The main festival event took place
again in the marquee at the Netherhall Rugby Ground over the weekend of the 24th
to 26th July.
The festival was opened with the
customary address by the mayor.
As is traditional with Maryport the
opening act were the winners of the Maryport Battle of the Bands contest which
this year was won by Nine Lives.
The set consisted mainly of covers, such as, Tush (ZZ Top), Oh Pretty Woman
(Albert King via Gary Moore), Roadhouse Blues (The Doors) and Out In The Fields
(Gary Moore). A few originals were performed including the self titled Nine
Next on stage were
Laura and The Tears fronted
by singer songwriter Laura Welsh
supported by guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. This non blues act performed a
set of mainly original material from their Radio 2 play listed EP “Love Live On”
including See You Later, Stone and Undone. One surprise in the set was the
inclusion of Savoy Brown’s Train to Nowhere. Musicianship was good however I
felt that Laura’s singing voice was weak but probably more suited to smaller
venues and the announcements almost inaudible.
for Friday night were the legendary Jethro Tull
fronted by Ian Anderson
on flute, guitar and harmonica. Unfortunately regular guitarist
Martin Barre was not
available for this gig but his deputy Florian
did a marvellous job. Jethro Tull performed a range of material from their forty
plus year history from the early days through to more recent material. Songs
included within the set were Serenade the Earth, Farm on the Freeway (dedicated
to the Maryport fishermen who had tragically died earlier in the week), The
Heavy Horses, Mother Goose, Dharma for One and an excerpt from the prog rock
album Thick As A Brick. Also included was a number from Tull’s blues band days
Someday the Sun Won’t Shine For You with Ian Anderson on harmonica and Florian
on guitar. An excellent overall performance from Jethro Tull, with Ian Anderson
satisfying the audience with his trademark one legged flute playing and prowling
around the stage to great effect.
Closing the Friday night was
King King fronted by
Alan Nimmo on guitar and
vocals resplendent in a kilt. Included within the set were It’s Six In The
Morning, Heart Without A Soul, Gravy Train, Feels Like Rain and Mr Highway Man.
The introduction of keyboards into the line up (Bennett
Holland) seems to add a new dynamic to the
Saturday was opened by three piece
(guitar, bass and drums) The W T Feaster Band
from Indianapolis USA. The band played on the trail last year and made a hugely
successful appearance that they were invited onto the main stage for 2009. The
band led by Travis Feaster
on vocals and a metallic blue Fender Stratocaster produced a fine performance of
blues-rock mixing originals from their current CD Long Overdue, with covers,
Included today were Born Under A Bad Sign, Back For More, The Devils Daughter,
Tired Of Being Mistreated (slow blues with a tasty guitar solo), Mr Pitiful and
Hey Joe which brought the biggest cheer of the set. Travis Feaster is a good
guitarist who generally plays in the modern Texas blues style.
to perform, making her first appearance at the festival, was the
Deborah Bonham Band. Deborah,
sister of the late John Bonham, supported by guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums,
entertained with a seventies rock chick performance including a mixture of
original material and covers. The set opened with Black Coffee and progressed
through a number of songs from her current album Duchess, including If You
Haven’t The Love, Jack Past Eight, Love Lies, The Duchess, Angel and The Devil
in New Orleans. The Old Hide introduced with stories of John, herself and family
was dedicated to the Maryport fishermen who had died in tragic circumstances
recently. Her set finished with Stay With Me Baby.
Closing the Saturday afternoon
session was the Ulster bluesman Rab McCullough
with cap on head and Fender Stratocaster in hand supported by bass, drums and
harmonica. His set included mostly covers of classic blues including Good
Morning Little Schoolgirl (Sonny Boy Williamson), Statesboro Blues (Blind Willie
McTell), Going Down Slow (St Louis Jimmy). The obligatory Hendrix number Voodoo
Chile (Slight Return) was included with Rab playing his guitar behind his head
and with his teeth, a la Jimi; this resulted in the greatest applause of the
day. The set closed with a high energy Bullfrog Blues in true Rory Gallagher
fashion with Rab playing slide. Although a harmonica player was in the band his
contribution was almost inaudible in the mix.
Saturday night was kicked off by
Brighton based guitarist and singer Dani Wilde
supported by her band consisting of guitar, bass, drums and harmonica. The set
consisted of material from her CD Heal My Blues and included Little By Little
(with audience participation which almost failed to spark any interest), Bring
Your Loving Home To Me and Abandoned Child. A new song Some Kind Of Crazy which
has yet of be recorded was aired. Will “Harmonica”
Wilde, younger brother of Dani, performed a funky
Blues Is My First Love, You Come Second Babe which featured some tasty
The Blues Band
who have been together for about thirty years took to the stage next and
performed a set of mostly covers of blues, R&B and rock and roll standards. The
lead was shared between Paul Jones
(vocals and harmonica), Dave
Kelly (vocals and slide guitar) and
Tom McGuiness (vocals, guitar
and mandolin). Numbers included within the set included Before You Accuse Me,
Laura Lee, Slipping and Sliding, You’ve Got To Move (with Tom McGuiness on
mandolin), I Can’t Be Satisfied, Fine Brown Frame, Statesboro Blues, Flat Foot
Sam (with Paul hinting at the Old Grey Whistle Test theme during the harmonica
solo) and Talk To Me Baby. Guitar histrionics were contagious during the weekend
as even Tom McGuiness played guitar behind his head.
Saturday night was the “Godfather of British Blues” –
John Mayall. Although the
Bluesbreakers have been officially disbanded this line up carries on their
tradition of featuring an excellent guitarist and, true to form,
Rocky Athas did not
disappoint. John Mayall (keyboards and harmonica) guided the band through a tour
of John’s forty plus years recording history featuring Chicago Line from his
first album John Mayall Plays John Mayall, three numbers from the Beano album
Hideaway, Parchman Farm and the encore All Your Love and others from key stages
in his career including Another Man Dome Gone, Talk To Your Daughter, Help Me,
Blues For The Lost Days, Congo Square, A Dream About The Blues and a new song
Moving Out & Moving On. The set closed with the harmonica showcase Room To Move
featuring skat singing from John. The bass player, who was having trouble with
his amplifier all night, played a great solo in Room To Move. This was a well
constructed set, played by fine musicians featuring the guitar of Rocky Athas. I
hope that I have as much energy as John Mayall does when I reach the age of 75.
Sunday, the last day of the festival,
was opened by Ryan Shaw
from Georgia USA. This gospel and soul influenced singer backed by guitar, bass
and drums was a fitting start to the day. Ryan is generally unknown in the UK
but he featured songs from his current CD This Is Ryan Shaw, including Many
Rivers To Cross, I’m Looking For Love, Nobody But Me, Morning Noon & Night (this
was very Sam Cooke influenced) and Let It Be. The bass guitarist played a
wonderful solo during the set which was almost like classical guitar in its
structure. During the set Ryan expressed that his main influence was Michael
Jackson – he seemed quite shocked when there was little enthusiasm from the
audience in praising Michael Jackson. Ryan then went on to perform Man In The
Next was a marathon set by Nottingham
based Sean Webster and
his band plus assorted guests. Sean toting a black Fender Telecaster and his
band kicked things off with a few numbers from his current album including
You’re Gonna Make It Rain. John Amor
joined on guitar for Get Myself Together and What You Do To Me.
Giles King one of the best UK
harmonica players joined proceedings and started with a harmonica led
instrumental with Giles going walk about through the marquee. Also performed
with Giles taking solos were She Automatic and Mr Highway Man.
Stuart Dixon was next to join
the stage with the following numbers featuring guitar solos from all the
guitarists and harp from Giles Guess What Johnny Did, Losing My Mind (Texas
shuffle) and Shotgun Blues. Next up were Dave
Dougherty and Joel
Fisk and on guitars who featured on Have You Ever
Loved a Woman. Finally James Anthony
on guitar joined the amassed guitars with the set coming to a close on It Feels
Like Rain. Two and a half hours of guitar overdose.
A mark of respect was held at six
o’clock with a minutes silence in honour of the local fishermen who had
tragically lost their lives days before the festival.
final session of the weekend started late with Eric
Burdon and his band having difficulties at customs
and immigration. Eric delivered a set based upon a mix of songs from his solo
years and his time with the Animals. The set opened with The Night Was Young
which was plagued with technical difficulties at the end of the song. Other
songs included in the set were Don’t Bring Me Down, Warm San Franciscan Night,
Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (with Reggae inflections), I Believe, Boom Boom
which merged into Whole Lotta Shakin, The Devils Slide, Forty Four Blues, Paint
It Black and Its My Life. During the show one number of instrumental music from
Crete was played on a traditional instrument much like an upside down violin
with the tuning heads held under the players chin.
The encore featured Got To Get Out Of
This Place and House Of The Rising Sun.
Closing the show was
Ruby Turner who was featured
as part of the Jools Holland Rhythm & Blues Orchestra in 2008. Ruby, on fine
form, backed by a band consisting of guitar, keyboards, bass and drums delivered
a mix of gospel, soul and blues. Songs included Restless, Not That Easy (very
funky), Something On Your Mind (slow blues), So Amazing, Nobody But You, Get
Away To Jordan, Oh Mary Don’t You Weep. Tributes to her favourite singers were
included in the set, such as, This Train by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and I’d Rather
Go Blind by Etta James. The deserved encore was Do You Feel Ready. The set was
cut short due to the delay caused by Eric Burdon’s late start.
Attendance at this year’s festival
was down on last year with the Friday night being the best attended session.
Again the lack of seating was a problem for the majority of the audience who are
mainly over 45 with the Saturday and Sunday sessions being the main concern for
standing for a long period of time.
We did not attend any of the trail
venues however we received some excellent reports about
Many thanks to Courtland Bresner for
Alan White, earlyblues.com
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