|2||Good Morning Blues||04:57|
|3||Rockin' The Blues||05:04|
|4||Love Me or Leave Me||09:00|
|8||Give Me Back My Wig||04:51|
|9||You Need Love||07:00|
The Three Lions is thought to be the oldest public house in the Surrey village of Farncombe, and has stood there since at least the beginning of the eighteenth century. For many years the landlord held an annual fair each Easter Monday in an adjoining field with stalls of gingerbread, toys and other amusements such as ‘climbing the pole’, badger baiting and even bare knuckle fighting.
Fortunately the amount of bare knuckle fighting has decreased in recent years, and the pub has found a new identity as Scratchers, an excellent venue for rocking blues bands from across the land.
On a warm evening in June 2015 the three piece Mick Clarke Band assembled for an evening of straght ahead rocking blues - Elmore James, Hound Dog Taylor and a few MC originals. It is indeed rough and raw and what you you hear is what went down. Thanks to all those who attended and to the staff and crew who pitched in so readily to help make this recording possible.
On the evening I forgot to bring a piece of gear along, so popped back home for it. Fortunately not far - about a twenty minute drive. After rolling back to the gig over the Surrey hills with the missing piece (a small matter of the PA amp) I walked in to find the stage festooned with brightly coloured mike leads, while young people ran around everywhere plugging things in around a bemused rhythm section. I had quite forgotten that I'd arranged with my nephew Jo for his friends from Reset Music Productions to come and record the gig. No one else knew anything about it so there had been a little confusion while I was away.
Anyway - no worries. After a quick slug of something warming I was ready for the show. there was no soundcheck so it took little while for the guys to get a balance, and you join us, I think, about halfway through the first set, with a favourite Elmore tune, "Happy Home".
At the time I had no idea that this would become an album, and was just playing for the fifty odd people in front of me, and for my own pleasure (and hopefully the rest of the band). So the playing is loose and sloppy, occasionally erroneous and generally hanging on to its own shirt tails all the way through..
"Happy Home" leads in to the old leadbelly tune "Good Morning Blues" (great fill Chris)! with a verse of Tore Down thrown in. Then my own "Rockin' The Blues". By the time we reached "Love Me or Leave Me" I needed to tune my guitar so Eddie kindly stepped in with an excellent impromtu solo while I tweaked ..I can't say my guitar sounds much different really, but it seemed important at the time.
The good old "walkin blues" is always fun to play and then it was the Jimmy Byfield song "Little Rachel".. a tune that takes me back to my first solo gigs at the Father Redcap in Camberwell, London, back in the early 80s. It's really for the drums and bass to enjoy a groove while I fiddle about with some Lowell Georgey stuff.
"Cheap" is good.. my tribute to ZZ Top and the joy of alcohol. I'm a little embarrassed that on the night I forgot my preferred lyrics "I aint worryin bout the quality" and sung instead the original words "I'm just looking for quantity". Makes me sound like a right boozer, as anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm not. (stifles cough). I mean, I have seen people recoil visibly when I pull a bottle of whisky out of my bag at gigs, but actually I really do drink in moderation. A small scotch goes a long way, and I'd like to live to enjoy a few more years.
"Give Me Back My Wig".. I'm ashamed that I only discovered Hound Dog Taylor in recent years, and I really love the wild abandon in his playing. My favourite moment on his albums is on the live track where he says "I got it".. "What you got"? cries the drunk at the bar.. "the blues man, the blues"..
Yeah Hound Dog had it.
The album closes with "You Need Love", another song I've been playing for ever.. starting with Killing Floor in 1968. By the time we got to this I was clearly knackered, drying up on the vocal and then struggling for the notes. But it picks up in time and I think it's a piece of exciting music.. definitely "real".
Thanks once again to all who assisted so willingly in this recording, my nephews Jo and Jack, and Graham at The Three Lions who is always so helpful. Keep on Scratchin'
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