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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cold Cold Feeling - John Slaughter Blues Band

Chris Barber’s bands have almost always had a guitarist (as opposed to a banjoist) since Alexis Korner was a band member in 1949. In the 1950s American stars such as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Muddy Waters, and Brownie McGhee (of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee) all played guitar with the band, as did Lonnie Donegan, Johnny Duncan, and Dick Bishop in the Skiffle Group. By the early 1960s, however, Chris realised he needed a permanent blues guitarist, and set about finding one. At about the same time a young musician was starting out on his hoped-for career, first playing five-string banjo, as his brother wanted a banjo player in his own traditional jazz band. A year later John Slaughter switched to guitar, and started to learn to play in a friend’s front room. The group’s drummer knew John Mayall (of Bluesbreakers fame) and John was asked to deputise in Mayall’s band one night, when the regular guitarist was ill. John remembers that he was not very well that night, but… Chris telephoned John Mayall shortly afterwards, asking if he knew of any good blues guitarists; John gave Chris John Slaughter’s name. In August 1964, John joined The Chris Barber Band and, except for a break between 1978 and 1986, has been with the band ever since. The CD reissue of Good Morning Blues In the beginning, Chris used John only on certain numbers, but gradually John was absorbed into the band for all numbers, becoming an excellent rhythm guitarist, as well as having solo spots playing the blues. John’s first recording sessions with Chris were for the Good Morning Blues album, with guests such as Ronnie Scott, and another young musician starting out on organ, Brian Auger. John tells one story about an early gig in Switzerland when, on one of his first visits to that country, he was booed when he stated to play! The audience thought Chris should just play traditional jazz, and that blues guitar should not be part of his music! Chris was not going to stand for this, and informed them that the blues was an integral part of his music, and that John was an integral part of his band. During his time with Chris, John has played with guests such as Howling Wolf, Hubert Sumlin, Ray Nance, Alex Bradford, Lonnie Donegan, and Brian May, and very recently Van Morrison and Andy Fairweather Low. John also has his own Blues Band but does not have much, if any, time nowadays to actually get together with his fellow band members. He has made two very good albums, one in 1990-91, and the other in 1994. Both are available on Timeless Records (click on the links below). The band has a regular lineup, including Nick Payne (saxes), who now plays regularly with Bill Wyman, Andy Hamilton (saxes), John Beacham (trombone), Richard Simmons (keyboards; he played with Chris at the Marlborough Jazz Festival in the summer of 2005), Jim Rodford (bass), Steve Dixon (drums), and Paul Cox (vocals). The John Slaughter Blues Band has made radio appearances and has played live gigs at venues such as the 100 Club and on different Festivals. In 1992 the John Slaughter Blues Band made a remarkable apperance at the well-known Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland).  

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