Maryport Blues 2008 – The Sober Summing-Up

Well the first surprise I got, was that my old friend Alun (along with his partner) was able to attend, so along with my hosts Tony and Jacqui we had a fair posse.

The Festival opened on Friday evening with The Evidence, a band formed from various school Headmasters, who had won the competition to open the festival. The bass player (who bore a resemblance to ex-racing driver Tiff Needell) was an interloper and an accountant. Perfectly competent they were too. Next up was Little Jenny and the Blue Beans, a Swedish all-girl combo with a sense of humor that hadn’t traveled well across the North Sea. There is usually one bizarre act and this was it. Little Jenny herself is a great harp player and a good vocalist, the bass player (sporty bean) seemed good fun, while the drummer (scary bean) was, well just scary and the guitarist (baby bean) looked a bit like Jennifer Saunders doing a take-off of a guitarist. Later on, Little Jenny guested with Alvin Youngblood Hart and showed what she can do with a really good band behind her. Alvin and his band were jolly fine and at this point the festival started to really take off. Finally Chuck Berry abruptly arrived and took the tent by storm. Lack of preparation meant his mike didn’t work for the first song, and for a few moments it looked like a riot might occur. He showed a smidgen of his legendary grumpiness by asking for some of the stage lights to be turned off as they were burning his neck, and a bit of his age by forgetting which song he was playing. His Son and Daughter were in the band (too look after their inheritance perhaps?), but Chuck still showed how to please a crowd. I could perhaps have done without a rendition of “My ding-a-ling”, and some of the dancers he invited up on stage for the encore (and to cover his dash to the Merc for a quick exit) but 2,000 people melted into the night happy.

Saturday afternoon was kick-started by Lisa Mills and Ian Jennings, and followed up by the excellent slide guitar and flashing fingers of Jeff Lang and the competent Derrin Nauendorf. Earl Thomas closed the afternoon set with a storming session of blues and showmanship. Between Marquee sessions we left the Rugby Union club where the tent was pitched, and went to the Rugby League club to catch part of the Trail. Pubs and clubs in the town host small bands and you can spend all weekend wandering from one to another catching small acts and local bands. We saw a bunch of young kids on the Eddie Stobart stage (well truck) I think they were called Wait & Blues.

Back to Union for the evening session and (obligatory cooking reference for New Orleans musos coming up) Jon Cleary and his Absolute Monster Gentlemen cooked up a storm. And yes he did have an Absolute Monster of a guitarist. Beth Rowley followed, great voice but needs to work on her stage presence. Her Band were dressed like The Band (a fine role model for any outfit) and they did a good version of “I Will Be Released”. Jimmie Vaughan closed the Saturday night session with a great set and was probably the most bluesy act of the weekend in the Marquee. This year tended to wards the Rhythm-and-Blues end of the spectrum. Leaving the marquee on a clear starry night we watched the ISS sail over.

Sunday afternoon kicked off with the very fine Ian Parker band, who were followed by the legend that is Chris Farlowe (Out Of Time, Glad-rags and Handbags), again showing that the old geezers can still cut it. Ian Siegal wrapped up the afternoon set in his own gravelly-voiced, hard-living manner (think Johnny Cash crossed with Tom Waits). After a break Sherman Robertson opened the evening with a super performance which included some clambering into the crowd (again at least one act does this every year). Then it was time for Jools Holland to shoe-horn his 18-piece band onto the stage (they had taken over an entire hotel in Cockermouth). If there is a wikipedi entry for “showman” then it ought to include Jools Holland as the defining reference. Louise Marshall was good, Ruby Turner was brilliant and Marc Almond was, well Marc Almond. Blues he ain’t and he only appears to know three numbers, but with the Rhythm and Blues Orchestra behind him, and the crowd on his side, the weekend came to a fitting close.

The pictures appear in my previous post, I’ve updated some of the captions and I’ll update some of the photos in the coming days. I had to shoot at quite high ISO settings so some of them need a bit of work.

Anyway, now looking forward to 2009.

~ by @mmonyte on August 3, 2008.

5 Responses to “Maryport Blues 2008 – The Sober Summing-Up”

  1. Two words : Am green oh wait its four… Am green lucky barsteward!

  2. Sober? I am not familiar with that word.

  3. Ilegirl that was such a dangerous statement to make apologies for what may now come your way *grins*

  4. […] share a few photos on the mystery Ilegirl. I have been hesitant out of respect but when I saw this comment of hers I knew within my heart that the time had come to do a bit of […]

  5. […] Don’t We All just love listening to the Blues while the Winds of August play with our hair making knots chewing gum would be proud of… […]

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