Home Page

Charlie Patton painting © Copyright 2004 Loz Arkle
Painting © 2004 Loz Arkle

Website © Copyright 2000-2011 Alan White - All Rights Reserved

Site optimised for Microsoft Internet Explorer

What is the Blues?
Background to Blues
Chronology of Blues
Artists & Bands Index
Featured Article
Blues Essays
Blues Memories
Blues Festivals UK/E10
Blues Festivals (UK) 09
Blues Festivals (UK) 08
Blues Festivals (UK) 07
Blues Festival Photos
Blues Movies
Blues DVDs
Masked Marvel CDs
Blues Internet Mags
Blues Video Clips
Streaming The Blues
Blues Masters
Blues Guitar
Blues Anthology
Blues Paintings
Blues Pilgrimage
Blues Courses
Best of British Blues
Top Twenty Blues
Blues Books
Blues Mall
Old Blues Adverts
Our Blues Links
Visitor Links
Blues Researchers
Cumbria Blues
Lancashire Blues
Lancashire Bands
Lancashire Links
North East England
The Midlands
Southern England
Hall of Fame
Resting Places
Blues Recipies
Guest Book
Blues Forum
What's New
Coming Soon
Search Me!
Search Google

Hero. Legend. Good Bloke.
John Peel OBE, 1939 - 2004

Red Lick Records



Early Blues Interview
Paul Lamb, harmonica
& vocals - Paul Lamb & The King Snakes

Paul Lamb played The Colne Great British R & B Festival in August 2009 and I caught up with him after the set. 

© Copyright 2009 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:   What are your first musical memories as a youngster in Newcastle?   

Paul:    Listening to the radio 2 way family favourites, Jean Metcalf etc. 

Alan:   Did you always want to become a musician? 

Paul:    It was around about the age of 14 years, when I felt the pull of the music but wasn’t sure how or what I could do about it. 

Alan:   How did you get started in music? 

Paul:    I heard the album “The World of John Mayall”.

Alan:   What kind of material were you playing in the early days? 

Paul:    In the folk clubs of the North East playing Sonny Boy, Blind Boy Fuller & Sonny Terry.

Alan:   What first attracted you to the blues? 

Paul:    The feel & the spirit.

 Alan:   You represented Great Britain in the world harmonica championships which led to a time with Sonny Terry, how did this come about and what was Sonny like? 

© Copyright 2009 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Paul:    Steve Rye introduced me to Sonny in 1974. It was a great learning period for me with the maestro. Sonny was very kind & spent a lot of time educating me about the Blues.

Alan:   Tell me about Sonny's influence in your music writing and playing the harp - carving out your own style based on what he taught you. 

Paul:    Sonny is everything to me, even back then, I knew he was the master. He had a “band sound” all of his own & my style of playing reflects this style. Feeling what you play & playing what you feel…I have listened to all the greats not just the harp players but all instruments to hone my craft.

Alan:   You've also performed with such greats as Brownie McGhee, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, tell me a little about these times and how they inspired you. 

Paul:    Well all of those guys are great performers & spirit players. Brownie & Buddy have now passed away but I still talk & sometimes play with Buddy. My first memory of Buddy was opening up for him at Dingwalls in 1984. The whole year was a blast but that gig remains firmly in my mind. Thinking back to those days keeps me on what I call the Journey. They all inspired me & pushed me further on the road of discovery.

 Alan:   How did The Blues Burglars get together and how did the King Snakes evolve?  

Paul:    We were guys hanging around Newcastle with a respect for this music. Getting together we started of with covers & started playing the bars. Pretty soon there was an excitement about the band & we signed to Red Lightnin Records. This is when all the travelling started with large venues supporting American acts & also building a firm fan base of our own & writing our own stuff.

The majority of the band hated being on the road & so Johnny Whitehill & myself took off down the smoke. The band became known as The Paul Lamb Blues band & evolved into Paul Lamb & the King Snakes.

© Copyright 2009 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:   Ryan of course grew up with the blues, but did you think he would eventually be in the band? 

Paul:    No I did not. It happened quite slowly, after using many different guitarists, Ryan played a few solos. I then realised that the best fit for the band was in fact Ryan. He gelled perfectly & has shown his true worth ever since.

Alan:   Are there any particular songs that you play that have special meaning to you? 

Paul:    All of them have special meanings. I write about true life, love, money, women , drinking….all parts of our being. If I have to pick one then it would be Sonny Terry called “ Better Day” on Folkways. The song means that whatever hard times you may have, there is always a better day to come. 

Alan:   After many years in the pubs and clubs of the North East, you moved to London, how do you compare the London blues scene with the North East? 

Paul:    Things have changed so much since the 80’s with clubs & bars closing down or moved away from Blues . I don’t think there was much difference early on. The bars were mainly where people went to have a good time, not always to see music. As the bands reputation grew, so the audience started to listen & respect the music. There was the Broken Doll in Newcastle & The Station Tavern in London which started to be “The Blues places” & many a band have started & worked their way to the top from these venues. I guess the only real difference was that the A & R guys seemed to stay down South, so there was more of a chance of a record deal? 

© Copyright 2009 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:   Do you still get a buzz from your heavy tour schedules? 

Paul:    Totally……… Big Time.

Alan:   How healthy do you think the blues scene is in the UK/Europe compared with the US and the Far East? 

Paul:    Europe is still very strong for us & the emerging European countries such as Poland are really staring to build, big time. I am off there for the whole of November. U.S.A.  is still one to crack, budgets are tight & they have plenty of home grown blues acts to pick from.

Hong Kong & China are great with ex pats & the locals going crazy for the blues. It’s still a big world out there.

Alan:   You have done BBC TV soundtracks and have had your music in motion pictures; do you aspire to be a film star?  How about appearing as Sonny in a movie on Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee! 

Paul:    Not sure about a film star but portraying Sonny Terry would be fantastic but I might need a little make up?

Alan:   You've (rightly) had many awards over the years - is there one that's special to you? 

Paul:    They are all special but the one inducting me into the Blues Hall of Fame is a good one, also my award for swimming aged 13 J

Alan:   Tell me about the making of your 'Playing with the Blues' album with Johnny Dickinson? 

Paul:    When Johnny & I had a small tour, at one of the gigs the sound guy presented us with a tape of the show. He had taped it directly from his sound desk. We took it home, picked the best tracks & the record was born….simple as that.

© Copyright 2009 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:   Some music styles may be fads but the blues is always with us. Why do you think that is?

Paul:    It’s the truth & it’s the honest truth.

Alan:   How do you see the future of blues music?

Paul:    You see fads, ebb & flow just like life. The Blues follows these lines, ever changing but always there.

Alan:   What are your future plans / gigs / tours / albums? 

Paul:    I am due to record a studio album in December, along with working hard touring the world.

Alan:   Thank you so much Paul, I really do appreciate your time.

Paul:    It’s a pleasure.

Alan White  -  earlyblues.com


Return to Blues Interviews List

Website, Photos © Copyright 2000-2009 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
Text (this page) © Copyright 2009 Alan White & Paul Lamb. All Rights Reserved.
For further information please email: