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Tour News




Saturday 22 July 2017 - The Mostar Blues and Rock Festival, Bosnia-Herzegovena





Tour Highlights



Tring Blues & Beer Festival - June 2016

Mick Clarke at Tring Beer and Blues



Thanks for a great gig in Tring! A rocking time with Chris Sharley, Eddie Masters and Dave Lennox - seat of the pants set with new material learnt on the job and real blood! Thanks to John Stack and all at Tring for their hospitality. Photo below by Derek White

Mick Clarke at Tring Beer and Blues - Photo by Derek White





Bluehappening Zelzate, Belgium - August 2015

Mick Clarke at Blueshappening Zelzate



Mick writes: First date in Belgium for a few years and it was a good'un - Blueshappening Zelzate in a big tent in the middle of the town square of Zelzate, up near the Dutch border. We were welcomed after a long but uneventful journey from London via the channel tunnel by live blues music, friendly people and cold beers. Life don't get any better.

Our spot was pretty late so by the time we hit the stage at 11.15 the crowd was more than ready. We had a great gig with Dangerous Dave on harp, Chris Sharley drums and Eddie Masters on bass. Great also to suddenly spot my friend and ex Rory Gallagher drummer Brendan O'Neil smiling from the audience, and it was good to meet the other guys from his new band The Sharpees who'd played that night, I believe, in nearby Ghent. Many other old friends were there also and it was a terrific night.

Many thanks to Ivan and the crew for their organisation and hospitality. See you next time.







Simply The Blues, Mumbai & Bangalore, India - October 2014

Mick Clarke at Simply The Blues, Mumbai, India - October 2014 Photo by Alvito Falcon


Simply The Blues Festival, 25 & 26 October 2014

Mick writes: India, apparently, is some distance from Surrey. However, flying out by Turkish Airlines via Istanbul turned out to be a better experience than expected - I was happy to see that they'd been voted the world's best airline this year. Certainly the food and service was good and there was an excellent entertainment centre provided for each seat, including music with.. a blues selection! Enjoying Robert Johnson and a glass of whisky while 39,000 feet over Iran was a surreal experience.

Mumbai turned out to be warm but not unpleasantly so. Anyway we didn't experience much of the outdoors, being met by our promoter Anil and whisked off in air conditioned comfort to our five star Sofitel hotel. Here some of the realities of modern India became apparent. Before even entering the hotel compound the cars were checked by sniffer dog and a mirror underneath looked for any unpleasant devices. Then there was full airport style security before entering the hotel itself. Once installed in our palatial rooms we had a few hours sleep before the fun began..



The Mick Clarke Band with poster for Simply The Blues, Mumbai - October 2014 Photo by Anil Mehta First up was an interview at the hotel for the Mumbai Mirror. I was met by a bunch of friendly young people who appeared to be deeply interested in my story. They were easy to talk to, and at one point we all had a laugh when I realised that here I was in India and I'd just said to them "I'm not a Guru"! I think they already knew that.

In the evening a meet and greet press conference was arranged at a local music school. Again a lot of eager young faces were before me as I preached the gospel according to Mick. Although at one point I had stiff opposition from the mosque next door calling for prayers, which was itself fighting with a thunderous racket from the Diwali fireworks going off all around us. Mr Sharley helped by making irreverent comments from the back of the room - Ed stayed wisely quiet. We ended with an impromptu jam, which was great, Ed showing off his rhythm guitar skills, and Chris on percussion and crayons.

And, although you don't really need to know this, we were then whisked off once again for my first ever real Indian meal. If you haven't experienced it yourself you might be interested to know that it was not so far from what we know in Britain, featuring dishes such as Biryani and Rogan josh, but lots of variety, and awfully nice!

Saturday is gig day, but first - TV! We had been invited to appear on "Miss Malini's World" - a hot new show for young people in the Mumbai area. I shouldn't give too much away, the show doesn't air for a couple of weeks, but it featured an interview and some jamming. All good fun.

And on to our show at Saint Andrew's Auditorium, down in the heart of Bandra, a vibrant and busy part of the huge city of Mumbai. Memorable sights I remember from our drives around the town included beggars living underneath the flyover, the slums piled up in random heaps here and there, and a girl leading a large ape around on a string. I asked if we'd see an elephant and was told "No, elephants have been banned. They caused too much obstruction". That was a shame.

However we did see the homes of Bollywood stars with crowds waiting outside hoping for a glimpse of film royalty. And at one point we stopped for a photo by the Arabian Sea where we were hit by a wall of hot fug and iffy smells. Down on the beach wild dogs waded in pools and hunted through rubbish, while house crows and black kites flew overhead. It looked a bit like Clacton, but it wasn't.

Mick Clarke at the Simply The Blues Festival, Mumbai India - October 2014 Photo by Alvito Falcon

The Saint Andrews Auditorium is a big modern theatre not much different from the one they have in Guildford, Surrey, where I recently watched Robert Cray perform. The PA and crew were excellent, and there on the stage was.. a Marshall Amp and 4 X 12 Speakers! Oh Joy. After a soundcheck and a five star meal back at the hotel, we were ready for the show.

First up were Big Bang Blues, from New Delhi. They put on a great show including a version of Albert King's "The Hunter". As I said to Chris, it took me back to watching Free at the Marquee in 1969. And in time.. it was our turn. The crowd were great, and gave us a warm welcome. We rocked into some old favourites and the first fifty minutes flew by.

Then, of course, the Clarke Gremlins had to hit. After thirty years, one of the machine head tuning pegs on my slide guitar decided that tonight was the night. It had had enough and decided to die on me. The top string went out of tune and would not go up or down. So I couldn't even easily get it off and out of the way. It was just there - sounding horrible if I accidentally hit it. And at the exact same time the battery gave out in my plectrum roadie's tuner.. so I had two out of tune guitars!

Yes I could have stopped - retuned myself and done some running repairs on the guitar, but at this point we were two thirds of the way through the set and we'd got up a head of steam. Not the time for mucking about. So we ploughed on, a little out of tune and with all the slide numbers hastily re-arranged for five string guitar. But I have to say it wasn't too bad and the crowd seemed to like the idea that the show must go on. And it happened that I had been offered another instrument to play that night, a Mumbai made Cipriano Cigar Box guitar. So with G tuning and a capo on the second fret, I finished the evening with that.. Shake That Boogie! After a lively Walking (to Mumbai) Blues encore the show was over. More TV interviews! This time for the festival's own Youtube channel. It was then that I was given the sad news of the death of Jack Bruce.. a legend of British blues rock. But this was no time to be maudlin - there were photos to be taken and autographs to sign. Everyone happy and back to the hotel to pack for an early start in the morning.



Bangalore, India. Photo by Chris Sharley Up at seven and straight off to the airport for our "Jet Airways" flight to Bangalore, in the south of India. Lots of fun. Well, lots of queues, lots of delays. However, Chris was delighted to find that his boarding card had re-christened him "Sharley, Christ" which gave us all no end of pleasure and amusement. Always good to have him along on a flight. We finally got airborn and I was able to look down from my window seat over a green and pleasant India - a patchwork of fields not unlike England. On landing we found there to be a tropical feel to the air, and we enjoyed a long and colourful ride into town, past palm trees and temples, busy shopping areas and government buildings.

Our new hotel was a regular old three star.. ah this was more like it. Now we felt at home. But even here people were exceptionally friendly and helpful. It was impossible to pick up your own bag without someone leaping out of the shadows to help. And when I asked the receptionist for an extra room key I was met by that wonderful Indian wobbly shake of the head, a big smile and an emphatic "oh yes". Great stuff. Lunch was served up on the third floor with a team of attentive waiters supplying the local delicacies, and our promoter Anil guiding us through the intricacies of South Indian dining.

The show this night was at the Toit Brew House - a microbrewery pub in a funky wooden type building which reminded me a bit of the old Greyhound in Fulham Palace Road, where Killing Floor and SALT had some great times many years ago. In other words it was built around balconies on several levels with the band in the middle, but in this case on the first floor, which was slightly odd, but no problem.

I decided to pull out the blues repertoire, which included Arthur Crudup's "Mean Ole Frisco", Elmore's "Happy Home" and Rocking Jimmy Byfield's "Little Rachel" which turned into an extended funky jam. Good stuff. I'd spent some time restringing the faulty Strat as a regular five string guitar, so everything was working properly tonight, and the Fender amp which was supplied sounded great. Once again the Cigar Box guitar came out and we rocked out a not bad version of "Woodsman" and "Shake That Boogie" to close the set.





Mick Clarke at Simply The Blues, Mumbai, India - October 2014 Photo by Alvito Falcon



Bangalore Street Scene - photo by Mick After the show some pub grub was supplied and we met some locals, including Ravi, an Indian satellite radio blues DJ - can't be too many of them. And I was delighted when someone approached me with the exclamation "I LOVE Ramdango"!. Apparently he'd been enjoying my Ramdango album on the OK Listen site in India - good to know that my music was already getting around the sub-continent.

The following day we had a bit of sight seeing and shopping around town before heading home. Memorable sights included the cows wandering the streets and sleeping on the traffic islands with traffic roaring past on either side, a farmer on his cart being pulled by an ox, families riding four on a bike, colours and smells and friendly people. After a little shopping.. (my Ganesh, the elephant-headed god of wisdom and learning now sits proudly on my desk at home) we went back to our friend Lillian's apartment for a cup of good Indian tea. Thanks for the hospitality Lillian.

We drove back to the airport through rush hour traffic - there is a lot of it in Bangalore at the best of times - and a sudden cloudburst which brought the numerous motorbikes to a halt as drivers and girlfriends sought cover. Just three flights and we were home.. couldn't have taken us more than.. 25, 26 hours? Pff.. It's only rock'n'roll..

Many thanks to our promoter Anil Mehta of Starkonnect in Mumbai for his professional organisation and great generosity. Our love and best wishes to Joyce.

Thanks also to Alvito Falcon for some great photos, and to all the crews, drivers and hotel staff who were unfailingly helpful and friendly throughout the trip.

A personal thanks to Chris Sharley and Eddie Masters - fine musicians and total professionals. I'm not worthy. And last but not least to my plectrum roadie Linda for always rising to the challenge - still my rock'n'roll girl.





Photo by Chris Sharley

  ITALY 2014

Just back from the Nistoc and Fiamene Festivals in Northern Italy. Many thanks to all involved and Slang Music for setting up the trip. We arrived in Milan in torrential rain.. we were wet, our bags were wet, Italy in general was wet. Didn't bode well for two outdoor festivals. However it cleared up nicely as we checked into our rooms with fabulous views over Lago D'Iseo. After an introductory beer things were looking better.

Terrific hospitality at Nistoc, for which we thank Vittorio and his crew. We eventually identified the mystery meat course as Guinea Fowl - delicious. And the first two bands hit the stage to a great reception from the crowd. However.. then the rain arrived!

It was deemed inadvisable for the band to perform. Partly because the crowd was now scattering for shelter.. no Glastonbury spirit here! However I was able to jump up and play a couple of numbers with the band before us, Miles Simmons and the Granny Says Band - including a great version of "Early In The Morning" which I enjoyed.





Mick Clarke Band at the Fiamene, Italy - Photo by Alice Righetti It was hoped that we could move the concert to the following day (our day off) but sadly the overnight rain was too heavy and the area got flooded. However we were still invited back for another excellent meal.

On to the Fiamene. Last time we played here, about nineteen years ago, there was a full scale hurricane. The festival sits on a mountain top so is rather exposed to the elements. However, no problem this time. We had a lot of fun and the crowd pressed to the stage front enjoyed the show. At about four that night I was woken by one continuous roll of thunder with lightning flashes one per second which lasted for at least an hour. Wow.

Thanks to the guys, Chris, Eddie and Dangerous, and to our new friend Gio Rossi who helped us out throughout the trip, and is in fact a world class jazz and blues drummer himself Giorossi.com. Hope to be back in Italy soon.




Luxembourg 2013

2013 Had a fantastic night on Saturday 13th July at the Blues Express Festival, Luxembourg Thanks to Dragan Nikitovic for inviting me and to my great rhythm section Vlad Migric on drums and Pablo Juarez on bass. Thanks also to Nesha for some great jamming, all the crew at Blues Express for making me so welcome and going to great lengths to find me a Marshall amp, and my new friends Tony Coleman, John Williams and the rest of Mo' Better Love, or as I think of them, the Memphis Blues All Stars for their incredible and very moving support throughout my set

And lastly, a special thanks to CORENTIN at Luxembourg airport for opening my bottle of beer for me WITH HIS TEETH!!! A true star.






SEVEN NIGHTS TO BLUES FESTIVAL, LILLE 6 FEBRUARY 2013

Mick Clarke at the Seven Nights To Blues Festival, France, February 2013 Photo by David Cooper Thanks to Patrick, Pascal, Claudine and all the crew at the Seven Nights To Blues Festival, Lille, France. We had a great time on a big stage in front of an extremely friendly crowd - thanks to every one of you.

With Chris Sharley on drums and Eddie Masters on bass this was the three piece MC Band. We played two lengthy sets including an old favourite "No Creases" which I seemed to be incapable of remembering the simple arrangement of - good job it's the blues.

I do seem to be in danger of becoming the Boris Johnson of the blues, as the comedy element of watching me muck things up seems to be becoming a major part of the show. I really must invest in some new strap locks for the guitars and some tangle-proof guitar stands. It wasn't helped by the springy bar stool I chose to use for my sit down numbers, which threatened to spring me right off the stage at any moment. However the audience laughed along mainly with me rather than at me, and I think the whole vibe was good.

I do enjoy sitting for some numbers, not because I can't stand up any more, but I honestly think I play better, and get a better groove going on some of the shuffles and boogies. I think I'm developing Hound Dog Taylor syndrome.. I need a cheaper guitar.

Special thanks to our old friend Patrick - good to see him again after many years - still smiling! And thanks to Claudine for the excellent beef bourgignon. It was good also to meet up with the Sean Pitman band which included members of the legendary Mannish Boys. Sean himself is an excellent vibrant guitarist and a big Freddie King fan! Gotta be good. Finally thanks to Dave Cooper for travelling in from Belgium and taking some excellent photos - some shown here.

Mick Clarke at the Seven Nights To Blues Festival, France, February 2013 Photo by David Cooper Mick Clarke at the Seven Nights To Blues Festival, France, February 2013 Photo by David Cooper









Norrteljes Blues and Rock Festival, Sweden

Well it was a tough flight but it was worth it..
Here the band relax with four bottles of excellent (and extremely expensive) Swedish beer, before a great gig at the Norrteljes Blues Festival, situated in a beautiful location on the shore of the Baltic Sea a few miles north of Stockholm, Sweden.

Many thanks to Jan and his friends for their excellent hospitality and organisation. We had a great time and I think the show went really well. It was great to meet some excellent musicians such as Finnish slide guitarist Erja Lyytinen, bass player Roger Innis and from the USA the fine harp player R.J.Mischo. The festival also featured the excellent Swedish country singer Jill Johnson and the Swedish rock band Bonafide, who I heard played on Planet Rock just the day after I arrived home. Must be going places.



THE MICK CLARKE BAND at the Norrteljes Blues Festival 2011 We hit the stage around ten o'clock just as the long Swedish day began to turn to night. The set opened with "Cheap" followed by a shuffle and a slow blues both featuring Dangerous Dave on the harp. This was followed by a couple of slide numbers which I've never played live with the band before.. Hound Dog Taylor's "Give Me Back My Wig" and Elmore's classic "Happy Home". Tracks from the new "Rambunctious" album included "Poor Day" "Woodsman" and "Shake That Boogie".

After a few numbers the crowd had moved to the front of the stage and a rock'n'roll gig was in place. In fact it was as much fun to watch the audience as it was to play the music. As someone said to me afterwards.. "you guys were having way too much fun up there".

So thanks again to our friends in Sweden - hope to see you again soon.

THE MICK CLARKE BAND at the Norrtalje Blues Festival 2011
THE MICK CLARKE BAND at the Norrtalje Blues Festival 2011 THE MICK CLARKE BAND at the Norrtalje Blues Festival 2011
Photos from the Norrtalje Blues Festival by Collette Wijkander festivalphoto.net



The ClarkeSmith Supergroup - September 2010

What larks - a "supergroup" of some of my oldest friends and sparring partners - Stevie Smith, Chris Sharley and Mick Hawksworth. Thanks to Pete Feenstra, top London promoter to the gentry, for giving us the chance to get together and have fun.

Night one: Friday in Bexley (well someone has to be). We assembled with great mirth at the DA5 Club, a converted rugby clubhouse, for our first show together in the last 150 years. Kicking off with Dust My Blues we discovered that we had the capability of making a great deal of noise, and proceeded to do so. The set continued with a rousing Cream-esque "Spoonful" a bluesy "Key to the Highway", a tribute to the Feat "New Delhi Freight Train" from Mick H and so on. some token SALT numbers - "Driving Wheel" and "Highway 61" last played 23 years ago. A great night and Jake Rigden on support was excellent.

Night Two: Half Moon, Herne Hill. Yes I think I remember this place - I think we played here practically every night throughout the seventies. Well it feels like it. Yes I recognise that beer stain - it's mine I tell you! there were some faces missing - Steve Waller, Mick O'Brien, Micky Jones - not able to make it, but their spirits were there. Not forgetting Ade who I believe was not mobile enough to make the trip.

Anyway, we did it again with various levels of competence throughout the evening, and again it was great fun. Jake was excellent and joined us for a jam at the end. Jake is a fifteen year old guitarist with great promise, who humbled me by asking me to sign his beautiful Gibson Les Paul at the end of the evening. I imagine he spent the following day trying to get it off again - anyway thanks for the compliment. See video on our youtube page.






THE BRITISH BLUES ALLSTARS

With Bobby Tench on guitar, Rob Townsend drums, Bob Hall piano and Jimmy Mercer on bass - The British Blues All Stars at the Bulls Head, Barnes, London - 20 August 2010
Photo: Phil De Bont



THE MICK CLARKE BAND at the 100 Club, London - Mick with Dangerous Dave Newman and Eddie Masters

The 100 Club, Oxford St London

We played some great dates at the 100 Club, usually with Stan Webb's Chicken Shack. Always a blast - I enjoyed the smell of ancient grime and old beer stains.. the dressing room was always a corridor sitting on beer barrels. the audiences were good and very international - one night we had a huge influx from Norway which was great. Thanks to Jim driver for putting it all together.








VIANA DO CASTELO BLUES FESTIVAL, PORTUGAL, DECEMBER 2007



Just back from a great night in Viana do Castelo, Portugal playing at their annual "simply blues" festival, which also featured Popa Chubby and Dana Gillespie on different nights. The venue was a beautiful old music hall in the centre of the city, built in 1895 and kept in immaculate condition. It provided the perfect atmosphere for (I think) a great performance from the band to an appreciative audience.



Eddie Masters on bass and Russell Chaney (see pic) did a great job - our thanks to Elena Fernandez from Proyecto Cultural for her smooth organisation.





ROCKLAND BLUESROCKING SUMMER FEST, SALA, SWEDEN, JULY 2007

Thanks to everyone at ROCKLAND for a great night at the BLUESROCKING SUMMER FEST. We had a great gig playing to a lot of friends old and new. The band featured Dangerous Dave Newman on harp, Eddie Masters on bass and Russell Chaney on drums and we pulled out some old numbers such as Muddy's "She Moves Me" and our own "Crazy 'bout a Woman" for the show.

The festival featured the extraordinary Joe Bonamassa.. the second time I've seen him play and well up to his incredibly high standard - surely this guy is setting the new benchmark for blues rock guitar. Also great to meet Sweden's Clas Yngstrom, and our old mate Gwyn Ashton who also played a fine set with his new two piece band!

Thanks as ever to Johnny for his totally reliable driving and good company, to Erik for a fine outsound on the PA and to Hasse for the organisation. Good also to see our friends Hazze and Janne in the audience and our mate from England, Ken, who took the photos.











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TRESCORE BRITISH BLUES FESTIVAL, TRESCORE BALNEIRO, ITALY JUNE 2007

My first band, KILLING FLOOR reformed last year for several great concerts. KILLING FLOOR's first ever show in Italy was a well received triumph. The large crowd were treated to some high octane Killing Floor blues rock, responding with great warmth and demanding two encores. British blues legends Bob Hall and Dave Peabody opened the show and got the crowd more than warmed up. Many thanks to them and to Gigi Bresciani and the Crew. Hope to see you all again.



NOVEMBER 2006

Back to Sweden for three dates with KILLING FLOOR.. a return to ROCKLAND in Sala and two shows on the cruise ship Cinderella out from Stockholm.. BLUES AT SEA and ROCK AT SEA. All the shows were great with a healthy crowd showing up at ROCKLAND and a wild gig. Thanks to Johnny for chaffeuring us in his beautiful Lincoln Limo (ex Madonna we were assured) and to Hasse for all his help. BLUES AT SEA was a blast and we made a whole lot of new friends. Also bumping into the excellent TWO TIMERS who did another great show. And ROCK AT SEA was, as expected, a riot. I managed to smash myself in the face with my own guitar during our set,(see pic)with the blood consequently running down my face and cries of "Rock and Roll" from the crowd. Once again we made a lot of friends and partied the night away watching some great bands including Tony Martin (ex Black Sabbath), Voodoo Beans, and the powerhouse German rock band U.D.O. during whos performance I had to physically hold Linda down to stop her pogoing into the ceiling. Thanks again to Torsten at July Morning for inviting us along. Photo by Hazze Sjoberg.



OCTOBER 2006

Many thanks to the organisers at the Le Festival Deux Rivieres in the beautiful village of Belle Isle en Terre, Brittany, who showed us fantastic hospitality when THE MICK CLARKE BAND played there last week. For the two days of our visit breakfast was followed as quickly as possible by lunch in order to be ready for dinner.. all of the highest quality French cuisine and served up with plenty of laughter and good humour. The sun shone, the crepes were hot and the Cassoulet did not disappoint. Transportation was friendly and efficient.. even the final drop off back at the airport had to include a fairwell drink together at the airport lounge. Once again my sincere thanks and appreciation to all the organisers and helpers in Belle Isle en Terre. Un million mercis!

We played in the town hall and met some great acts over the two days we were there.. I was very happy to meet America's Billy Jones on his European tour, although I was unable to catch his act. But I did see Jeff Zima - a fantastic eccentric slide player based in France. Blackberry and Mr Boo-Hoo were the absolute definition of a "dynamic duo" blasting out a high energy boogie which reminded me of a supercharged Dr Ross from many years ago, and I was also very happy to meet the Raphael Wressnig Trio, including Alex Schultz, a fine guitarist I had seen play many years back with Rod Piazza, plus a very fine blues singer, Mr Finis Tasby, flown over from the States for this one event.

The audience showed us a tremendous warmth and appreciation of our efforts. We warmed up with Sonny Boy's "Help Me" and slowly gathered momentum, unfortunately having to deal with a succession of problems along the way, including amp trouble and having to play our version of "Hurts me Too" on a five string guitar. We encored with "Key to the Highway" during which the bass amp decided to join in the fun and also packed up!

But as I say, the audience seemed to understand and the warmth of their response saw us through the evening. I must thank every one of them for their good humour and enthusiasm. And then it was back to our funky farmhouse.

My thanks and appreciation also to Linda for her hard work, and to Dave Rea on bass and Russell Chaney for a great job done with humour and professionalism, through the good times and the slightly difficult. As I said to the audience.. "just don't nobody try to tell me I ain't got the blues!"





SEPTEMBER 2006

Just played two great dates with my old band KILLING FLOOR - our first shows for 34 years! The band features the original four piece line-up which got together in 1968, that's Bill Thorndycraft on vocals and harp, Stuart McDonald on bass and Bazz Smith, drums, plus Dave Lennox on piano.

First show was at the Open Air Gross Lindow in Germany and it was a wild affair with the crowd going nuts throughout, followed by an appearance at the Harelbeke Rock and Blues Festival in Belgium, with a fine line-up of top international acts including Bernie Marsden and Tony McPhee. More details over at killingfloor.com
Photo left: Martina Schulz
Photo right: Barbara Joyce



Also worthy of note, a couple of rocking gigs in England, starting with a party in a marquee down in Sussex featuring the MC Band with Dangerous Dave Newman joining us on harp. The audience went crazy and it turned into what I believe used be referred to as a "rave-up". Thanks to James Otway for the invite.

Plus.. an amazing one-off jam at the Three Horseshoes in Knockholt, Kent, with the legendary Dick Lovejoy, a fine old style New Orleans blues and jazz drummer who ran the band "Southside" throughout the 70s. We had a stellar line-up including Mick Hawksworth on bass, Peter Terry on keyboards and the extraordinary Frank Mead (Gary Moore / Bill Wyman's All Stars) joining us on sax AND harp, both played superbly. I swear the whole band left the ground at times on some of those fast swings.



August 2006

Just back from the 10th Anniversary Willem Tell Club Festival in St Lenaarts, just north of Antwerp in Belgium. Many thanks to Michel and the crew for a fine well organised festival with great hospitality.

We had a great time, with the 3-piece line-up featuring Dave Rea on bass and Russell Chaney on drums. The crowd were ready for some raucous blues rock and I think we obliged - thanks to all who were there and showed their support.

The festival also featured Funkydory from the UK and Rodney Parker & The 50 Peso Reward all the way from Texas. The evening ended with a charismatic performance from Stan the Man Webb and Chicken Shack - good to see some old friends again, and to make some new ones.

Photos by courtesy of Danny from MotoFocus.Be











May 2006

A fantastic night at the Baden Blues Festival (27.5.06) in Baden, Switzerland. Thanks to Adrian and Thomas for inviting us, and to all the many co-conspirators who worked to make such great organisation and make us feel so welcome. If I name them all I might leave some-one out so I won't! Enough to say thanks to you all - you did a great job.

A sell-out 900 strong crowd packed out the "Nordportal" with more outside listening to the show, and gave us a terrific reception. We had a great time, finishing with "It Hurts me Too" where-upon the lovely old Marshall JTM60 I was using decided to give up the ghost on the lines "when things go wrong"... You wouldn't believe how many times that has happened. Anyway we were just about done, and I was still asked to sign the front of the amp afterwards.. thanks Joe.. I'm not worthy!

Great to meet and enjoy the shows of Philip Fankhauser (featuring the extraordinary Richard Cousins on bass) and Susan Tedeschi plus our old friends Eddie Martin with Michael and Marian. It don't get any better.

Photo left: Dave Lennox, Dave Rea, Mick Clarke, Russel Chaney

The following night.. yes the following night we were at the Blues and Booze Festival in Clun, Shropshire at the White Horse. Dave Rea and Ritchie "Nice-Guy" Eldrige on drums did a fantastic job, the place was packed and we had great night. Good to see Mac from KILLING FLOOR again and thanks for breakfast Jan!



EARLIER....

Starting the New Year with a couple of excellent 3-piece gigs in Holland.. With Dave Rea on Bass and Roy Jeremiah on the drums we hit the Pimpandoer Blues Pub up in the northern port of Den Helder, and then moved on to a return date at T'Evertshuis in Bodegraven. Thanks to everyone for their warm hospitality. We pulled out some old favourites such as "Little Rachel" and "I'm in the Mood" for the shows, and I also featured some acoustic slide for Muddy's "Can't be Satisfied". Two great shows which we all thoroughly enjoyed.

On to the Limelight Theatre in Aylesbury for another excellent show, opened by local band "Stormwarning". The seats were full and the audience gave us a warm reception - thanks to Derek White at "Rocking the Blues" for putting it together.

And a wild return to the Basingstoke Blues Scene... all kinds of technical problems hit us in the first number.. a loose plug in the PA system AND a broken string. aaah, must be a Mick Clarke gig! Anyway we got rocking after a while and the crowd were up and dancing in classic Basingstoke Blues Club fashion... thanks to Rex for inviting us back for more madness. Keep rockin!

A great night at Darlington R&B Club - thanks to Ian Ross for making us so welcome. We took the stripped down three piece line-up to see our friends in the North - an excellent rocking night in a great venue.



2005..

For me the highlight of 2005 was appearing with the BRITISH BLUES ALL STARS at the GREAT BRITISH R&B FESTIVAL, COLNE, LANCASHIRE (27.08.05) featuring BOB HALL, keyboard maestro to the British blues aristocracy, KIM SIMMONDS of the original original British blues rock band SAVOY BROWN, GARY FLETCHER from THE BLUES BAND, COLIN ALLEN of STONE THE CROWS and JOHN MAYALL'S BLUESBREAKERS and not only but also the Glasgow blues and soul legend MAGGIE BELL.

We had a great time playing some Bob Hall classics such as "Rooming House Boogie".. rocking with Kim on "Mississippi Steamboat" and finally settling into some Chicago blues with Maggie on "Baby Please Don't Go" - "I Just Want to Make Love to You" and finally the ultimate spine-tingler "Got my Mojo Workin'" to an enthusiastic Colne audience who'd managed to stay upright from two in the afternoon to the end of our set at about twenty to one in the morning.

Thanks to Allison and everyone at the "GBR&BF" for their excellent organisation and hospitality - also good to see our friends NINE BELOW ZERO who delivered a superb set on the Friday night. And a special thanks to Oddie's Bakery for their fine pasties and the Church next door for their excellent homemade chocolate cake and finely brewed tea. Plus - whoever decided to broadcast BB's "Live at the Regal" from a side street off the main road deserves a medal and a commendation to the unofficial BLUES HALL OF FAME!!

Photo by Andy Ford www.bluesimages.co.uk More photos on the British Blues All Stars page

More details from 2005 on page two of the Tour Diary.



NOVEMBER 2004..

Rockin' the Baltic! Just back from a great trip to Sweden, playing on the Rock at Sea cruise from Stockholm, organised by our friend Torsten from July Morning. A whole load of great rock and blues bands were on board including Nazareth, Girlschool and the excellent Spoonful of Blues from Norway. All the bands gave 100% and the 2,400 fans on board responded properly. A great night.

Many thanks also to Hans at Rockland in Sala for his hospitality and enthusiasm. We had a great gig there on Friday 26th by courtesy of our driver Johnny and his Chevy - a singing Harley riding truck driver.. just the man you need to get you through the snowy wastes. Thanks to everyone involved for a highly successful Swedish trip.








Just back from a couple of great nights in Germany.. the Alte Brauerei up in Northeim near Gottingem, followed by the Schmallenberg Blues Party. Thanks to everyone at both events for their tremendous hospitality.. particularly Volkhard from "The Loop" who joined us for an excellent jam at the end of the evening in Northeim, and to all the organisers of the Bluesparty who worked so hard to get everything right. Apologies if I played too long.. nobody told me to stop!
Photos below by courtesy of bluesparty.org



      

Dad's Army after hours - Mck and Schaka



Mick and Volkhard jammin'


Left: Mick and Volkhard from the Loop at the "Alte Brauerei" Northeim.
Photo by Christian Reinhard








AUGUST 2004

Thanks to our good friend Manuel Banha for inviting us to play at the Bonner Sommer, an open air blues rock party in the very centre of Bonn, Germany. The backdrop to the stage is, as you can see, the exotic frontage of Bonn Town Hall where the band also received the fine hospitalty of the city. Thanks to Sue for the photo and thanks to everyone from Bonn Musik for helping to make it a great night. The audience dressed for the occasion - (see below)

the audience









Photo (left) courtesy of Frank Baumgard.
Thanks also to everyone at the fab Farmer Phil's Festival out in the country down Ratlinghope way (pronounced R'ar') just past Shrewsbury. Phil (portrait right) looked charming in his new punk hair colouring and refrained from driving his tank around while the music was playing. Thanks to D. Dave for inviting us once again and thanks also for dragging my car out of the mud. Another rockin' night on the farm.

And thanks to Ian and the guys at Darlington R&B Club.. organisers of the excellent "Blues & Brews Festival".. what a concept.. real ale and rockin' blues!
It was a great night .. 400 tickets sold and everyone ready to rock! Thanks to the good people of Darlington for such an enthusiastic response.. we had a ball!





JUNE 2004

Fresh back from the Piazza Blues Festival in beautiful Bellinzona, in the Italian speaking province of Ticino, Southern Switzerland. This is a fabulous event which takes place in the town square of this historic city and features top blues artists from around the world. Many thanks to our friend Marcel Aeby of More Experience (probably the greatest Hendrix tribute band in the world) for inviting us to participate.

Photo by Dragan Tasic - www.nga.ch We had a great time rocking the Piazza and the crowd boogied along in the warm Summer's night. Straight up after us were the incredible Tony Coleman Band, lead by top blues drummer Tony Coleman and a fine lineup of young bluesmen. the guitarist Eric Starczan was extraordinary - watch out for him!

So a tremendous night - thanks to all the organisers and crew at the Piazza Blues for their professionalism and hospitality.



And predictions of sunshine and fresh air were proved accurate for the Bragdoya Blues Festival, another great event that takes place each year on a small island just off the coast of Kristiansand, Norway.

The festival site is at the port side, so many of the crowd were watching from an armada of small boats. As many again were up on the hill looking down and the rest were dancing -

This is how to enjoy the blues!

The venue was reachable only by means of a small boat, which we shared with our new friends Fernando Noronha and Black Soul from Brazil. An unusual experience, and great fun, bobbing across the blue water clutching our guitars.. returning after the show in the unique twilight which is the Kristiansand Summer night. Photos above by courtesy of Chris Sharley.














We had a wonderful time and received tremendous hospitality from the festival crew. Thanks to everyone involved, particularly our host Bjorn Wiksaas and his assistants Frank and Jan. Thanks to Fernando and the band for inviting me up for a jam.. great stuff. Keep Rockin' guys. Photos by Audun Birkeland, Bragdoya Blues.



MARCH 2004
Back on the road again to the fine Hanseatic city of Hamburg, to strut our stuff at the Downtown Blues Club at the Landhaus Walter, deep in the Stadt Park in the centre of town.

Thanks to our friend Ken who did us proud with hospitality and entertaining stories over dinner, and to the rest of the crew. Sorry to miss Uwe who was taking a holiday.. hope to meet up another time. Good to see Vasco and our friends from Bremen who made the trip up the autobahn to show (and shout) their support.

Special thanks to Fritz and Henry who played an excellent support spot.. anyone playing Junior Wells' Somebody Hoodooed the Hoodoo Man gets star rating in my book. And special special thanks to Henry for joing us on stage to add some stunning harp playing to the band's performance. If you're in Hamburg and you need a top harp man, Henry Heggens can be contacted through this website.

The following night we were at the Heimathaus in Twist. Some of us thought we were going to the Twist Club in Heimathaus. Even the AA was confused. But the Heimathaus turned out to be an excellent well run club hosted by the genial Heiner... thanks for all your hospitality. Photos by courtesy of Carola Holl.. many thanks. Another rocking night ensued, despite my Gibson functioning on only one pickup..(fortunately the loud one). I also produced my new Tanglewood electro-acoustic,( as I had done in Hamburg) to warble some nonsensical namedropping about Howlin' Wolf. In fact if you're interested here's the set list:

Cheap (MC)
Looking for trouble (MC)
Love me or leave me (James Cotton)
London Town (MC)
Cool Night Air (MC)
You gonna miss me (Muddy Waters)
You need love (Willie Dixon)

The Howlin' Wolf (acoustic) (MC)
Voodoo Hounds (MC)
Guitar Boogie (Chuck Berry)
You're the One (Jimmy Rodgers)
I wonder who (Muddy Waters)
Produce Row (MC)

Encores:
Walkin blues (Johnson)
Key to the highway (Broonzy)
Rockin' the blues (MC)






On to Bonny Scotland for our "Rockin' the Highlands 04" mega-weekend courtesy of our good friend Chris Simmonds (left). Kicking off at the Studio 1 club in Glasgow we were happy to meet old fans for the first time as we'd never played in Glasgow before. The following afternoon we entertained the good people of Aberdeen by playing an acoustic set at them while they were trying to eat their lunch at the Lemon Tree and then went on to rock out at the Blue Lamp in the evening. Thanks to Spider for contributing some fine harp playing, and to everyone who showed up to support us.

The following day it was up early (again) and down to Dundee to greet the effervescent Vans at Deacon Brodie's. We had a great lunchtime crowd who were ready to rock and it was a great session. Thanks to all our friends in Dundee for your support - hope to see you again soon. And finally on to our last date of the weekend, the Tolbooth in Stirling.

Since we were late for the gig and it was already dark, we decided to take the scenic route (we've never liked those nasty motorways) and spent an hour and a half bumping along A roads and over humpty backed bridges. Very picturesque scenery - I expect. Eventually, following our written instructions, we ended up at the top of the town, facing the main gate of Stirling Castle. Interesting, but not where we were supposed to be. After a few U-turns and more bumping over ancient cobbled streets we arrived at our destination about an hour and a half late. Fortunately the Tolbooth people were very nice and forgave us, even supplying coffee (with a bill! - it went unpaid - sorry). The PA and lighting crew were excellent and the whole set up was very professional... a state of the art theatre setting which was an interesting contrast to the pub setting of Deacon Brodie's. Anyway, a fine time was had by all, and we hope to be back at the Tolbooth on our next trip North of the Border.





And so the month wound up with that rare thing.. a London gig. The venerable "Eel Pie Club".. direct descendant of the glory days of British R&B when the great and good of the British blues cognoscenti used to cross the little bridge over to Eel Pie Island in the River Thames to listen to the future Gods of Rock as they refined their chops in bands such as the Yardbirds and Rolling Stones....now settled upstairs at the Cabbage Patch pub in Twickenham.

A rocking night ensued, with some wild and occasionally erratic playing. Well it was real, and many thanks to the good folk of Twickenham and surrounding areas who turned out to see and experience the MC Band in all its glory. Guest celebrities included the mighty Bill Thorndycraft from Killing Floor and my first two ever bass players.. Pete Smith and Geb Ring. It was at Pete's house in around 1963 that I was first inspired to take up the guitar, and Geb took over on bass when Pete started to play with our friendly rivals "The Jug". Website supremo Lance Muswell from Velosystems was there to show support and lug some PA columns around, as well as giving me some helpful tips on css stylesheets and the like. (Don't ask). Also good to meet up with Tom Nolan who used to work with the late Wilgar Campbell and has an excellent CD out.. and the legendary Don Crane - still rocking with the Downliners Sect. Thanks to Warren for putting it all together.

April found us returning to Holland for a couple of rocking club dates.. first to the famous "Bluescafe" of Apeldoorn - one of our regular stomping grounds. Thanks to Jan for his usual hospitality, and webmaster Peter Vroon for his technical assistance (and photo - right). Saturday night found us at the Grand Cafe de Steupel in Niuewkoop..... a beautiful area of lakes and canals. The club was packed and the opening band.. (who's name I must find out) were excellent.. straight ahead Chicago blues, just how it should be. Thanks to Dirk for a great night and excellent hospitality.



AUGUST 2003
Rockin' it up at the Burg Satzvey in Germany. A beautiful fourteenth century castle - (Linda loved it) - was the venue for the Biker Blues and Boogie Festival, featuring many excellent bands including Climax Blues Band and Blues'n'Trouble.

We had a good trip over and arrived at the place around six, looking only for a cup of coffee after our day's travel. Although there was no coffee backstage there were food stands scattered around the courtyard, which rather resembled a Disneyland mock-up.. (only it was real).. so we didn't envisage any problems. However after an hour of trooping crocodile-like from one stand to another we eventually gave up our quest, laughing at the surreal quality of the situation, and decided to go to the hotel for dinner. Meanwhile we met up with our old friends Blues'n'Trouble who had flown in from Scotland.. (but had had to get up even earlier than we did!)

It was a pleasant Summer's evening, and later we strolled around the castle grounds and chatted to one of the organisers, running into the Count himself in the process. The gig was great, with an enthusiastic crowd who seemed to enjoy every minute of it. It was good to see friends such as Manuel Banha and Carlo Aquistapace, who took the photos below.

























JULY 2003
Meanwhile thanks to everyone at the Welons OpenAir in Wintelre, Netherlands, and the Carrot Blues Festival in Wervershoof, which we played recently. Both venues showed us tremendous hospitality and we had a great time. Hope to see you all again sometime.

Also thanks to Tom and everyone at the "Boterlap" in Harderwijk, Netherlands. We had an excellent gig there earlier as part of the Harderwijk "Blues Route". Nice people, good food and sunshine! Thanks to Lucas at the Blues Route for putting it together.



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