Boolavogue on an old cheap F hole Egmond acoustic guitar, a far cry from the beautiful job Nigel does on it with his big warm sounding Epiphone.


If you fancy a heap of groovy fun, smoky brown tenor baritone melodic ballads and a set full of fine and varied tunes and styles backed up by musicianship of the highest calibre then treat yourself to a Nigel Mooney gig, a class act right on our own doorstep.


“I got a woman,
way over town,
That’s good to me (oh yeah)
Say i got a woman, way over town
good to me (oh yeah)
She give me money,
When I’m in need
Yeah she’s a kinda,
Friend indeed
I got a woman, way over town,
that’s good to me (oh yeah)”


Mick Kenny aka MTW

Lucerne Blues Festival Switzerland November 2005.

Lucerne is a magnificent city in Switzerland with a population of 80,000 surrounded by scenic high Swiss mountains on the banks of Lake Lucerne with wonderfully restored features of its 800 year old heritage and tradition, super friendly restaurants like my regular haunt Café Rex and wonderful museums, which has become famous amongst Blues Fans in the past decade as one of the world’s foremost, important and primary Blues Festivals, showcasing top quality performances from the finest Blues Musicians on tour from the American Blues circuits.

Six hours of the finest world class blues live every night for a week every November in the elegant and excellent sound stages of the Grand Casino in Lucerne with Sunday brunch performances in the plush and stylish Hotel Schweizerhof. This is a well run professionally organised Festival that has gone from strength to strength because of its uncompromising commitment to providing a focus on real bluesmen, providing a stage for masters of the craft, exciting and revered legendary performers treading the famous blues stages of Chicago, Memphis, Californian and the other Blues States of America.

The spectacular line up of performers for each Lucerne Festival for the past eleven years is credited to the superb selection process of Guido “Mojo”Schmidt and his administration committee who spend the months leading up to each years Lucerne Festival visiting blues performances around the world to assemble each years world class line up to provide 12 acts for 30 exquisite performances throughout the week.

The official performances are sold out well in advance but because of the brilliant organising committee we had pre-booked our tickets at the Grand Casino Lucerne and accommodation arrangements at the Hotel Flora months in advance thanks to email exchanges with Festival Administrator Martin Bruendler and everything was ready and waiting for us like clockwork in through Swiss fashion.

I set off on this years blues pilgrimage in the company of veteran Irish blues travellers, Charlie Hussey presenter of my favourite weekly blues radio program Bluestrain on Dublin City Anna Livia 103.2 FM every Sunday night, Big Eddie Breslin regular blues traveller abroad, who I met for the first time and exchanged tales of all the concerts we had both been in attendance at in Dublin over the previous 30 years and also Southside Eddie Soye who weaned me off the guitar styles of Keith Richard, Nils Lofgren and Angus Young back in the 80’s and converted me to the primitive beauty and perfection of pre rock guitar styles from the likes of Jimmy Reed, Freddie, BB, and Albert King with his regular homemade compilations, and encyclopaedic knowledge and passion for the Blues.

The Lucerne Festival Committee have created a specialised atmosphere around the performances that makes it a pleasure for Blues travellers with a staff that demonstrate a rare and wonderful courteousness, efficiency and professional attention to every possible detail including earplugs if God forbid anyone would want to subdue these amazing performances in any way.

At the end of each performance fans have a chance to meet the performers and get CD’s from the nearby Crosscut Records stand, programmes and fan paraphernalia signed in a specially designated area that was a real treat for I believe both artist and fans alike. I ended up coming home with twenty-four CD’s from the Lucerne Festival representative of the musicians in attendance at this year’s festival. I watched as fans got old LP covers they had brought with them autographed and I witnessed one lady get a harmonica signed by her idol Charlie Musslewhite.

One of the notable features of being in the presence of such fabulous calibre of musicians is the beautiful individuality of each performer and that’s one of the striking experiences, I acknowledged and recognised, witnessing up to seven hours of live blues each night across the two stages in the Grand Casino from masters of the harp and guitar like Billy Boy Arnold, James Cotton, Charlie Musslewhite, Philip Walker, Bob Margolin, Johnny Bassett, who have each clocked up a half century of on the boards experience, entertainment finesse, flair and refinement. At this level the artists all have immediately recognisable blues styles; they not only speak the language fluently but also can master the grammar book as well with conviction. Watching players like Billy Flynn and James Wheeler play their guitars is like watching passion and personality articulated through the language of the blues, add the rhythm section from heaven Willie Big Eyes Smith on drums and Bob Stroger on Bass and the end result is totally beyond anything words can describe.


This was the line up for Billy Boy Arnold & The All Star Band and it featured a magical musical marriage of legendary performers who have carved out their own signature sound, have refined their chops down to reflect and reproduce Chicago, Texas, Southern States, and West Coast Blues perfection effortlessly and naturally.

Chicago Blues Guitar luminary and leading light Billy Flynn’s economical approach and perfectly placed fills crafted some of the most memorable blues guitar of the festival with the ultimate ability of knowing when to get in and when to get out and seems to truly enjoy performing adding humour and class to the proceedings looking like a very competent bank manager on stage. Describing himself to me afterwards as the only Irishman who’s never been to Ireland, the multi-talented Billy Flynn has the gift of the gab, a humorous, easy going, affable musician playing a clean Les Paul Copy through a Fender Amp and occasionally pulling a slide or harp from his pocket for a killer blast.

The All Stars created a great atmosphere in advance of the arrival of Chicago Harp Legend Billy Boy Arnold on stage, whose landmark 50’s classic’s “Ain’t Got You” and “I Wish You Would” inspired every pub blues band in Ireland and England in the sixties following successful chart hits for the Yardbirds. Born in Chicago 1935 and recording since 1952 with Bo Diddley “I’m A Man” in ‘55 and on Vee Jay Records with Jody Williams and Henry Gray, a youthful looking Billy Boy Arnold leads the All Star Band into each of his classics by playing the opening riff on a Fender Strat and as soon as Billy, James, Bob and Willie are locked into the groove he would fumble in his jacket for his harp, wet his lips and the world would stop for what seemed like blissful eternity as the audience swayed along to the infectious groove of his hypnotic R&B blue vocal, his unique harp and his classic compositions delivered with authoritative conviction and effortless ease.

“I got women to the left of me
I got women to the right of me
I got pretty women all around me
But I Ain’t Got You”


For me the wildest, high energy performances of the Lucerne Festival in 2005 was from Chicago Slide Guitarist Lil Ed and The Blues Imperials and it zapped me completely with its electric fast lane house rocking intensity and had the packed Grand Casino overjoyed and rapturous in its appreciation and amazement for every minute of Lil Ed’s fun loving acrobatic stage moves.

Following in the classic slide guitar style of his uncle J.B. Hutto and evoking the spirit and memories of razor slide legends like Hound Dog Taylor and Elmore James this is one of the best heads down, raw and exciting blues and boogie bands to ever set foot on a stage. This was a sweat dripping, blistering, jaw dropping suspension of belief performance with the Blues Imperials pounding out the rhythms, his massive half brother Pookie Young on Bass and long time accomplice Mike Garrett on rhythm and lead guitar, and the pulsating Kelly Littleton on Drums laying down the pounding foundations for Lil Ed William’s tireless duck walking, back bending, tip toeing, flying leap, mind blowing guitar escapades around the stage and out into the awe-diance playing screaming raw edged solo’s that sound like the speakers had been slashed with razor blades.


This is pure old fashioned Chicago magic from the grinning pocket sized former buffer at the Red Carpet Car Wash, who demonstrated to all present how he has built a reputation for tearing up concert and festival stages for the past twenty years with ferocious, roaring hot slide playing and sizzling, solid, hard hitting live blues energy adding a platoon of new supporters to his loyal following of fans affectionately called Ed Heads at Lucerne this year.

“Because you never miss your water
Till your well runs dry”


One of the Lucerne Blues Festival favourites over the years has been Bob Margolin and his All Star Blues Jam this year was a fantastic celebration of Chicago Blues from himself and his sidemen. Steady Rollin Bob who learned his chops in Muddy Waters famous band also had the aforementioned Muddy sideman Willie Big Eyes Smith on Drums and award winning Brooklyn born slick back biker look alike Mookie Brill on Bass, David Maxwell on Keyboards accompanied by Bobs sister Sherry, the marvellous Mark Kaz Kazanoff on Saxophone, and a brilliant performance from Nappy Brown regarded as the greatest living blues singer, with a strip teasing procession into the middle of the crowd. Bob has a proven track record for producing the brightest and best blues performances on stage and in the studio and his passion and skill motivates brilliant Chicago Blues performances from his collaborations. One of my favourite blues writers, Bobs insightful contributions to Blues Revue are a wise counsel and a must for any aspiring musicians wishing to create music and perform and keep the Blues flame alight around the globe, a tremendous guitarist and bandleader his sound is dependable and foot tappingly spontaneous and when he cuts loose on his Les Paul the result is a adoring wailing blue sound that is vintage, groovy, authentic and bone chilling.


Charlie Musslewhite put on two superb showcases of his talent and music in Lucerne, one the first night I arrived he performed a sumptuously intimate solo show that was like a workshop demonstrating his mastery and skill in an atmosphere of palpable warmth and affection for this very likable journeyman of the blues. With his case of Harps open in front of him he dipped into a treasure throve of delights holding the audience’s attention in the metaphorical palm of his hand. When he arrived for his second show two nights later, with the remarkable Kid Anderson on Guitar, it was a stunning, electrifying solid Musslewhite spectacular. The sizzling chemistry on stage between Charlie, Kid and the Band was musically explosive relentless and the individual brilliance at play on stage combined to generate a rocket fuelled blues presentation and performance that was clearly as enjoyable and pleasurable for the Charlie Musslewhite Band on the main stage, as it was for the elated crowd beaming in a state of high excitement on that Saturday night in the Grand Casino.

“You know the blues overtook me
When I was a little child
Fast women and whiskey
Made this southern boy wild”


One of the early morning highlights of the Lucerne Festival was going down to breakfast in the Hotel Flora for a relatively healthy fare in comparison to the greasy fry ups back in Ireland instead settling down to an a tasty assortment of cold meats, cheese, fresh fruit garnished with loads of yoghurt and pots of tea .The other treat was meeting all the musicians resident in the hotel having a chat with fans and planning rehearsals and interviews for the day ahead and a favourite every morning as I dragged myself out of bed in time for the breakfast, was greeting Billy Flynn and The Carter Brothers always bright and cheerful and groomed for the day ahead even though I would have left them jamming at 4am in the Grand Casino.

The Carter Brothers are enjoying well deserved acclamation on the Festival scene with their brand of soulful blues and the crowd pleasing conversations from Roman Carter on vocals and his brother Albert on guitar dressed in matching full length pin stripe suits on stage was visually dramatic and fabulous as they worked their back catalogue of hits from the early sixties.

These great survivors Roman and Albert had been playing their brand of invigorating, tough bluesy southern soul and good time stompers, in the shadows of the music scene in local clubs back home after slipping out of the limelight in the late sixties and have re emerged onto the international circuit in recent years to find their reissued material has fashioned a popular fan base in Europe and Japan. Roman has a wonderfully catching, anguished toned voice that could peel the potatoes for you, and takes the audience into a magnificent ambiance of down home blues and deep soul updated by the sound of their rhythm section and the modern blues guitar sound of Adam Myles who told me he mastered his chops playing along to our own Rory Gallagher’s licks and techniques, bursting forth on cue like a double barrel shotgun on stage. The Carter Brothers are amazing and if fair is not just something you pay in the taxi then they will hopefully enjoy their well earned success in their senior years ahead, and finally, sticking with the breakfast theme, from their 1964 hit, Southern Country Boy.

“You cook me fried chicken and hot biscuits
You serve it to me in bed
You pick the seeds out of my watermelon baby
And put a pillow under my head”


Great Harp legend James Cotton known as Mr Superharp arrived on stage with another fantastic assemblage of talented sidemen that included Darrell Nulisch on vocals, David Maxwell on keyboards and the incendiary guitar talents of Rico McFarland. This crowd were delighted to see and hear this true legend of the harp that shared stages with Sonny Boy Williamson, Howling Wolf, Johnny Winter and Muddy Waters who commanded the crowd’s attention with his personality and style.

One of the hardest working bluesmen on stage and in the studio James Cotton’s reputation as a Harp player has been recognised across all genres of contemporary music in the last fifty years and his music lives and breaths as the template for blues harp performance in not only Blues but also Country and Rock as well. Perched on his seat on stage James blows the living daylights out of his harps creating a wall of sound and texture with a relaxed atmosphere that makes you feel your standing at the steps of a front porch in Mississippi in the presence of a Blues Master.


Detroit was well represented by the excellent Detroit R&B Revue with the very tasty and assured guitar skills of Johnny Bassett breathing fire into his sweet licks backed up by the driving sound of a stage full of Detroit’s finest rhythm n blues players with 50’s star Joe Weaver laying sweet soul tinged blues vocals for the first phase of the set and the belting Thornetta Davis arriving later to take the session into the stratosphere.


Bringing to mind another great Master of the Blues was heralded by the arrival of the great John Lee Hooker companion and studio associate and incredible slide guitarist Roy Rodgers with his superb Delta Kings. Working with an assortment of amplified acoustic guitars including a stunning double neck this was a barnstorming, high-energy set of pure and authentic blues guitar mastery and technique. It was a rock solid throbbing honky tonk performance that pulsated beneath the soles of your feet with a cutting edge of tightness and force that was breathtaking to observe and had the camera brigade at the front of the stage furiously trying to track the manic pace on stage some of whom were wielding elongated lens and attachments that would require planning permission back in Ireland.


Roy Rodgers connects to the audience with a certainty and solid confidence in his absolutely amazing skill on the six strings. Like his famous namesake Roy Rodgers rode into Lucerne on his six-string trigger and proceeded to shoot up the place with a rousing, motivating inspired performance leaving not a sinner on the streets when he walked off the stage. Roy remembered fondly his open air performance in College Green, Dublin back in the 90’s at the Temple Bar Blues Festival sadly now defunct and was looking for forward to revisiting a stage in Ireland some day soon.


One on my most memorable blues gigs in Dublin was by Philip Walker and it was acknowledged by many in I spoke with in Lucerne this year that their cherished performances was from the Philip Walker Big Band Blues Show with his four piece brass ensemble.

The super talented line up of superb musicianship and first class blues guitar presented a unique blend of blues.

Philip Walker is deservedly considered to be one of the best guitarists and live performer on today’s blues stage and has earned the respect and love of his colleagues and fans the world over for his outstanding full size sound embroidered with immaculate fret work. Standing with authoritativeness centre stage he builds each song up from its roots into a flowering orchestration of counter melodies taking the audience with him into dynamic climax after climax full of blue swing, jive and West Coast versatility. His voice has a wonderful silky smooth sleek timbre that is uplifting, raspy and swampy and fills the air with intimate, impassioned, emotional magic and is in pole position as one of the most important performances for any fan of the guitar and a live performance to witness on stage with 50 years of stagecraft charisma standing tall as a well dressed mountain in living breathing authenticity.


The final performance bringing proceedings to a close in the Grand Casino was left in the very capable hands of young gun Ronnie Baker Brooks now cutting a blazing reputation for himself after serving his apprenticeship as sideman for his famous Dad, the legendary and celebrated Lonnie Brooks. He has got the blueprints and is building a blistering, smokin, full frontal assault on his fret board with his modern speedy blues shuffles driving along with the rhythm crunchiness of tank tracks under the hood.

Ronnie is a classic showman on stage manipulating the guitar and sound into a melting brew of audience captivation fuelled by a boundless non stop energy and unpredictable joy at one stage bringing his performance across the hall and in behind the bar where he proceeded to have a cocktail through a straw while playing a paint peeling solo behind his head.

Rico McFarland joined Ronnie midway through a song on stage with as unbelievable as it sounds four hands tearing note perfected fills from Ronnie’s guitar and in true camaraderie Ronnie handed the guitar to Rico to finish out the song in his own inimitable style while looking on approvingly from the side of the stage.


It doesn’t get and better than this and as we danced into the early hours of the morning in Lucerne and began to wind down we all felt collectively blues zapped and orgasmic after such a range of sublime and intricately beautifully potent blues performances from the stellar line ups on the Lucerne Blues Festival stages in 2005 where age was nothing but a number.


Mick Kenny

Johnny Winter @ Astoria, London Friday April 27th 2007.

This was my first time to see American Bluesman Johnny Winter perform having been a fan since buying his storming live album back in the early 70’s.

White Blues Rock guitar slinger Johnny was born in Texas in 1944 and has been recording, playing and producing great rock and blues music since he was 15 years of age.Rolling Stone magazine picked up on Johnny Winter back in 1968 and resulted in incendiary performances in Woodstock and numerous festivals and jams with Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison in the rock arena and Walter Horton, Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters in the blues world.


He hooked up with legendary Bluesman Muddy Waters in 1977, playing and producing some Grammy Award winning recordings with Muddy and his band up until Muddy’s death and was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall Of Fame in 1988.His career was badly screwed up by poor management over the years with many dubious releases credited to the mercenary motives of former manager Roy Ames.


Johnny’s tone has been pure authentic Delta blues crunch and boogie grind with amazing prowess on acoustic and electric bottleneck and has been burning up stages with his lightning.The Astoria in London was packed with fans many like me who travelled a great distance just to see Johnny perform conscious of the fact that he has lived life in the fast lane over the years and is lucky to be still alive and well the title of one of his hits.


The Scott Mc Keon Band kicked off the show in The Astoria with some loud high energy rock blues reminiscent of the main act and also in the style of Stevie Ray Vaughan and the new young guns of the genre.Johnny arrived on stage dressed in black, with his trademark Black Hat and sat down on a chair at the front of the stage.


At 63 years of age he may look physically weak in appearance but his guitar skill is still astonishing with dazzling fret board skill.I had to withdraw from the front of the stage because of the sheer distorted volume coming from a wall of speakers and moved about the various circles and balconies which are very much similar to our own Olympia in design, to get a better sound position stopping into the Keith Moon Bar for some local sustenance.


All my favourite covers were blasted out like Hoochie Coochie Man, Hideaway, Tore Down, It’s All Over Now, Blackjack and Highway 61 Revisited in a set lasting 90 minutes long.The Astoria was clearly full of dedicated fans who were in thrilled to see their hero and master of the blues rock guitar still on fire with his rhythm section Scott Spray on Bass and Wayne June on Drums pumping solidly behind him.


There is a fond regard and great sympathy for this artist who has suffered so much mismanagement and drug abuse and thanks to his new management has been rehabilitating his body and career with this highly acclaimed and successful tour.


The term living legend is often bandied about but no one deserves the title more than this master of modern rock blues who certainly plays its loud and proud at 63 and long may he continue.It was my first time to see the unusual Lazer Guitar which Johnny maintains is the perfect mix between the Stratocaster and the Gibson and was screaming white hot riffs in the hands of this giant of rock n blues guitar.


“Oh God said to Abraham, kill me a son
Abe said man you must be putting me on
God said no, Abe said what
God said you can do what you want Abe but
Next time you see me coming you better run
Well, Abe said where you want this killing done
God said out on Highway 61”


Mik Kenny aka MTW

Jed Thomas Band @ JJ Smyths Dublin Friday Aug 4th 2006

The Jed Thomas Band from Harrogate in Yorkshire deep in Emmerdale land, got the August Bank Holiday weekend of to an excellent start in JJ Smyths Friday night with their own tight brand of high energy British Rockin’ Blues with crying bottleneck squeals, amazing fretwork, plenty of crunch n bite and relentless rhythm attack.

What makes Jed Thomas so enjoyable on this side of the water is his dedication and celebration of the guitar style and approach of our own Rory Gallagher, capturing the atmosphere and mood of Rory’s trademark techniques and blending them seamlessly into his own fluent interpretation of the blues.

The Jed Thomas performance is a direct descendant of the history of British Blues and Rock and contains all the essence, exciting sounds and potent influences of progressive blues.The evolution of the blues in the hands and hearts of musicians like Rory Gallagher, Tony McPhee Groundhogs, Alvin Lee Ten Years After and Jed Thomas has been first not to treat it as a museum piece, to be stifled over, but to give it a contemporary modern living experience and impetus so that despite the assault of time, the music of the Hooker, Wolf, Muddy and Sonny Boy that inspired them to pick up that lump of wood and wire in the first place has ongoing vitality. Music like life itself is about growth and motion, a fixed point of view constrains anyone who has one.

It’s an emotional experience for the awe-diance, makes you feel glad inside, makes the crowd holler with enthusiasm, makes life surge as each song builds up to a delayed explosion, makes the shapely Rebecca dance elatedly around the pounding relentless beat all the way up to the stage and back.

The performance of this three piece turbo charged outfit live from Leeds, was brilliant and well balanced in every respect, with superb support on Bass from Nibb and Paul flailing like an octopus with an itch on Drums.

From the minute Jed lets rip, his amazing speed and accuracy are captivating, this guy is matchfit and capable of mastering the fretboard workout from hell, as is evidenced by the paint worn edges of his battered Cherry Red Strat through his confusing but highly effective customised effects unit. Jed’s tools of expression are a varied range of right hand and left hand perfectly played fast blues rock guitar techniques that would take me several lifetimes to master.

The Jed Thomas Band grooves along like a locomotion trying to out run Sitting Bull who is emblazoned on Jed’s Strat, across the wild primitive plains of Boom Boom Boom Boom, fast and furious SRV and Chuck Berry shuffles, topped off with tone and phrasing that reflects a wealth of delightful influences blended together to create his own signature sound.It’s evident watching these guys play, that the collective honed skills are the result of years of hard work and demanding schedules demonstrated with that fluent familiarity with each other’s technical vernacular.

Anto from JJ’s House Band joined the band on Blues Harp for a Mystery Train style jam in place of their own Harp player who missed the flight or as Jed remarked later on when he did arrive, travelled over via Spain. Tony Poland from Parchman Farm also got up for another call and response jam with Jed on guitar.The repertoire is diverse and versatile Jed producing three different guitars in various tunings for forays into blistering Rock Blues and Bottleneck with a piece of copper pipe on a hollow bodied Epiphone and finishing the night off on a Fender Telecaster as sharp as a crosscut saw.


Statesboro Blues, Shake Your Money Maker, Rollin n Tumblin, all given a hard driving facial along with originals such as Devils Been Blowing In Your Ear all played at breathtaking speed as Jed coaxing amazing sounds from his armoury of influences displayed balls out riffing and furious chordal changing stamina.

The buzz was Canned Heat, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, ACDC, George Thorogood to Live At Leeds but the icing on the cake for me is that I felt I was back 30 years watching the similar intensity and chemistry of our own local hero Rory Gallagher in the Carlton Cinema or on the boards in the National Stadium.

Jed is a devoted fan of Rory as demonstrated in two stellar workouts on Laundromat and Messing With The Kid telling us that if it weren’t for Rory he would not be standing on the stage tonight.Thankfully a Jed Thomas gig will ensure that Rory’s music and technique which opened up my own universe with Taste and the subsequent pilgrimages to witness our white hot guitarist in action, will always be just a memory away and serve to remind us just how brilliant Rory was and the tragedy that his contribution to the traditions of Blues guitar ended so prematurely.

Apart from being great commemorators of Rory Gallagher, what grabbed my attention most about the Jed Thomas Band are their focus, attention, sheer authority, control, and confidence in their repertoire, combining all the elements of blues past with high energy dynamic modern techniques including a rapid fire devastating drum solo.

Without the slightest hesitation I have now added Jed Thomas to my favourites list as one of the most exciting guitarists on the planet, with a style that combines traditional blues, blazing progressive blues, touch, tone, speed, energy and stamina in a very creative, fertile, testosterone laden style uniquely his own.


” Well Mama killed a chicken,
She thought it was a duck
She put it on the table
With his legs sticking up

You’ve got to bottle it up and go
You’ve got to bottle it up and go
Yes them high-powered women
Sure got to bottle it up and go”


Mick Kenny aka MTW

Hot New Machine @ MB Slattery’s Lower Rathmines Road, Thursday August 24th 2006

I got a poster up on the wall at home that refers to the wisdom of a Statesman Marcus Cato, who was hanging out back in 234 – 192 BC:

“The best way to keep good acts in memory is to refresh them with new.”

With that in mind I responded to Pat Cannon’s gig texts and headed over to his Thursday night session in MB Slattery’s to hear a new funky blues, rock and latinesque soul band called Hot New Machine.

Hot New Machine is a busy three piece collaboration featuring a much travelled young New Yorker and two mint fresh Dubliners on Bass and Percussion.

In accordance with Marcus Cato’s philosophy, Hot New Machine do provide a refreshing blend of very approachable tight, funky, soulful music infused with total conviction and Bradley’s musical observations in South America for five years and Spain for three, singing many of his own original’s in melodic Portuguese.

All the favours were well represented in the jubilant and jovial version of Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing at the start of the set with its latinesque jive on Bradley’s Fender Stratocaster and vocals driven by melodic bass and percussive warmth.

This difference in style and approach and willingness to embrace the wider world is infectious and upbeat and full of enjoyment for the audience and capable of igniting the dancing G spot for several gyratory young ladies in post coital bliss around the front of the stage.

Bradley’s subtle and complex picking has developed from his original inspiration Eric Clapton into an R&B cool sounding groove full of Brazilian and Spanish journeyman dalliances giving the impression of someone having the time of his life finding his own groove driven along by an Irish rhythm section full of youthful, catchy, poppy, and glitterball funky vigour that could just as easily provide a backdrop for Alex Turner. Bassman the man with the plan shuffles about the stage, interlocking Bradley for some slash and burn adding plenty of visual excitement.

Hot New Machine have a spirited, bounciness to their performance, and the atmosphere is full of energy and multi lingual exchanges with the rapidly apparent multi national audience characteristic of the new Irish social scene engaging enthusiastically.

Hard working live music promoter Pat Cannon is moving his promotions to a new redesigned Lower Deck in September with gigs from the following lined up: from Full Circle, Bree with encouraging plans in the pipeline to bring in another International Blues Artist in collaboration with JJ Smyth’s Blues promoter Barry O Reilly.

The Lower Deck sounds even if my previous visit there is a very smudgy recollection of being in a reduced state of awareness at a Planxty style session in ’75 moving bipedally around a dark venue amongst a room full of my peers resembling in hindsight a tribe of white handed gibbons.


Mick Kenny aka MTW