Maryport Bitter and Blues Festival 2005
Friday 29th to Sunday 31st
Main Stage Review by
success of last years festival most people thought that it would be impossible
to beat last years headliner Buddy Guy, but the festival committee worked hard
and came up with a winner. The Chicago Blues Legends headlining the Saturday
night stole the show.
opened with local rock band The Answer who performed a competent set of covers
including numbers by Free (Alright Now), Hoax and Amor.
Next up was
Chicago based Studebaker John and the Hawks who provided a set of original blues
with Studebaker John demonstrating his skills on electric slide guitar plus
chromatic and cross harp.
with John Steel on drums the only original member, delighted the crowd with a
set based around their hits of the early and mid sixties. These hits included
Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood and finally House of the Rising Sun. Bass
guitarist and singer Pete Barton fronted the band with John Williamson playing
some tasty guitar throughout the set.
The final act
of the Friday night was The Yardbirds, with Chris Dreja (guitar) and Jim McCarty
(drums) of the original line up still performing. Guitar virtuoso Jerry Donahue
provided a master class in string bending during his solos. The Yardbirds
performed a mixed set of past hits and more recent recordings. The hits included
The Train Kept A’ Rollin’, Heart full of Soul, Evil Hearted You and of course
For Your Love. Latter day Yardbirds/early Led Zeppelin was in evidence when
Still I’m Sad merged into Dazed and Confused. A great end to the Friday night.
afternoon opening with the Carlisle based Ollie Allcock Band. The set consisted
of a mix of originals and covers. The highlight of the set was the interplay
between the guitar and sax.
Next up was
guitarist Sean Webster who is starting to make a name for himself on the
circuit. Sean served up a mixed set of originals interspersed with covers such
as Born Under A Bad Sign.
afternoon session was Lightnin’ Willie and the Poorboys. Texan Willie was
clearly enjoying the event and played a high-energy set of mainly original
numbers. Lightnin’ Willie played some excellent guitar solos in the Texan
tradition. Giles King (harp) played some superb solos, solid support was
provided by Spy (bass) and Sam Kelly (drums). As is usual with Lightnin’ Willie
gigs he went for a walkabout around the marquee whilst playing a guitar solo.
The band deserved the standing ovation that the audience duly provided.
evening session kicked off with the Climax Blues Band, fronted by Colin Cooper
who played some fine harp and sax. The set consisted of mainly original number
scattered with covers such as Don’t Start Me Talkin’, Seventh Son and So Many
Trains. Of course Climax Blues Band could not leave before performing their hit
single Couldn’t Do It Right.
Next up was
Dave Weld from Chicago who was supported, for the first time, by harmonica
player Pete Leigh and the original Groundhogs rhythm section. Dave played an
enjoyable set of Chicago style blues. Dave is obviously influenced by JB Hutto
as this is reflected in his guitar style. Tony McPhee joined the band for two
night headliners the Chicago Blues Legends kicked off with Bob Margolin
(guitar), Willie Big Eyes Smith (drums) and Mookie Brill (bass) taking the stage
to rapturous applause. This was the start of almost two hours of classic Chicago
blues. When Bob Margolin played slide guitar in standard tuning my mind was
drawn back to Muddy Waters, the sound was eerie. Bob has obviously served his
apprenticeship well. The band was joined the great Hubert Sumlin on guitar and,
as expected, a series of Howlin’ Wolf songs followed, including Sitting On Top
Of The World and Built For Comfort.
Next to take
the stage was harmonica great James Cotton. James played some great chromatic
and cross harp. Songs included One More Mile.
three year old Pinetop Perkins took the stage and sang a number of blues
classics such as Kansas City and How Long Blues. Pinetop also played some great
piano solos during his time on stage. Time seem to fly during the night and
before long it was all over. The band returned for an encore during which
Pinetop was clearly enjoying himself and did not want to leave the stage.
afternoon opened with Tony McPhee playing an acoustic set of covers and
originals. Songs included Me And The Devil, Death Letter, Can’t Be Satisfied and
a number of songs off his latest CD. Joanna Deacon provided vocal support on a
number of songs including the Charlie Patton Oh Death.
Next up was
Diana Braithwaite from Canada. Diana sang a mixed set of original songs and
covers. Diana’s choice of material was unusual as she sang a number of songs
which you generally do not associate with women, eg, Rollin and Tumblin, Big
Boss Man and Dust My Broom. Of her original songs I particularly liked The Grass
Is Greener a bluesy ballad.
Paul Lamb and
the Kingsnakes provided a set of harmonica led, mostly original blues. The band
were obviously working hard as the lead guitarist suffered two broken strings
during the set. Highly enjoyable.
The final act
of the festival was the Mike Sanchez Rhythm & Blues Revue with Mike Sanchez on
piano and vocals. Singer Imelda Clabby joined the band for a number of songs and
provided change of pace and contrast. The high energy Rock ‘N’ Roll and R&B set
was a fine way to end the festival.
Thanks to the
Festival Committee for organising an excellent festival. Long may it continue.
Maryport Bitter and Blues Festival become the premier blues event in the UK?
And now some of his photos....
© Copyright 2001-2005 Alan
White. All Rights Reserved.
Text and Photos (this page) © Copyright 2005
Courtland Bresner. All Rights Reserved.