CAST HIS NET ... Oh what a catch he'd make 

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Rogers personal view of the gigs he has attended
Not all are Rock'n'Roll - Roger likes all live entertainment

Disclaimer: All the views expressed herein (unless otherwise ascribed) are those of the author and may
be unsuitable for overly sensitive persons of low esteem, or irrational religious beliefs. Any attempt
to sue me over the contents will constitute an irritating social faux pas.




Snake Davis in session

Saturday 24th August 2021
We visited Ripley Blues Club to see Snake Davis performing.

This was the excuse for a special two hundred and twenty mile trip up to Harrogate to see friends Peter & Renee and Mark & Annette, and to support Renee's charity - The Yorkshire Parkinsons Disease Society. Renee is unlucky enough to have both Parkinsons and Multiple Sclerosis and is now confined to a wheelchair with a deformed back and continual shakes, but there is nothing wrong with her brain, and her reducing physical abilities don't stop her working hard at raising money and awareness for the society. The gig we drove all that way to attend at Ripley Live Music Club was organised by Renee to raise money for her charity. Snake Davis is a well known session musician; his principle instrument is the saxophone, but he also plays flute and whistle and a strange Japanese flute made of bamboo with only four holes.
The show opened with a local band called District Blues who were clearly very influenced by early John Mayall recordings. They were entertaining but a bit too loud and the vocals were not very clear - however this could have been the sound system - and they were still fun and entertaining. They were very adept as a pub band, and noticeably the bass player was outstanding. He played a loose jazz style and kept the drummer in time (in most amateur bands this is the other way round). He had clearly found his groove and he just drove it keeping all the rest of the band together.
After a break "Snake" (Christopher) Davis took to the stage with his band. What an amazing performance! Snake and his band (sorry - I can't recall their names) were professional, polished and was each at the top of their game musically. They were also evidently extremely happy, perhaps even excited, to be performing for a live audience again after sixteen months of "lockdown".

Ripley's own "District Blues"

The guitarist (Richard) was excellent, and obviously very in tune with Snake's own vibes - some of the pieces they played gelled brilliantly as if they were a single performer. The drummer was also very good - immaculate timing and a broad range of styles - including playing a large tabor like drum to accompany Snake on a penny whistle for an Irish jig. The bass guitarist was mind blowing. He wielded a huge six string bass guitar, which he played sitting on a low pedestal, not quite cross legged, but almost in sitar fashion. He produced a mind blowing array of complex rhythms and tunes, slapping as well as plucking and strumming. I have never seen such a versatile bassist - the music ranged from a quiet Japanese study called Mount Fuji Rising (Snake played his bamboo Japanese flute for this one) through European rhythms to complex  reggae and samba. Snake himself was extremely versatile - as well as playing his Irish penny whistle and Japanese flute he had three Saxophones. His pedigree as a session musician is great. According to his Wikipedia entry he has backed Ray Charles as well as Lisa StansfieldTom Jones, George Michael, Tina Turner, Cher, Paul McCartney, and even Motörhead as well as many others. His singing voice is good too and he can carry a tune. He evidently had a taste for sixties soul music and had the audience singing along to numbers like Respect and My Girl.
Overall it was a brilliant evening, thanks to Renee and her drive to raise money for the support of Parkinsons Disease victims.


Saturday 26th June 2021
We walked to The Newtown Pippin pub with friends and neighbours to see James Deane performing again.

Early in the evening we collected neighbours Paul & Helen, Paul & Liz and Mark to walk the half mile up the road to The Newtown Pippin. Until a few months ago this had been a dreadful place full of fights and drug peddlers, but Simon & Vicky took it over during the last Covid lockdown, evicted the bad guys, and have turned it into a real local amenity. Unfortunately the bad guys didn't appreciate being evicted. On the first night after eviction they came back in the early hours and smashed the pub windows. These were replaced a few weeks ago, but they came back again this week - disabled the CCTV security and smashed the new windows. Neither event is covered by insurance, so we are starting a neighbourhood fund to help fix the damage.  The seven of us we were soon joined by a friend of Helen's named Chris; and by Nikki, our immediate next door neighbour. Fran and I were excited to celebrate because it was the anniversary (the fifty third anniversary) of us first being introduced; and Nikki was excited because she had just got an engagement ring from her partner Tadhg.  Simon, the landlord, had reserved us a big table right at the front, and we all indulged in pizzas or other Saturday evening nibbles.  Paul & Liz bought us a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate our anniversary and then the music got underway.
James Deane is a very talented guitarist, and has a good vocal range too. While he can carry off really professional sounding blues and rock'n'roll music (he even sounds a lot like Elvis when he curls his lip!) in the pub environment he is most entertaining when he is playing more modern music - which aligns better to the demographic of the pub audience. But however good James is, his act was almost eclipsed by the antics of three girls on the other side of the room. Two were very well upholstered young ladies, the other a tall leggy girl in a tight green dress, and sporting very long black hair.  The trio clearly had some theatrical aspirations, not only singing along with most of the songs, but dancing in their seats. The two large ladies presented a really good double act as if they were backing singers, while the tall slim girl danced not so much in her seat, as "with" it.  Sliding around on her seat. she used the chair as a prop for her dancing rather than as a seat; and swinging her hair around and around. They got almost as much applause as James !

James Deane


Ray Phillips with Five Card Hand

Sunday 30th May 2021
travelled all the way to Northchapel, to The Half Moon pub, to see my first band gig in nine whole months!  It was Chris Bryant's band, Five Card Hand.

On Sunday I drove down to The Half Moon pub at Northchapel to see my friends who play in a band called Five Card Hand. It was an outdoor pub gig with a barbecue going in a corner of the car park and - somewhat strangely - a meeting of the Fiat Car Club going on in another corner. Fran wasn't feeling too good so I left her at home and headed off to find Spud, who usually plays drums in Five Card Hand. He had broken his foot some weeks ago and still has it in a cast - no good for drumming - so I had planned to pick him up and take him to the gig as an "observer". Unfortunately he had got the wrong date and was out when I called - so I ended up driving down to Northchapel alone. The drummer who was deputising was Rob Collins. whom I have seen on several other occasions; a good guy with a steady beat, and a much quieter attack than Spud demonstrates. Other members of the band were our friends Chris Bryant on first lead guitar and vocals; Colin Pattenden on bass guitar; Ken Osborn on second lead guitar and Ray Phillips on lead vocals. The weather was glorious - just right for an outdoor gig. When I arrived I found - as well as the band - the "WAG"s Jacky, Sarah-Jane & Mel plus friends Mike & Anne Connor and Ray Stiles. It was very satisfying to catch up with old friends whom I haven't seen very much at all for almost eighteen months. When the band started I managed to video the first three numbers - Five Card Hand, Rock Me Baby, and Nadine - but when Adam Russell arrived I broke off recording to chat with him. I haven't seen Adam for ages and he has been unlucky enough to be one of those rare cases who suffered with a blood clot after his Covid injection - so I was pleased to see that he looked in good shape after his pulmonary thrombosis. One of the numbers which I failed to record, but wish that I had, was All Along The Watchtower.  I have five different recorded versions of that by Ray in my record collection. The first version was originally recorded by The Nashville Teens six months before Jimi Hendrix recorded his seminal (and suspiciously similar) version. I was amazed because in over twenty five years of managing his band I had never heard him sing it live before. It was very good and very moving. The first set ended around four o'clock and I decided that I really ought to get back to make sure that Fran was OK, so I bade farewell and missed the second set. Never the less it was a fantastic experience to get back to live music with good friends.


Sunday 30th May 2021
We walked to The Newtown Pippin pub in Bracknell to hear James Deane performing.

Friday 30th May 2021 was our first outing to enjoy live music since Sunday 30th August 2020.  That is nine whole months - longer than we had to go without live entertainment during the first lock down. We met with neighbours Paul & Helen and Paul & Liz to walk the half mile to the Newtown Pippin pub. Liz stayed with us for the first half hour before she had to go to a prior appointment, but the other five of us ate pizzas and drank far too much while waiting for the act - James Deane - to set up and start. As well as being the first of their projected monthly music nights at The Pippin, it was also the grand opening of their new main bar. James' is a young singer/guitarist from Farnham who commands a very broad spectrum of musical styles. When I chatted with him afterwards he proclaimed that his real love was British Blues and the likes of the late Peter Green. In fact he even played (extremely professionally) a little bit of Albatross, even though that was hardly likely to hold the attention of a twenty-first century pub crowd. The bar was full and James entertained them from eight o'clock through until half past eleven, almost non-stop. He delivered mainly relatively current songs and popular eighties/nineties/noughties songs especially those that the audience could sing along with - but with a few real oldies thrown in for the likes of me. One part which was extremely moving for me was when James played Delilah. The audience sang along a la Tom Jones - but coincidentally that very morning - 30th May 2021 - had been the funeral of Barry Mason, who wrote the song. I didn't know Barry well, but had met him a couple of times and I suppose it was quite a tribute. James is a very talented musician; he has a reasonable voice, able to carry a tune well; and is a very adept guitarist, aided with some pedal driven looping. Apparently he also has a full band as well as appearing solo, and he told me that he also composes music, but plays that with his band rather than his solo gigs. I look forward to seeing / hearing him again soon.

James Deane