Ben's mum's blog
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Past midnight again! It's great that Marty in Oz is also insomniac - so good to hear that Cousin Leonard is still rockin'! (thanks Marty)
"Cousin Leonard" is Marty's band who Ben met on tour in Oz and they came to stay with us in sleepy old Dorset - they soon woke us up! Hope you guys are all still well and happy. We're still as mad as ever.
Ben and his band played on a rock 'n roll boat trip in Poole Harbour on Thursday. It was blowin' a hoolie and precipitating down. Brought out the pioneer spirit though. Fish 'n chips were great and we didn't have to rock 'n roll too much 'cos the boat did it for us. Some of the Memphis 35 came along and strutted their stuff. John was there telling his jokes (should get a day job). Example: " Pete the serial flasher decided to retire but on reflection he decided to stick it out for another year." We're doing it all again next Thursday. (Note to self: wear wellies)
Ben and the band are playing at Ealing Festival next week. Last time Tom, my 11 year old sax-playing grandson, completely stole the show and at the end did the complete Springsteen bit, shaking hands with all the crumpet on the front row. And to think I told Ben never to work with kids and animals ........
There's a gig coming up on 22 November at a new venue - Under the Bridge - at Chelsea Football Club. It's in aid of the AMBER trust (q.v.) The band will be joined by DEREK PARAVICINI (also q.v.) He is a 26 year old ESN who is totally blind and a musical genius to boot. Check him out because he's phenomenal. Can't wait to meet him.
I'm helping to arrange a solo tour in Nov/Dec and one of the venues is Dorchester Museum. Keep your fingers crossed that they don't kidnap me for an exhibit.
Well, I'll give your earholes a rest now and decamp for the dwelling across the morasse that was once a garden, again avoiding the badgers (they just had bread, bananas, biscuits and a few peanuts tonight). Got to admit I pinched a few of their peanuts.
Night, night, slleep tight
Ben's mum's blog
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Well, here I am, past midnight and old enough to know better! Still a bit lagged after three fabulous weeks in the States. Travelling with the MEMPHIS 35 was a life changing experience and restored my faith in human nature. Each one of the travellers was fun to be with and showed a real zest for life - I guess we all love the same kind of music and so a very special bond was formed.
Little things keep coming to mind - the way we all crowded on to the old trams in Memphis and laughed with all the locals until we got to Beale Street and really let our hair down to some of the best rocking music in the world; the kindness of people like Diane, our tour guide, with her wonderful Southern accent, who showed us all the places Elvis lived and told us, with true emotion, of his early struggles and the kindness he showed to his family, friends, and everyone who needed help. When we left for New Orleans she presented us with a huge bag of Elvis's favourite chocolates, which we saved for our last day of the tour when we really lived it up at the House of Blues.
New Orleans was a different kettle of fish and on our first night we all trouped down Bourbon Street and suffered a real episode of culture shock! More bare bodies hanging out of windows than music! However, we managed to find a good Cajun type band in a bar but they wouldn't let my 20-year old cousin Jim in because their drink laws prohibit anyone under 21. He doesn't drink anyway and would have been a darn sight saver in there than out on that wild old street. We loved every minute of the rest of our stay there though and on our last night we were all privileged to meet up at our party at the House of Blues with Ben's old friend and very talented performer, Spencer Bohren, who lives in New Orleans and plays amazing Delta Blues.
Ben and I really didn't want to leave our friends but he had to go to New York for the launch of the ABC&D's new album - The ABC&D of Boogie Woogie Live in Paris. He hired a big Lincoln and drove to the Big Apple via the Blue Ridge Mountains. We had a great trip. Ben had planned to fly to Toronto to get his work permit and second passport validated but he was told that it was in order for him to play at The Lincoln Center on the 28th, only to be told that he couldn't appear on the Jimmy Fallon show the next day because the validation was incomplete, so he had to go to Toronto anyway - thereby missing not only the Fallon show but the first night at Les Paul's Iridium Club on Broadway. However, he felt incredibly lucky in that the amazing Bob Seeley was able to deputise for him. At the age of 83 Bob is one of the liveliest and most talented performers I've ever seen. He and his lovely wife, Shirley, are terrific - he's scheduled to play at the Dorset Boogie Woogie Festival next year and I can't wait to see them again. Ben played the remainder of the three shows at The Iridium (two shows a night) and the atmosphere was electric.
The ABC&D were joined by one of my favourite ladies in the world - Lila Ammons - who is the grand-daughter of Albert Ammons, who penned Ben's favourite piece, Suitcase Blues. She came along with her partner, Howard, who has a great sense of humour and is really good company. She sang beautifully each night and really let her hair down when she sang "Spinach"!
As I guess you know if you're reading this blog, the ABC&D are Axel Zwingenberger, Ben Waters, Charlie Watts and Dave Green. They have been touring for three years now and have had a great time. One of their favourite gigs was at Le Duc des Lombards in Paris and this was recorded live - hence the new album. They will be having a bit of a sabbatical now as Charlie is in this other band ..... Talking of which, Keith Richards came to the gig on the last night and although he came in the back way and tried to hide away, he was sussed out by the audience straight away!
I've not got round to entering all the new gigs on the website yet - a lot is happening and I promise I'll get round to it as soon as I can compare diaries with Ben!
This is the first time I've used the blog facility, so I hope I've not bored you rigid with my midnight ramblings. I'm off to bed now (just gone 1am) and I'll have to be careful not to tread on any badgers (I give them supper each night) on my way back from my office (a shed) in the garden.
Thanx for listening