A bit disappointing news is that we should be playing what would be a new venue for us, The Embrook Inn in Wokingham, tomorrow evening. However, due to budget restrictions, our slot has been cut. Things are difficult all round and pubs are having to look at their annual spends on entertainment. Post-Covid, there was a big resurgence of people going out and looking for live entertainment and food but with the cost of living crisis that seems to be waning again, especially on the run up to Christmas. A similar thing happened back in October when our gig at The Gallery in Harlow was postponed until after the New Year, date still to be confirmed when the venue's budget is reassessed. Still, Neil's running a new initiative in Reading town centre at a venue called The Butler which has a decent stage, sound system and a room which will hold over 100 people. We opened the night as the support act for Reading's own The BJ Bevy (one of my fave acts) and from Essex, Chubby Latouche and his Band of Whores with excellent driven pop-punk and humour. We've just been contacted by Darren from The Pear Tree in Fulham to do another Christmas Party there on the 10th December. It's always good there with a fun crowd and great food. After that we've no engagements until after the new year (as I go on holiday during the festivities). Our next booked gig is at The Old Ticket Hall in Windsor on the 127th February 2024, but there may be a few to slot in before that.
We had another great night at The Sound Lounge in Sutton (despite the ULEZ now in force there too) supporting Tupelo Lime, an Americana act from Suffolk. Good crowd, great hospitality, great stage and fabulous sound. Plus we're in good company as acts John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett ("Really Free" hitmakers) and Geraint Watkins (ex-Paul McCartney, ex-Rhythm Kings) being on the bill at The Sound Lounge in the same week as us!! Plus, Claudia, the lovely venue manager makes a mean pizza!
And if you've seen us recently, you'll see we've gone electric. The acoustic guitar is brought out occasionally but there's more grunt and versatility to our act now with Jimmy using electric guitars (usually one telecaster and one strat plugged into an effective Egnator tube amp and Marshall cabinet) allowing for a bit more fancy finger-work. Neil's also got a new pedal effects board for his harmonicas so our sound just keeps getting better.
Our promo video seems to be getting us noticed and Neil is busy taking bookings after venue management folks around the south-east having seen it and liked our live performance. Check out our gigs on the "This Years' Gigs" tab.
So, we made a video! That's right, we spent a night recording a promotional video of snipets and a couple of full songs in the music room of The Hope in Windsor with Matt who has done some great work and produced some great still photos too. The video's already live on this site and on YouTube and we'll be posting vines and shorts on Instagram, Facebook and other platforms over the coming weeks. Check out our 'Tour' page for upcoming gigs.
And we're back! After a couple of dead months at the start of this year, we'll be doing our first 2023 gig at The Purple Turtle in Reading's town centre, supporting the excellent one-man-band Bob Log.
How are your Christmas preparations coming along?
First, a bit of bad news. Well, we know things are getting tough for everyone all round thanks to successive governments of self-servers. It's affecting the pubs and clubs where we play. So, sadly, we have to announce that our New Year's Eve gig at The Long Dog in Dartford has been cancelled. It's not surprising really. Last time we played there the World Cup was on and we'd played to about half a dozen - albeit enthusiastic - customers. The landlord admitted that custom had been getting slack since the end of September and started to backpedal a bit when I tried to discuss arrangements for the NYE party with him. After our last gig there, we guessed we'd be cancelled. Plus we don't have any more gigs in December.
So, if anyone is up for us to play at your NYE party..............!
So, now for the good news! Neil has been in contact with a video maker and we'll be making a video of a couple of songs some time in January or February. Watch this space!
We've been having a good few people turning up to hear us at our regular residency spot at The Lyndhurst in Reading, where the atmosphere is excellent and the food is great! It's also good to see old music friends from other bands we knew from years ago come to see us there too. I'm glad to say that there now seems to be more demand for live music after all that lockdown depression ad folk are telling me that it's great to hear a decent band live again. Thanks for all your support. Hopefully the venues will see a resurgence in attendance as austerity, doom and gloom seems to creep over to us all by the day thanks to the news, globl warming and a pretty useless government. Folks need to be happy and if we can help make your evening special, we will! Neil does his best with social media. That's his thing, not really mine. I just look after the website. And we've gone electric in our last few gigs with Neil putting down the harp for a few songs to take up his slide guitar with me swapping between acoustic and electric between songs. We've introduced a load of new material, sliding in a couple of well known Disney songs from long ago to entertain the troops as well as some more rockabilly and a new thing for us - a request from the landlord of one of our regular venues - ska!! We're still predominantly staying faithful to our swing/jive/Chicago blues thing, but variety is the spice of life! I reckon we've now got enough material rehearsed for a three-hour show and we're still adding more to give some variety. Now we're heading to a new venue for us, the hope in Windsor, and that'll top off November. We're back in Dartford twice in December; on the 3rd and also to do a special New Years' Eve party, both at The Long Dog. otherwise December will be a bit quiet for us as I'm off to Madeira for a week or so over Christmas (I need the heat!) but we've got a few January and February dates to be confirmed. So it's all looking good for 2023.
Well, as we asked, we got some VIDEO CONTENT.....
Thanks to Helen Cuthbertson for this litte bit of footage from Sherfield-on Loddon yesterday. Check out the vids of Flip Flop Fly and Shame Shame Shame on our MUSIC page
As usual and since we've been playing together we've played on the hottest days of the year and 33 degrees C at 8pm in Marlow at The Marlow Donkey was no exception. And every year it seems to be getting hotter. We set up in the beer garden in front of a fun crowd of mainly young people, most of whom had never heard our blues jive and shuffle but who seemed to enjoy the fun of it immensely. True to form we performed well and sweated buckets! By 9:30 a slight breeze had got up and we aired ourselves at a cool 27 C. Who needs to go to Spain?
This bank holiday weekend is the Reading Festival (where we're not on the bill) but we got "dep'd" at short notice to play a small festival today in place of an act that had to cancel and as it's an afternoon slot, we can get back to play with our new toys and practice some new tunes. Neil had bought himself a black Squier Jaguar guitar in bits and I put it together for him and strung it, so you might be seeing that axe sometime soon. I have the same bad habits as he and I bought myself two new electric guitars in the same week; a Jet S-400 - a budget 'Strat' which plays superbly - and a Fender Telecaster FMT HH, a guitar I'd wanted for some time, effectively the 'Les Paul' of Fenders. It's a work of art both to look at and play. Are we going all electric?? Most likely - I'm itching to get my new telecaster out and about hooked up to the Egnator Tweaker 40 amp head and Marshall cabinet I bought last month but we'll still be doing acoustics for the moment. Going electric means more kit to carry!
We're now on a site called gigrealm.com where you can check us out, videos and all and book us to play. It's great if you're a pub or entertainment centre manager as you can book us and pay us through the site.
Next up for us is way over west in Great Malvern, a late summer boutique festival, The Frolic Festival, organised by our friend and guitar-looper virtuoso Mathew One Man.
If you're in the area, come and see us. We'll be on stage sometime on Sat 10th September. Here's the line up:
THIS IS AN APPEAL TO FANS FOR VIDEO CONTENT.....
Please, if you have any video footage of Neil and Jimmy playing at any recent gigs, even if it's just smartphone footage, please feel free to send it to us by email or by posting it on Facebook, Instagram or whatever and let us know where to find it. We're a bit short on recent gig footage and we'd like to add some recent video content to this site. It would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Maybe you've already read the earlier posts like the one below where we say we're playing a new venue, The Weather Station, in Reading and Neil's the official promoter. Well, as luck - or otherwise - would have it, we just heard the very same venue is closing down at the end of August! Sadly, this is becoming very common now as the fall-out from the Covid crisis continues to really bite and hit hospitaility businesses hard, even ones we thought would make it through. A 12-pack from Morrison's and a house party with a Spotify playlist seems to have become the modern alternative to going out. Maybe that's why we're getting more summer parties to play than venue gigs. Still, we'll be at The Weather Station on 12th August, one of the last acts to play there. Hope you can make it - it'll be a swell night!.
And on we roll......
One thing we hadn't done in years was to play two gigs on the same day. We were looking forward to these gigs on the 16th of July and dreading it at the same time because our brand of fast paced blues and jive kind of leaves two old guys quite knackered at the end of a gig and we weren't sure we'd have much in the tank for the second one.
However, onward we went; the first gig at Queensmere House turned out to be a well-run masonic charity fundraiser outdoors of a stately home with private lake and all and no expense was spared on the free booze and excellent buffet! We did an hour's set there, then drove back to Reading for a private party where we performed at a barbecue (the weather was excellent!) until it got dark, so I reckon about two hours. Again we played on the hottest day of the year. Well almost; it's was 33 degrees when we played the first gig, but about a week later global warming had us baking in 38 degrees! Needless to say neither of us got out of our respective beds the next morning. But we're young and stupid (in our heads anyway) and will probably do the same again should the chance arise! Come and see us at The Weather Station (the old Eldon Arms) in Reading on August 12th. Neil's the promoter and it's not often you get to call your own gigs!
So, after lockdown was finally over, we had a good second half to 2021. The only disappointment was that due to lockdown restrictions, we never got the chance to support Dr. Feelgood in the end. But there'll be other chances again, I'm sure.
Then, a couple of weeks before Christmas, I decided to go to Spain for a month, which meant no gigs until I came back in January. I decided to saty put and spent six months there which meant no JTD activity during the first half of 2022. Neil plays with other bands and was kept busy.
But now we're back!