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Bob Long: News

Photos from The Juke Joint Festival and Mississippi River Trip - April 18, 2012

Just got home after a trip to The USA. We flew to Chicago, picked up a rental car and drove down part of the former "Route 66" to St Louis. In St Louis we visited my friend, Susan, who was a wonderful host and guide, did some sightseeing and went to a blues jam in which I played with a borrowed guitar. Then we drove down through Missouri, Arkansas and Tennessee to Mississippi.

Then we stayed with the cousins in The Delta, did the King Biscuit Time radio show with Sonny Payne in Helena, AR and a river trip with John Ruskey of The Quapaw Canoe Company. Our last weekend was spent mostly in Clarksdale for The Juke Joint Festival in which I played at The Bank stage with Da Bones Man, my friend Randy Seppala.

Here's a link to some photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/boblong/sets/72157629845980193/

New Album: Delta Harvest - December 6, 2011

I'm pleased to announce my new album, Delta Harvest, is now available. If you would like a copy (only £5) just send me an email. It was recorded in Duncan, Mississippi by Bill Abel at the Big Toe Studio in October.

The photos on the cover are ones I took myself, trying to capture the atmosphere of The Delta at harvest time

Here's the track list

Delta Harvest

 

 1.  Boogaloosa Woman (Tommy Johnson)

 2.  Diggin’ My Potatoes (Washboard Sam)

 3.  Peavine (Charley Patton)

 4.  Miss Mae Belle (RL Burnside)

 5.  Slidin’ Delta (Tommy Johnson)

 6.  Can’t Get That Stuff No More (Tampa Red)

 7.  Bye And Bye (Tommy Johnson)

 8.  Aunt Caroline Dye (Will Shade )

 9.  Canned Heat (Tommy Johnson)

10. Milkcow’s Calf (Robert Johnson)

11. Lonesome Home (Tommy Johnson)

12. Last Chance (Gus Cannon)

13. Screamin’ And Hollerin’ (Charley Patton)

 

The Songs On This Album

 

1. Boogaloosa Woman is a Tommy Johnson number, recorded in 1929 but unissued. It relates to Tommy returning to Boogaloosa after lengthy ramblings and finding his girlfriend in a poor condition.

Boogaloosa Woman Tommy_Johnson

 

2. Diggin’ My Potatoes is a Washboard Sam (Robert Brown) song, recorded with Big Bill Broonzy in Chicago in the 1940s and covered by Lonnie Donegan in the early 1950s. It was considered to be too sexually explicit and banned by the BBC in 1954.

 

3. Peavine is a Charley Patton song about the Delta railroad that ran from Rosedale to Dockery’s by a tortuous route. The lyrics include a reference to the Delta flood of 1927….”the levee is sinking, you know I can’t stay here long….” This desperate situation was very nearly repeated in May 2011.

 

4. Miss Mae Belle is a mono-chordal Hill Country song from RL Burnside about lustful pursuit of a beautiful woman….

 

5. Slidin’ Delta. A Tommy Johnson classic about the Delta flood of 1927

 

6. Can’t Get That Stuff No More is a Tampa Red song from the Prohibition days, recorded in Chicago in 1932

 

7. Bye And Bye is a Tommy Johnson song about ending a relationship which is both sad and philosophical. In the first verse I have used the lyrics preferred by his younger brother, Mager, because they make more sense.

 

8. Aunt Caroline Dye was a hoodoo lady who lived in Newport, Arkansas. She was the grandmother of the composer, Will Shade of The Memphis Jug Band. In this song, she gives her grandson some advice….

 

9. Canned Heat. A Tommy Johnson classic recorded in 1928. Tommy confronts the inevitability of his death from drinking Sterno (cooking fuel), admits to his helpless alcoholism and praises the drink’s short-term effects. He must have been tough; he survived to the age of 60!

 

10. Milkcow’s Calf. A collection of Delta blues would be lacking if it didn’t include a song from Robert Johnson. I like the elaborately crafted and consistent double entendre.

 

11. Lonesome Home. One of three Tommy Johnson songs with the same name! I think you can hear a little of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s influence in the guitar in Tommy’s version.

 

12. Last Chance is a Gus Cannon song which he recorded both with and without Noah Lewis in the late 1920s. This is about a relationship which seems doomed to failure. I love the lyric “you’re just a trifling woman, don’t mean me no good no how”.

 

13. Screamin’ And Hollerin’ is a Charley Patton song which I consider to be one of the Delta blues classics and which has inspired countless re-interpretations. I love it. Here is yet another….

 

 

My travels in Mississippi and Arkansas - October 22, 2011

I've just got home from a trip to The USA. I flew from London to Chicago, then took another flight down to Memphis, then drove south down Highway 61 into Mississippi. Going across the state line between Memphis and Tunica and seeing the landscape flatten out as I enter The Delta, is always uplifting, even when I'm tired.

It was harvest time in The Delta.....a busy time. I was surrounded by cotton picking and rice and soy bean harvesting. The crop-dusting aircraft were swooping and turning....sounding like a WW2 film about The Battle of Britain.

Highlights of my stay were a gig at Hambone's Gallery in Clarksdale, in which the owner, Stan Street, joined me on harmonica, recording a new album, "Delta Harvest" (mostly old Delta blues) at Bill Abel's Big Toe Studio in which I was joined by Randy Seppala "Da Bones Man" on percussion, playing at Mike's Fish Fry at Shack Up Inn at Hopson's, and going to The King Biscuit Festival in Helena, The Cat Head Minifest in Clarksdale and The Pinetop Perkins Homecoming at Hopsons, which of course, was the first without Pinetop himself.

I've put some photos on Flickr as a slideshow http://www.flickr.com/photos/boblong/sets/72157627947071282/

National Trojan Guitar 1934: Restotation - July 2, 2011

Last November I bought a 1934 National Trojan guitar. It was in good condition for its age, at least in the sense that it had not been modified or worked upon and was therefore still "all original". The problem with it was that it was unplayable; the neck had warped to the extent that the action at the twelth fret was about 12mm.

So what was needed was a neck re-set, an operation involving removal of the neck from the body, straightening it and replacing it at a slightly different angle. Also, the tuners needed some repairs and the frets needed to be replaced.

It has taken me a while to do it but the work is finished now and I'm enjoying playing it. The guitar is now "all original" except for new frets, a new saddle and a new decal on the headstock. I've put some "before", "during" and "after" photos on Flickr and here's the link http://www.flickr.com/photos/boblong/sets/72157627097096214/

Blues & Booze In The Bury 2011 - February 20, 2011

Festival “Blues & Booze In The Bury” Sat 25 June 2011

 

This event, now in its fifth year, combines a blues festival, a real ale festival and a family fun day, raising funds for charities, including The Neurofibromatosis Association (NfA). It is located open-air in The Bury, at the heart of the beautiful old town of Odiham, Hampshire, United Kingdom. The music starts at 12 noon and finishes at 6 pm. Entry is free and there’s plenty of parking. 

As in previous years, the emphasis of this successful event will be on blues, with both acoustic solo artists and bands.  This year’s performers are…. 

 

Eddie Martin and The Eddie Martin Band

Born in London in the 60's British Blues Boom, Eddie Martin turned professional after being nominated for Best British Blues Guitarist, Band and Album between 1996 and 1998. Since then he has played or recorded with many greats from both sides of the Atlantic, including John Mayall, Peter Green, Buddy Guy, and Taj Mahal.

His songwriting seamlessly updates blues tradition to the modern world and his solo and band performances fill even hardened blues audiences with new enthusiasm for the expressiveness and power of this genre.

His acoustic style has developed into a percussive blend of traditional blues slide and finger-picking blues styles with flamenco rasguerdo techniques. These he combines with rack harmonica playing and foot percussion in the style of the one-man-blues bands such as Duster Bennett, Joe Hill Louis and Dr Ross.

Most strikingly innovative is the simultaneous rack harmonica and guitar style that he has developed and which caused the International Harmonica Federation to single him out as one of the innovators on the instrument at the World Harmonica Festival in Germany. 

He is riding high after his double nomination in the 2010 British Blues Awards for Best Harmonica Player and Best guitarist and with new reviews calling his album, Folk and Blues, "a quiet little masterpiece.". Eddie Martin has been described as "the most remarkable blues man of his generation" by Blues in Britain. Visit the website http://www.eddiemartin.com/ 

 

Pete Harris Blues Band

The Southampton-based Pete Harris Blues Band has been together in its current line-up since 2007 and is enjoying an enviable, and growing, reputation on the South Coast and beyond. Featuring Pete on vocals and guitar, Hugh Budden on harmonica, Bob Manley on bass and Steve Groves on drums, they produce an irresistible blend of swing, funk and down-home blues. Pete has performed on stage with many American blues artistes, notably Phil Guy, (brother of Buddy Guy), Lowell Fulson, Tabby Thomas, Gene "Mighty Flea" Connors, Mojo Buford (ex Muddy Waters Band), Byther Smith, Carrie and Lurrie Bell and Jerry McCain. He has appeared on BBC Television and many times on local and national radio.  Visit the website http://www.peteharrisblues.com/home.htm

 

Adam Franklin

Adam Franklin is a superb exponent of blues and ragtime music from a Golden Age of the legendary recordings of Charley Patton, Son House and Tommy Johnson. With a voice that is both powerful and soulful and equally at home on guitar and resonator ukulele, Adam’s performances are intense, energetic and highly entertaining. Brought up in a family of musicians and entertainers, Adam carries on the tradition with energy and passion. He makes his way through the pre-war American songbook, using his guitar as a band in a box and the floor as a foot-stomping drum kit.

 Adam has shared stages with many international artists including, Catfish Keith, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Steve James, Del Rey, Oli Brown & Toby Walker

 

Bob Long 

Bob Long is a British blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player specializing in "the old stuff". Most of what he plays is his interpretations of pre-world war II blues, jug band and ragtime material particularly music from the Mississippi Delta where he is a frequent visitor. He has performed at The Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, The Tommy Johnson Blues Festival in Crystal Springs and the legendary Ground Zero Blues Club. When at home, Bob hosts a monthly acoustic blues jam in Southampton.  Visit his website www.bobalong.co.uk

 

Contact Information

Enquiries (music) Bob Long, email long.boblong@gmail.com

Enquiries (admin) Peter Fountain, email PtrFount@aol.com

 

Visit to Mississippi September 2010 - August 29, 2010

My next trip to Mississippi will be in September, 2010.

I feel honoured to have been booked to play at The Tommy Johnson Blues Festival on Sat 18 September. Click this link to see the official poster with all the details http://www.flickr.com/photos/boblong/4937430196/

 

I've learned some more Tommy Johnson songs and I'm looking forward to performing them at this special event.

Also, I'll be visiting friends in Mississippi, including the Tommy Johnson relatives and Ben Payton and in Memphis,Tenessee and doing some gigs in Jackson, MS. (details on the gigs page of this site).

First stop will be Bill Abel's place in The Delta to get my guitars, catch up with the news and maybe have a little jam...

Festival: Blues & Booze InThe Bury, Odiham. - May 23, 2010

Festival “Blues & Booze In The Bury” Sat 26 June 2010

 

 This event, now in its fourth year, combines a blues festival, a real ale festival and a family fun day, raising funds for charities, including The Neurofibromatosis Association (NfA). It is located open-air in The Bury, at the heart of the beautiful old town of Odiham, Hampshire, United Kingdom. The music starts at 12 noon and finishes at 6 pm. Entry is free and there’s plenty of parking.

 As in previous years, the emphasis of this successful event will be on acoustic blues.  This year’s performers are…..

 Ben Payton

 Ben Payton, from Jackson, Mississippi, USA, has been living the blues most of his life. Now in his sixties, he’s a “real deal” bluesman of the old school, singing and playing traditional material and his own songs on acoustic guitar. Ben’s appearance at Odiham will be part of his first tour in the UK. Ben Payton was born in tiny Coila, Mississippi, in the hill country just east of the Delta. His early musical influences included his grandmother Mabel Johnson’s gospel piano playing and his Uncle Joe Birch’s blues guitar.

Ben Payton's voice resonates with a passion for life and his skills as a guitarist evoke the tradition of the original Delta blues greats such as Robert Johnson, Tommy Johnson, Charley Patton, and Son House. Yet Payton has a style all his own. Visit Ben’s website http://benpayton.com/bio.html

 

Red Jackson

 Featuring the mellow soulful voice of Phil Mills, with his jazzy finger-style or bluesy slide guitars and showcase harmonicas, backed up by the solid 12-year partnership of rhythm section Schultz (on a 2-drum kit) and Teej (acoustic double bass), Red Jackson have developed a laid-back but passionate approach to the blues.

They perform a mix of blues styles: from the slow, haunting blues of the Mississippi delta to the rolling beat of Chicago, picking up street grooves from New Orleans, Texan boogie and a touch of hill-country ragtime along the way. This is the blues of the '40s and '50s, the blues of Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, T-Bone Walker and Big Bill Broonzy to name just a few.

The story doesn't end there though, they allow many other influences in to create their sound: soul, jazz, funk, latin, rockabilly all lend their unique colour to a more contemporary interpretation of the blues. Website http://www.redjackson.com/index.php

 

Reverend Robert  

 From The USA, Reverend Robert is a master of pre-war blues. He has delved deep into the styles of Charley Patton, Robert Johnson and other Delta blues giants. In 2004 he took first place at The National Slide Guitar Festival in North Carolina, USA. The Reverend is known for his true conviction and powerful delivery. Visit his website http://revrobert.com/index.html 

 

 Lewis Cohen

Lewis Cohen is a phenomenal British bluesman; a rising star among the younger generation of acoustic blues players. His powerful vocals and exquisite slide guitar technique, combined with a repertoire of (sometimes obscure) numbers from the 1920s and 1930s, make him a lively and soulful performer. Visit his website www.lewiscohenblues.com

 

Bob Long

 Bob Long is a British blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player specializing in "the old stuff". Most of what he plays is his interpretations of pre-world war II blues, jug band and ragtime material particularly music from the Mississippi Delta where he is a frequent visitor. He has performed at The Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, The Tommy Johnson Blues Festival in Crystal Springs and the legendary Ground Zero Blues Club. When at home, Bob hosts a monthly acoustic blues jam in Southampton.  Visit his website www.bobalong.co.uk

 

 

Vulcanoes and Tornadoes - April 29, 2010

Back home after my spring trip to The USA

I managed to dodge the volcanic eruptions, or should I say disruptions and the tornadoes that rushed through the Mississippi Delta and now I'm back home.

Highlights of the trip included playing the blues at The Clarksdale Juke Joint Festival (on the train to Hopson Plantation this year) and on the sidewalk outside Hambone's Gallery with Stan Street. I also enjoyed playing at The Blue Tulip Restaurant in Helena AR during the Wild Hog Fest.....a fun gig organised by my friend Katie Lambert. The Wild Hogs were good guys and Emma, owner of The Blue Tulip and her mother, had their chests painted! (see photos). I think the artist enjoys his work....

In between musical frolics I had a lovely boat trip on The Mississippi from Greenville up to Lake Whittington with Bo' Weevil and Hank, Jackson, who is half Labrador/half Bassett and Cousin Lil. Cousin Henry Earl was busy planting rice and beans and alternated between praying for rain and praying for it to stop raining....but still maintained his usual good humour.

Bob plays on The Delta Railroad - March 11, 2010

This year my gig at Clarksdale Juke Joint Festival, Saturday April 17, is on the train!

Step back in time. "Hobo" the Mississippi Delta Railroad on the Juke Joint Festival Express runninig excursions during the festival. No charge. Selective trips with authentic railroad cars running from historic Clarksdale Passenger Station to Hopson Plantation. I'm playing the blues on the train leaving Clarksdale at 11.30 am. At 1.30pm the return train leaves Hopson and arrives Clarksdale 2pm.

For more info see http://www.jukejointfestival.com/fest_events.php

Blues & Booze In The Bury Festival 2010 - February 14, 2010

This year's Blues & Booze In The Bury, the annual open-air blues and real ale festival in Odiham, Hampshire, UK, will take place on Saturday 26 June 2010.

Watch this space for news of musicians booked for this year's festival. Meanwhile, I'm delighted to announce we will have Reverend Robert, http://revrobert.com/ all the way from the USA, appearing as part of his European tour this summer.

And from Jackson, Mississippi, USA, Ben Payton, http://www.benpayton.com/. Ben is the "real deal" bluesman and this will be his first appearance in the UK.

Here's the early press release

For Immediate Release  

Festival “Blues & Booze In The Bury” Sat 26 June 2010

 This event, now in its fourth year, combines a blues festival, a real ale festival and a family fun day, raising funds for charities, including The Neurofibromatosis Association (NfA). It is located open-air in The Bury, at the heart of the beautiful old town of Odiham, Hampshire, United Kingdom. The music starts at 12 noon and finishes at 6 pm. Entry is free and there’s plenty of parking.

 As in previous years, the emphasis of this successful event will be on acoustic blues.  This year’s performers include:

 Ben Payton

Ben Payton, from Jackson, Mississippi, USA, has been living the blues most of his life. Now in his sixties, he’s a “real deal” bluesman of the old school, singing and playing traditional material and his own songs on acoustic guitar. Ben’s appearance at Odiham will be part of his first tour in the UK. Ben Payton was born in tiny Coila, Mississippi, in the hill country just east of the Delta. His early musical influences included his grandmother Mabel Johnson’s gospel piano playing and his Uncle Joe Birch’s blues guitar.

Ben Payton's voice resonates with a passion for life and his skills as a guitarist evoke the tradition of the original Delta blues greats such as Robert Johnson, Tommy Johnson, Charley Patton, and Son House. Yet Payton has a style all his own. Visit Ben’s website http://benpayton.com/bio.html

 Reverend Robert

  Also from The USA, Reverend Robert is a master of pre-war blues. He has delved deep into the styles of Charley Patton, Robert Johnson and other Delta blues giants. In 2004 he took first place at The National Slide Guitar Festival in North Carolina, USA. The Reverend is known for his true conviction and powerful delivery. Visit his website http://revrobert.com/index.html

 Lewis Cohen

 Lewis Cohen is a phenomenal British bluesman; a rising star among the younger generation of acoustic blues players. His powerful vocals and exquisite slide guitar technique, combined with a repertoire of (sometimes obscure) numbers from the 1920s and 1930s, make him a lively and soulful performer. Visit his website www.lewiscohenblues.com

 Bob Long

 Bob Long is a British blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player specializing in "the old stuff". Most of what he plays is his interpretations of pre-world war II blues, jug band and ragtime material particularly music from the Mississippi Delta where he is a frequent visitor. He has performed at The Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, The Tommy Johnson Blues Festival in Crystal Springs and the legendary Ground Zero Blues Club. When at home, Bob hosts a monthly acoustic blues jam in Southampton.  Visit his website www.bobalong.co.uk

 Contact Information

Enquiries (music) Bob Long, email long.boblong@gmail.com

Enquiries (admin) Peter Fountain, email PtrFount@aol.com

 

 

Juke Joint Festival, Clarksdale, MS - January 19, 2010

 

I'm delighted to have again been invited to perform in this year's Juke Joint Festival. Here's the advance press release from Roger Stolle of Cat Head........

Clarksdale, Mississippi -- A decade into the 21st Century, Mississippi's juke joints are still the stars of Clarksdale's annual Juke Joint Festival & Related Events this April 16-18. Pre-sale wristbands are now on sale for the world-famous event at www.jukejointfestival.com.


"We're the only festival in the world where some raggedy old blues clubs are as important as the festival's big headliners," explained Roger Stolle, music coordinator for the festival and owner of the Cat Head blues store. "We offer the music, culture and history that no other blues event outside of the Delta can match. Honestly, you could say it's one of the world's most authentic blues fests."


Now in its seventh year, Juke Joint Festival regularly draws attendees from over 15 foreign countries and nearly all 50 US states. Still, the homegrown event holds a special place in the hearts of locals festival-goers as well.


"Juke Joint Festival truly lives up to its tag line," said Nan Hughes, president of the Clarksdale Downtown Development Association that puts on the popular festival. "It's half blues festival, half small-town fair and all about the Delta. From a student art show and racing pigs to a mini film fest and plenty of blues music, it's got it all -- something for everyone."


The Juke Joint Festival itself is Saturday, April 17th, with related events on that Friday and Sunday. Kicking off on Saturday with a 5K/8K run at 8am, the vendor booths and live music fire up at 10am. With the exception of music and education events on the Delta Blues Museum's outdoor main stage, most of the daytime entertainment will wrap up around 5pm. The main stage runs till 7pm.


At 9pm, the juke joints themselves become part of the action.


"This year, we anticipate having as many as 17 nighttime juke joint stages," according to Stolle. "From big clubs that hold 200 people to tiny jukes that hold 30, we've got it all."


At press time, official festival nighttime venues include Ground Zero Blues Club, Red's Lounge, Sarah's Kitchen, Delta Amusement Cafe, Tricia's, Bluesberry Cafe, Stone Pony, Hambone Gallery, Club 2000, Messenger's, Pete's Grill, Delta Blues Room, Anniebelle's, Hopson Commissary (front stage and back porch), Juke Joint Chapel at Shackup Inn and Hick's Tamales.


Musical acts performing in Clarksdale during festival weekend include Honeyboy Edwards, Big George Brock, Super Chikan, Big Jack Johnson, Watermelon Slim, Jimbo Mathus, Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm, Johnny Rawls, Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band, Blind "Mississippi" Morris, Stacy Mitchhart, James "T-Model" Ford, Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, Terry "Big T" Williams, Foster "Mr. Tater" Wiley, Robert "Wolfman" Belfour, Josh "Razorblade" Stewart, Guitar Mikey, Robert "Bilbo" Walker, Cedell Davis, Bob Long and dozens more. In total, over 50 blues acts will play in town as a result of festival events.


As always, the price is right for Juke Joint Festival.


"We want everyone to come out and enjoy the festivities," said festival co-organizer Goldie Hirshberg. "The official daytime events are free once again, and the nighttime wristband is still only $10 -- the same price it was seven years ago when the festival started."

Basingstoke Beer Festival - November 30, 2009

Basingstoke Beer Festival

On Friday 27 November, I had a wild night in Basingstoke! I was playing the blues, solo, for the Beer Festival at The Moose Centre. Serious beer tasting by CAMRA beer afficionados and lots of raunchy, lively blues to keep them in the mood... Robert Johnson's "They're Red Hot" went down really well.

Playing this gig reminded me of how it must have been for my heroes, guys like Charlie Patton and Tommy Johnson, working in juke joints, barrel houses etc., with everybody having a good time, talking, laughing, maybe screaming and shouting, having a good time and making a lot of noise. One big difference; they didn't have a PA system to help them! We present-day blues singers have it easy by comparison....

Blues & Booze In The Bury 2009 - June 17, 2009

Blues & Booze In the Bury, the blues festival staged annually in Odiham, Hampshire, England, held its third event on Saturday 13 June 2009

This year's line-up was

Martin Wood
Bob Long
Kindablu (Stu Weetman, Tom Weetman and Neil Warren)
National Steel ( Stuart Cumberpatch and Lewis Cohen)
Robin Bibi Band

The sun was shining, the real ales were flowing, the music was good and everyone had a good time.

For photos, click "photos" button on the home page, then click the Flickr link.

Blues Festival in June - May 24, 2009

Blues & Booze In The Bury Sat 13 June 2009


This event combines a blues festival, a real ale festival and a family fun day, raising funds for charities, including The Neurofibromatosis Association (NfA). It is located open-air in The Bury, at the heart of the beautiful old town of Odiham, Hampshire, United Kingdom. The music starts at 12 noon and finishes at 6 pm. Entry is free and there’s plenty of parking.

As in previous years, the emphasis of this successful event will be on acoustic blues. The line up is:

Robin Bibi Band
National Steel
Kindablu
Bob Long
Martin Wood


Robin Bibi Band


Robin Bibi is one of the UK’s top blues/rock guitarists and having paid his dues working with such names as Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Ben.E.King, The Pretty Things and Helen Shapiro, launched the Robin Bibi Band in 1996. The Band’s debut album ‘Blue Thrash Therapy’ was released a year later and quickly sold out leading to a recent re-release. Five albums on, Robin’s acoustic album ‘Fast Life Songs’ has also received critical acclaim and continues to sell well.
Blues, funk, soul, rock, reggae and jazz are all rolled together in The Robin Bibi Band's own feel-good concoction.
Because of its widely known reputation with a highly entertaining stage presentation, the Robin Bibi Band is now one of the busiest bands round the Southern music venue circuit and has played most of the major Blues festivals in the UK, Ireland, and Europe .It's exuberant passionate, dynamic, exciting and fun! This is music played straight from the heart, it will move your head, your heart and of course your feet!
More information at http://www.robinbibiband.co.uk


National Steel


This duo combines the outstanding slide guitar and finger-picking talents of Lewis Cohen and Stuart 'Marshcat' Cumberpatch to re-create the masterpieces of the golden age of acoustic blues.

The duo play a stunning collection of the vintage guitars featured on so many 78 rpm records. If there's anything which sounds better than the blues played on a vintage National guitar, it's the blues played on two of them! This is a great opportunity to hear the authentic sounds of the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta in the 1920s and 1930s.

More information at www.lemonrock.com/nationalsteel

Kindablu
This trio comprises Stu Weetman, his prodigal son, Tom and Neil Warren. Stu Weetman has been playing the Blues for 45 years now, and has forgotten more songs than he has ever remembered. A multi-instrumentalist, Stu is equally happy on banjo, guitar, bones, or mandolin. He is particularly fond of Bo Carter, Beer, and Balti . Tom is a highly accomplished guitarist who lists Bireli Lagrene, Burning Spear and Brakspears as his influences Neil Warren wasn't even born when Stu started playing Blues, but the lad is a quick learner, and is now one of the finest Blues harmonica players in the country. He sometimes plays in towns, too. He is fond of Pizza, Rod Piazza, and Pale Ale. Together they play everything from Delta Blues to Swing, and usually manage to finish at the same time.


Bob Long


Bob Long is a British blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player specializing in "the old stuff". Most of what he plays is his interpretations of pre-world war II blues, jug band and ragtime material particularly music from the Mississippi Delta, where he is a frequent visitor. He has performed at The Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, The Tommy Johnson Blues Festival in Crystal Springs and the legendary Ground Zero Blues Club. When at home, Bob hosts a monthly acoustic blues jam in Southampton. Jointly with Keith Miller, he has recently released a new album “ I Wonder To Myself”. More information at www.bobalong.co.uk

Martin Wood

What's your idea of good music? If it starts with Muddy Waters, Willie Johnson, Furry Lewis & Blind Lemon, and runs through to JJ Cale, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, take a listen to Martin Wood. Playing acoustic blues on guitar, slide guitar and mandolin, he updates the old classics, takes more modern songs back to the Delta and chucks in some of his own tunes in the same style for good measure .More info. at www. martinjwood.co.uk.

Rambling in Mississippi & Arkansas, April 2009 - May 5, 2009

I had a wonderful time visiting Mississippi and Arkansas in April. The trip combined the pleasures of seeing old friends, making new ones, hearing some good music, doing a little exploring and enjoying, as always, the southern hospitality. I even went to church….something I don’t normally do! Here I mention a few of the highlights, all of which are illustrated by photos on this site. (Go to "photos" and click the link to Flickr)

My friend Bill Abel, one of the few professional Mississippi bluesmen still playing “the old stuff”, had a party which was well attended by music lovers. Guests included Cadillac John, Stan Street, Dirk Wissbaum, Terry Buckalew and his colleagues Deborah Smith and Katie Lambert from The Delta Cultural Center / Radio KFFA in Helena, Gerald and Hollan Deloach, cousin Henry Earl from Deeson and many others.

Clarksdale’s Juke Joint Festival, now in its sixth year, seemed even bigger, with a large number of performances widely scattered in the downtown area throughout the day at the open air stages and of course, many bars, restaurants and clubs at night. It rained late Saturday afternoon but the show went on, where possible. Despite the rain, there was a good crowd, huddled under umbrellas, to see Honeyboy Edwards at The Delta Blues Museum Stage. At 93 years old, he just keeps going... Bill Abel had the pleasure of helping him along and it was a good performance.

Charlie Musselwhite was at The Delta Blues Museum for a reception to celebrate the opening of a new exhibit of memorabilia from his extraordinary career. To my surprise and delight, he brought his band with him and we were treated to an excellent live performance.

On April 21, the anniversary of the date the levee broke at Scott, MS in 1927 with the infamous flood of The Delta, there was a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker Dedication at the former “Delta Pines” Plantation in Scott. This was once owned by the British as a source of cotton to feed the mills in northern England. Today it is a Monsanto agricultural research centre. The company were gracious hosts and provided lunch for us all. The Marker is also dedicated to Big Bill Broonzy who (controversially) claimed Scott as his home. Bill Abel was booked to perform here and he asked me if I’d like to go with him. As I play Tommy Johnson’s song about the 1927 Flood, “Slidin’ Delta”, he invited me to perform it during the ceremony. In the crowd was Vera Johnson-Collins, the youngest niece of Tommy Johnson and President of The Tommy Johnson Blues Foundation.

On Friday, April 24 I went to Helena, AR. I’d been invited to “appear” as a guest on Sonny Payne’s legendary King Biscuit Time show on KFFA Radio. Sonny, now well into his eighties, is still going strong, still teasing his guests with his inimitable, mischievous sense of humour and it was great fun. He kindly plugged the new album I recorded with Keith Miller, “I Wonder To Myself” and I played a couple of songs live. I then joined Terry Buckalew on his show, Delta Sounds and explained how my life, post-retirement, is busy again, now I’m working with British luthier, Dave King, making guitars. (see www.daveking-acoustics.com ).

Later that day, after a few early evening refreshments at The Wild Hog Festival, which involves countless bikers, most riding Harleys, taking over downtown Helena, I drove back to Mississippi and called in at the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale. There, Stan Street’s band was setting up for the evening’s gig and Stan invited me to play some acoustic blues with himself on harp whilst the rest of the band took their break.

Another highlight was a guided tour of Dockery’s Plantation by Bill Lester, Executive Director of Dockery Farms Foundation, which is restoring the historic buildings. Bill took a photo of me on the front step of the (now derelict) commissary building where Charlie Patton used to play on Friday afternoons when the men came to collect their pay. After he had left, I sat on the step with my guitar and played Charlie’s “Banty Rooster Blues” in that magical, historic place.

And finally, on Sunday morning, I went to church (!) in Rosedale. Accompanied by my friend Leroy Nesbit, I went to the United Baptist Church. We were made very welcome and enjoyed some good gospel music!

First Appearance at South St. Arts Centre, Reading: Third Thursday Blues Club - November 21, 2008

Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of opening for JC & Angelina at Third Thursday Blues Club located in South St.Arts Centre, Reading, Berkshire.

It was my first appearance at this excellent club and a most enjoyable evening.

Toward the end of JC & Angelina's lively performance, they invited two guests to join them on stage: Michael Messer and Stuart Cumberpatch....both playing slide guitar. It was a fantastic finale!

Photos of the performances are on this site under "photos"

Hambone Festival, Clarksdale, Mississippi - November 17, 2008

I'm now back in England after a trip to Mississippi to visit friends and play in The Hambone Festival in Clarksdale.

Highlights included a Thursday night jam with Stan Street at Ground Zero Blues Club, a party at The Delta Blues Museum at which Stan Street presented a wonderful painting and Bill Perry played the blues, some wild nights at Red's Club, a Halloween Party with Stan Street's band and guests from Canada and New Orleans and the Street Party in East Second Street on Saturday afternoon, outside the Hambone Gallery.

The Street Party was an open-air event with a real Delta style. The preparations took just 30 minutes. John Ruskey's "Quapaw Canoe Company" flatbed truck arrived and was parked at right angles to the axis of the street to form a stage, barriers were positioned to stop the traffic and a PA sytem set up on the truck with a power cable running from the Gallery.

We then had excellent performances from Davis Coen, Bill Abel, Hambone and Terry Bean. I was delighted to have been invited to play a set myself and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Saturday evening at Ground Zero was a great pleasure with excellent music and good company. I was joined for dinner by local bluesman Bill Abel, Vera Johnson-Collins and Ben Payton from Jackson MS and Maie Smith from The Delta Blues Museum.

There are photos on this site. Go to "photos" and follow the link to my Flickr.

New Album Just Released: I Wonder To Myself - October 13, 2008

I Wonder To Myself – Bob Long and Keith Miller


“Originally inspired to take up playing the blues in our teens, we have both been playing ever since – in bands, jams, solos, duos – and sometimes just the two of us together. Living at opposite ends of the country, we don’t get to play together as often as we would like, but when we do, the result is the kind of thing you hear on this album – a mixture of old favourites and new discoveries. It’s also a homage to the men and women who first shaped the blues and a journey through the country blues, vaudeville and jug band music of the 1920s and 1930s, to the post World War 2 electric blues of Chicago. Recorded in a single session and mostly in single takes (with some overdubbing for additional vocals and jug),we set out to capture the spirit of one of our live sets, meeting the blues like an old friend – but one full of surprises.”



Supporting The Tommy Johnson Blues Foundation


The Tommy Johnson Blues Foundation is a charity based in Crystal Springs, Mississippi. One of its aims is to re-open and provide public access to, the derelict Warm Springs Cemetery, now cut off from the highway, where the body of Tommy Johnson has lain in an unmarked grave for over 50 years. In the Public Library in Crystal Springs is a magnificent gravestone for him, funded by Bonnie Raitt who has recorded some of his songs. But at present, it cannot be placed on his grave. The Foundation is working to address this problem and to boost awareness of Tommy Johnson's importance as one of the founding fathers of the blues This album includes three of his songs. In support of this cause, Bob Long and Keith Miller will donate 10% of the proceeds of sales of this album to The Tommy Johnson Blues Foundation.

Further Information


This album has been independently produced and will be distributed by CD Baby and available directly from Bob and Keith at gigs.

Contact Information


This album has been independently produced and will be distributed by CD Baby and available directly from Bob and Keith at gigs or from Cat Head Delta Blues in Clarksdale, Mississippi

Contact Bob Long :
Phone 023 80 282821
Email long.boblong@gmail.com
Cat Head www.cathead.biz email: roger@cathead.biz

Background


Bob is, these days, a frequent visitor to Mississippi, which he now regards as his spiritual home. In April this year he will be returning to Clarksdale to perform in The Juke Joint Festival (see below) to perform in this annual event for the fourth time. He is something of a curiosity there, being a white Englishman playing the “old stuff “, the music of
one or two generations earlier, but getting a warm welcome and enjoying southern hospitality. In 2006 and again in 2007, Bob played in the annual Tommy Johnson Blues Festival in Crystal Springs, Mississippi. It was during his travels that he met the relatives of the late Tommy Johnson (1896-1957) and became a supporter of the Tommy Johnson Blues Foundation.

jukejointfestival.com

tommyjohnsonblues.com

Notes on the Songs:


1. Stealing, Stealing
An old favourite that we first heard from Jesse Fuller, but originally recorded in 1928 by the Memphis Jug Band with Will Shade on harmonica and vocals. It has what must be one of the best opening lines of any song.

2. Big Road Blues
A Tommy Johnson song, first recorded in 1928 and one of three of his on this album. He wrote this one night at a party when the girl he wanted to go home with was non-committal. The guitar here is in dropped D tuning capoed up to E.

3. Green River Blues
One of two Charley Patton songs on this album, both recorded in 1929. This one rolls along like a Mississippi steamboat; big wheel churning, smoke hanging in the air, and accordion and guitar music drifting across the water….

4. I Wonder To Myself
Another song from Tommy Johnson, this one surviving only as a poor quality 1929 Paramount recording. We think this is the only ragtime number Tommy recorded, and family members tell us that in the studio he had someone to put the kazoo in his mouth for the instrumental breaks. Here Bob had the luxury of a rack to hold his kazoo. Tommy’s lyrics deal with common themes in his songs - coming home to his old mother who is missing him, being drunk and short of money. The lyrics also make a reference to racial segregation (“got to stagger to the rear of some passenger train”), which was rare in 1920s blues recordings.

5. Rocking Chair Blues
A Big Bill Broonzy song first recorded in 1940 with Memphis Slim on piano. Although Big Bill protests he’s young and tender and needs handling with care, he was 47 at the time. And as for Bob’s age…well, he too is being ironic…...

6. Going To Germany
A Canon's Jug Stompers song recorded in 1929 with Noah Lewis singing and playing harmonica. There are various ideas on what is meant by “going to German” – perhaps a reference to army service during the First World War or, more likely, to Germantown on the east side of Memphis. Either way, it's a beautiful and haunting song.

7. Me And The Devil Blues
One of our favourite Robert Johnson numbers and one we usually play acoustically. But this time we plugged in for an ‘early Chicago’ sound, Bob playing his Gretsch Synchromatic guitar and Keith playing harp through small Fender tube amps. We wonder what Robert Johnson would have done with an electric guitar if he had lived a little longer....

8. Some Of These Days
Another Charley Patton number but this time not a blues - it's derived from the popular hit recorded in 1911 by vaudeville singer Sophie Tucker. A jaunty fusion of blues and country, it illustrates the breadth of Patton's repertoire and his versatility as an entertainer who seems equally at home with blues, gospel and the pop music of the time.

9. Sporting Life Blues
Our arrangement of the old Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee favourite. The song, first recorded by Brownie in 1946 but written in the 1930s when he was still a teenager, was prompted by the last letter he got from his mother, urging him to change his ways. But as we all know, once you’re bitten by the blues…. Anyway, as they say, youth is really wasted on the young.

10. Black Eye Blue
A song from the repertoire of Ma Rainey, the early 20th century vaudeville star and first great blues stage singer. Recorded in 1928 with Thomas ‘Georgia Tom’ Dorsey on piano and Tampa Red on guitar, and written by the prolific Dorsey (later famous as a gospel composer), this is classic Ma Rainey territory – troubled relationships, suffering, determination and humour - a ‘dirty mistreater’ story from the woman’s point of view.

11. Mother Earth
An old favourite of ours by Memphis Slim (Peter Chatman) which we first heard on a 1960s blues compilation album, and then picked up again in the early 70s after meeting Memphis Slim on tour in England and later again in Paris where he settled towards the end of his life and opened a nightclub. It has great lyrics that just get better with age.

12. I Couldn't Help It
There’s not really that much known about Memphis blues musician Allen Shaw. He only recorded a few songs, this one for Vocalian in 1934. As so often with blues, Shaw took these verses from other songs around at the time. But the keynote here, the catchy jug band-like chorus, is all his own.

13. Maggie Campbell Blues
This 1928 Tommy Johnson song refers to his great lost love. There were many women in Tommy’s life, but Maggie Campbell was unusual in that she walked out on him. He spent the rest of his life keeping an eye out for her, hoping she’d come back. According to his family, she never did. Like the original, Bob plays this in open G tuning.

14. Standing Around Crying
Our tribute to Muddy Waters. Both as an acoustic player in Mississippi, and later, with his electric bands in Chicago, Muddy has been a towering influence. So too has Little Walter, who reinvented the harmonica as an amplified instrument. This song comes from Muddy’s incendiary 1952 sessions, recorded initially with Little Walter and, later, Junior Wells on harmonica. One of two numbers here (see track 7) played through tube amps – the harp through a bullet mic and an old Fender Champ.

15. Police Dog Blues
A typically tuneful and highly syncopated number which, unusually for him, is played in open tuning. Recorded in 1929, it’s a story of unrequited love for a woman whose fiercely protective dog ‘when he gets the chance, leaves his mark on everybody’s pants....’
BOB LONG AND KEITH MILLER: I Wonder To Myself

"Blues Matters" Album Review - October 6, 2008

Review of I WONDER TO MYSELF
in BLUES MATTERS magazine

New Album from Bob Long & Keith Miller

Committed British Blues devotees, Long and Miller here present their interpretations of founding fathers Big Bill Broonzy, Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and, in particular, Tommy Johnson – a largely neglected Bluesman who died in 1957. Long, particularly, is a self-confessed helpless case, adopting Mississippi as his spiritual and sometimes physical home, and this self-financed album is essentially a one-take homage to the music of the creators they love so much. Their journey travels through the country blues, jug-bands, vaudeville and inevitably, north to Chicago’s urbanisation and popularisation of the blues. Long and Miller apply great commitment, guitar, dual vocals and harmonica to re-create Tommy Johnson’s forgotten “Big Road Blues”, “I Wonder To Myself” and “Maggie Campbell Blues” – doing their hero proud and bringing his heritage to a new audience. Well-versed renditions of more familiar songs like Broonzy’s “Rocking Chair Blues”, Patton’s “Some Of These Days” and Robert Johnson’s “Me And The Devil Blues” (my favourite) sit comfortably alongside earnest versions of more obscure material. No attempt here to imitate American vocals; this sound is identifiably British from 200 yards away, and is all the better for it – just what you’d hope to hear in your local Blues club (and rarely do).

Peter Innes, Blues Matters, 2008.

Swanage Blues Festival, October 2008 - October 5, 2008

I've just returned from Swanage, Dorset, England after another excellent blues festival.

For me, it was a particular pleasure this time as, in addition to hearing a multitude of blues performances at various venues around the town, I had a duo gig playing with Keith Miller at The Red Lion. Keith is an excellent harmonica player and we always enjoy our occasional get-togethers for a live show. We had a lively and very appreciative audience who joined us in choruses on some old favourites including Stealin', Stealin' and Got my Mojo Working.

For photos of the gig, go to "Photos" on this site and click the link to Flickr

Hambones Festival, Clarksdale, Mississippi - September 21, 2008

I'm pleased to have been invited to perform in this year's Hambones Festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

This is a whole weekend of fun, music and indulgence in my favourite city in The Delta. The Festival is organised by Stan Street, harmonica player, singer, saxophonist, band leader, artist and owner of Hambones Gallery in East Second St.

My spot is in the open air street party on Saturday lunchtime, Nov. 1. Full details at http://www.hambonefestival.com/

Southsea Folk and Roots Festival 2008 - August 28, 2008

The Southsea Folk And Roots Festival was held in Southsea, Hampshire, England over the holiday weekend of 23-25 August 2008. Monday was "blues day", with performances from a wide variety of singers and players throughout the afternoon on South Parade Pier. In the evening there was a grande finale with Mike Sanchez and his band.

There's a photo of me playing slide on my National Radiotone Bendaway guitar here on this site under "photos" ( Click the link to my Flickr site to view). This year, I played solo, doing seven blues favourites. When this photo was taken by ace photographer, Arlene Kennedy, I was playing the RL Burnside classic, Miss Maybelle.

The Voice Of The Blues, Poland - August 23, 2008

Here's a message I just received from Przemek Draheim, Radio Presenter for "Voice Of The Blues" on Polish Radio. Check out his website!

Dear Bob,



It’s here. The parcel with “I Wonder To Myself” has reached me safe and sound, thank you!



I liked your solo stuff a lot but together with Keith Miller it looks like you guys have a certain chemistry going on. You sound sweet together. It is so good to know that it’s 2008 and there are guys that still play those old blues classics, in such a classy way, that is. Your acoustic takes are very strong but those two amplified tracks are my favorites. Hot stuff!



I can’t wait to play the album in my shows. I’ll keep you posted with airplay news.



Thanks again for the music, Bob, I hope all is well on your end.



Best wishes,

Przemek Draheim

phone: +48 609 97 35 29
website: www.blues.pl/draheim

Gloucester Blues Festival 2008 - August 1, 2008

This year's Gloucester Blues Festival included an "open mic" and jam session at The Cross Keys Inn, hosted by Mark Cole of Sons Of The Delta.
This event was great fun and a big success; the pub was crowded with blues lovers and there must have been another twenty folks outside in the lane.

I attended the session with Pete Harris (also from The Deep South of Hampshire) and we were both welcomed warmly by Mark and Rick and given the opportunity of playing a few numbers to a very enthusiastic audience.

At the end, there was a lovely finale-cum-jam with the inpromptu blues band playing The Thrill Is Gone, which included a couple of superb guitar solos from Pete Harris played on a borrowed Goldtop.

Check out the photos on this site....

Blues In The Bury, Odiham Festival 2008 - June 16, 2008

This year's Blues and Booze In The Bury, held on Sat 14 June, was a big success. The event raised a substantial sum for the charity, The Neurofibromatosis Association, provided the crowd with some excellent music and real ales and everyone, young and old, had a good time.

The event started with a Heroes Parade from RAF Odiham which ended in The Bury with a fine performance from the RAF marching band. Then at 12 noon the blues festival started and ran through till 6 pm.

The performers this year were:

Bob Long
Pete Harris & Hugh Budden
Jim Crawford
Ernies Rhythm Section
The Spikedrivers.

All the musicians said they had enjoyed playing at this festival. There was a happy, lively atmosphere all afternoon.

The people and companies who contributed time, effort and money to making Blues & Booze In The Bury 2008 a success are too numerous to list here but special thanks to Wooldridge Demolition and A J Blake, the principal sponsors and to Lee Jones, Sound Engineer, who stepped in at the last minute to save the show when the guy who was booked to do it, let us down.

There are lots of photos of the event on this site under "Photos". Just click the link to Flickr.
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