Past Gigs: 21st century

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Purley Chase Golf Club - Saturday the 25th October 2003

... I'm told that 60 odd people went off to a night at the dogs in Brum ... which is why there were only 20 people there for a rock and roll extravaganza featuring Max Holliman and myself.

Oh well, the 20 thoroughly enjoyed themselves and showed a remarkable affinity for the barely commercial mixture of jazz, blues, soul & rock & roll that I put out. But then Max is the commercial half of the show - and that's the whole idea.

A memorable gig on the first official night of winter.

The Hilltop & Cadwell Social Club, Nuneaton, Friday 20th June 2003

... a sad affair in that this once bursting club was very quiet - due to a murder on the premises earlier in the year. Sad because this event happened by chance and was absolutely nothing to do with the normal crowd. Anyway, the small audience were appreciative, knowledgeable and well worth playing to.

Another gig with the Max Holliman band, and on my own.

Coton Liberal Club, Nuneaton, Rugby, Friday the 2nd November 2002TJ1mbb.jpg (10732 bytes)
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.. a gig both on my own and playing with the Max Holliman Band to celebrate drummer Herbie's 50th birthday.

A good hoot and a good audience.

... but was I moving house again that weekend? ... I can't remember to be honest.

The Red Lion, Hillmorton Road, Rugby, Friday the 23rd August 2002
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- a hastily arranged gig (2 days before) to play at a wedding party. The Last Fair Deal this time surfaced as a  four piece band with a line up of:
Myself on vocals, harps and saxesband1.jpg (15913 bytes)
John Alderson on guitar 
Steve (2 names) Thomas on bass
Jeff Durow on drums

Both band and audience had a great time and attempts are being made to get some more gigs.
Contact me on for more details

craven2309.jpg (36995 bytes)The Craven Arms, Sunday the 23rd September  2001
 - only the 3rd gig I've played this year for one reason and another, namely bruised ribs (see 6th May) and being obliged to move house again and redecorate 2 flats to rent out and a house to live in so as to make room for my grandson who was born on the 29th August.
Yes it's been a busy summer.
The gig - was quiet at the outset and filled up by the end of the night. The crowd - a mixture of ages who seemed to enjoy themselves ... and so did I.

Purley Chase Golf Club, Saturday the 23rd June 2001
 - was a charity "do" (don't ask me which charity) where I shared the bill with Max Holliman, "Back to Back" (a couple of young lady singers), and a C&W singer called Pete Ireland. I opened the show, a position I like, and got a generous response from the crowd. No payola AT ALL, which I find a little annoying in that I don't remember hearing that the bar takings had been donated to charity. But a fun gig anyway ....

The Craven Arms, Sunday the 6th May 2001 1mb060501b.jpg (20718 bytes)
- was the first time I've played for about 5 months ...  and wasn't bad despite by cuts and bruises from falling over (sober!) while playing golf the day before. Oh well, my doctor tells me it'll stop hurting in about 3 months ! On May Day Sunday the pub was packed, the audience were enthusiastic, what more can you ask for? Despite rumours to the contrary there was no bad trouble under Jo's proprietorship. Pat, the previous owner was reputed to have gone to Teneriffe for good, but clearly hadn't done so when I bumped into her at the Village Hotel. She's obviously retired - and good luck to her. If you've never been to the Craven before click here for a map.

Jam Session at the Falconer, Sharnford, Monday 23rd April 2001
Myself and John Alderson, having not played for 5 months or so,  played about half an hour amidst a fine bunch of "get and play" musicians, one of whom was my old friend Bill Turner (from Condition Red) now playing bass. A good hoot and an effortless way to get back into things. 

Barbara Hooper's 50th Birthday Party at the Central Club, Newbiggin, Northumberland, 17th November 2000
No posters because it was a "cloak & dagger" surprise job where the victim thought Paul was playing with the Fortunes in Leeds and that she was going out for a meal. I played a jammed show with Mick Smitham, Paul Hooper,  Malc Harker & Jason Thompson using the Fortunes PA and roadies Paul & Peter.
With Malc came "We're Wolves of Stockton" a great band who I also managed to knock out a few numbers with.
Click here for pictures of this event.

Bonfire Party at Jeff Durow's house, 4th November 2000 (LFD)
No posters because I just thought I was going out to blow myself up and eat baked potatoes. But John Alderson had other ideas! A splendid little 45 minute acoustic performance to 20 or so people. Who needs amplifiers? Who wants to carry a ton of gear 4 times a night? "Unplugged" is ace !!

post2410.jpg (20279 bytes)Karns Wine Bar, Tuesday, 24th October 2000 (LFD)
The Last Fair Deal's second paid gig ... to a splendid audience who, if they didn't fill the place, filled all the seats. We got generous applause for every number and kind compliments from audience and owners afterwards.
But, alas, yours truly wasn't happy with the gig. We both played well but, to me, it didn't have the "buzz" of our last gig at the Malt Shovel. Some people are never satisfied, are they ...

1mbb2307.jpg (12398 bytes)The Craven Arms, Sunday 22nd October 2000:
One of those nights when you think you're either dying a death or being completely ignored - until afterwards when a host of people seem to go out of their way to tell  you that you were wonderful. So why not just give a little applause? 
I shouldn't complain, they bought the drinks, the "piper" got well paid - and this is now almost a "residency" ... so the piper will shut up !!!

The Malt Shovel, Saturday 7th October 2000 (LFD)jatj0710.jpg (34606 bytes)
After years of threatening to do it John Alderson & I finally went out  as a duo - in front of a rowdy Saturday night "local pub" style crowd at the Malt Shovel. John played slide steel and accoustic guitars and I played vocals, saxes and harps. We started off playing Sonny Terry - Brownie McGhee style numbers but, 2 hours later, finished off with "Mustang Sally" (Wilson Pickett), "Highway 61" (Bob Dylan), "Bright Lights, Big City" (Jimmy Reed), "Bo Diddley" and had the audience dancing - which ain't bad for a duo.

A superb gig which both we and the audience thoroughly enjoyed - but I must admit that I have never been so knackered from playing. It was raunchy music pushed along by my stomping left foot as a bass-drum substitute - ouch !

We are now taking gigs under the title of the "Last Fair Deal"

1mb0110.jpg (18637 bytes)The Craven Arms, Sunday 1st October 2000:
So - what are Biorythyms? When playing golf they are the cosmic forces which will ensure that your ball always hits the 10% solid area of a tree and then either disappears or lands in a completely unplayable position behind it. Your ball will always deflect into a greenside pond or bunker and what should be your final putt will somehow, having gone in the hole, jump out again and roll a very missable distance away from it.
So after a dismal week's golf I (unusually) went to great lengths to practice for this gig - only to walk on the stage and find the wretched Murphy, and his law, waiting for me. I was not happy with my performance by the end of the night although the bad notes seemed to only come from instruments with buttons or keys to press. I sang and played harp OK, if not wonderfully !!
Strangely enough, however, the audience seemed oblivious to all of this, gave me good applause, participation and  requests for 2 encores - so I should just  say "great gig" and leave it at that. 

Dolly's 80th Birthday party, Fazeley, Staffs, Saturday 16th September 2000 (LFD = Least Fair Deal)
This was the week the British public stood up and made its feelings about fuel prices known to to Tony Blair - who promptly behaved like an utter pratt and uttered the magic words "crisis, what crisis ..."
dollpost.jpg (41592 bytes)John Alderson rang me on the Wednesday and asked if I'd like to join him to play as a duo for his (nearly) 80 year old mother-in-law who loves the blues. Thankfully the "fuel protest" went into temporary abeyance, I was able to get to Tamworth and play a totally "unplugged" acoustic gig in a tent in Diane (Dolly's daughter)'s garden. Actually the audience of 30-odd were of all ages and it seemed to me, from the applause, that it was a great success. In my opinion this jammed, unrehearsed performance was some of the best, and most enjoyable, music I have ever had the privilege to be involved with. I would also say that a lot of 80 year olds could teach youngsters a thing or two about how to enjoy life.

If you've read my library entry for John you'll know that we have played gigs like this before and threatened to make a serious job of it for years. And this time we really are going to do it ... ain't we John !

Click here to see the pictures of this gig

Now performing as the Last Fair Deal - why not visit our website

The Fleur-de- Lys, Nuneaton, Saturday 9th September 2000:
Played as "one man band" and with the Max Holliman Band on one of its rare appearances.

One of those gigs where the audience appear to stop taking any notice of you after the first half hour and you wonder whether you're "dying a death". But a heck of a lot of people came up afterwards and said "great - when are you on again?" ... so it must have been OK.

We set up and rehearsed the "jam session" starting at 2 in the afternoon which made it a long day - or perhaps I'm just getting old

1mbb2008.jpg (25533 bytes)The Craven Arms, Sunday 20th August 2000:
There's not a lot I can say here, it was another warm evening with doors and windows open so I had to play quietly ... no problem. 

I had a good number of enthusiastic punters, one chick who dug all the soul numbers and another who was really into "born under a bad sign" type blues. And a guy who asked me to play "baa baa black sheep" to settle a bet. I knew that the bet was as to whether the prat on the stage could be persuaded to do it ... and the prat did!

But that's showbiz and a small price to pay for a night when I can pretty much play what I like ...and do!

The Craven Arms, Sunday 23rd July 2000:
So after only 2 weeks since my last performance here I was a little worried about repeating myself and went out of my way to play as many "fresh" numbers as possible.

Hence I started off with Along Came John, straight jazz, and carried on with a lot of very uncommercial stuff ... which went down great. Which just goes to show that you should never underestimate any audience. I learnt that years ago and had clearly forgotten.

A nice gig which brightened up what had otherwise been a boring day watching Tiger Woods win the British Open (golf at St Andrews) turning the whole thing  into a one-man show with everybody else playing a separate competition for 2nd place.

I look forward to the return gig next month

Purley Chase Golf Club, 15th July 2000:
A 40-minute slot on my own which, I am told, went down great although the mix from the house PA sounded lousy to me. Gaynor Moorcroft, an old friend of mine, asked me whether I was nervous playing for the first time in front of a clubhouse full of people I had played golf with for 10 years, to which I replied "...after this many years in the business, no way". If you're reading this Gaynor, I lied. Even after 1475 stage appearances over the years, I still get nervous before I go on, especially in front of a crowd of people who probably think I can play music no better than I can play golf.

The night finished off with the improvised "Purley Chase Swingers" being myself, Max Holliman, Dave Quigley, Roger Cox, Mick Smitham And Pete Thing as performing members (?!) with guests, Jim Pryal on drums and Paul Thing on bass. For the most part jammed rock & roll, which was good fun and seemed to keep everybody happy. Many thanks to Mick Morris for his faith in the performing members and a lot of hard work putting together what was an excellent day

The Craven Arms, Sunday 9th July 2000:
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A strange gig. After playing a lot of pubs you get used to the idea that there will probably be nobody there when you start at about 8.30. I like it this way because it means that I can start off playing jazz, down home blues or new numbers, basically experiment and turn the show around as the punters roll in. If you're lucky, the "early" punters will appreciate something different and you can have a great time, with a packed house by the end of the night to round it all off. But the Craven Arms had half a dozen people at 8.30, a dozen at 9.30, and about a hundred at 10.15 who had all rolled in since 10 o'clock, with only 30 minutes to go. Strange!

Ther night didn't start off too well. As I was scratching my head and wondering why no sound was coming out of the PA (answer, switch it on!) I got verbally assaulted by an obnoxious little twat who wanted to know why I didn't play any Bob Dylan numbers - which would have been a very fair question if he'd been prepared to listen to the answer. But no, he just wanted to "wind me up" (his words) and succeeded. My fault, I should know better by now!

Craven Arms, Sunday 18th June 2000:1mbb1806.jpg (17538 bytes)
For the first time since the 14th May, the date of my last performance here, the weather was hot, humid and sweaty. But this time, due to all of the pub doors and windows being open, I was instructed to play quietly so as to avoid  trouble from "the neighbours".

The problem is that I originally put this show together for bikers' pubs where "quiet" is a dirty word.

I personally believe that volume enables you to get away with murder and that playing quietly is hard work and requires far more skill. So after a period of adjustment I really started to get used to it and enjoy myself.

Not a lot of punters (they must be watching Euro 2000) but those present made it a great night and I look forward to the return on the 16th July ...

Craven Arms, Sunday 14th May 2000:
The Follow up gig to Easter Sunday, which was never going to equal  the superb crowd we had last time. But what was lacking in quantity was there in quality. If you've read my biography you'll know that it's a really special night when someone asks me to play anything by Cyril Davies. I seem to remember that last time I jammed Countryline Special for the guy on C-harp; but this time archaic British licensing laws ensured that the pub shut officially at 10.40 pm  and I never got the time.

Just maybe, one day, these so called "religious" prats will lose the power to run other normal peoples' lives and this country might then at least step into the 20th century. Yes, we are that far behind the rest of the civilized world!

Anyway, despite the fact that I could have happily carried on for another hour, it was a most enjoyable gig, and lovely to be only 2 miles away from home.

Craven Arms, Sunday 23rd April 2000:
Well, after a winter of weddings, funerals, looking for day jobs and sunshine in Thailand, the One Man Band hit the road again on Easter Sunday for what turned out to be an excellent crowd at the Craven Arms, Craven Street, Earlsdon, Coventry. I was astounded to learn that landlord Terry had died in December while on holiday with wife Pat in Teneriffe. Apparently, after a normal night out which, knowing Terry, would have involved downing a few, he hit the sack and never surfaced the next day. Wherever you are Terry the beer in your boozer is still excellent and the pub itself a tribute to you.

After not playing for the best part of 6 months it was a bit scary getting up again but so what, it's like riding a bike, except you fall off the stage instead of the saddle ... and the Craven Arms has a neat "pull out on the night" stage now, right underneath the hole in the ceiling where Terry once let the bath overflow!

1mbb website by Tim James