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Dave Pebody
The Turks Head , 28th Sept 2006
Review by David Atkinson

Braving the hideous weather, I hopped a train to Twickenham to experience Brook's Blues Bar at the Turk's Head for their regular Thursday night. It's actually held in the Winchester Hall next to the pub, a bright-sounding room with clusters of candle-lit tables. It was a fine change from the drizzle and another great setup by Ann & Tony, the organisers.

I arrived in time for the sound check and was privy to a discussion regarding Big Bill Broonzy's right-hand guitar technique and a demonstration by Duck Baker. So that's how he did it! Duck actually played a short set prior to Dave Peabody with the same skill and easy charm I witnessed a fortnight ago at the Inn On The Green (read our review of that gig here and our interview with Duck here). His versions of Whistling Rufus and Round Midnight were humorous and sublime respectively.
My ex-girlfriend's dad had a vinyl copy of Keep it Clean by Dave Peabody, recorded back in 1974 - five years before I was born. I listened to in a lot and studied the cover intently, depicting as it does a beguiling original National Style O guitar with 'chicken-foot' cover plate. It's reassuring to know that Dave has been playing and recording longer than I've been alive - he's met, played and recorded with heaps of people, from the old and famous or near forgotten to today's contemporary artists like Steve James, Mary Flower and Michael Messer.
Switching between his Steel-bodied National Duolian and regular acoustic, Dave Peabody treated the crowd to a fine selection of songs respectfully and enthusiastically played. He's a tireless researcher of blues history so these weren't just renditions of familiar and lesser known tunes. Each song was introduced with a tale about its origins or Dave's relationship with it or it's progenitor. This wasn't a history lesson though and much fun was poked at the hyperbole of blues, bluesmen and the business in general. We got tunes by Johnny Shines, Furry Lewis, Oscar Woods and Blind Willie McTell, all thoroughly engaging.
Dave was joined by Duck Baker for the last few numbers. While they'd know each other a long time this was apparently the first time they'd performed together - a Brook's first, so to speak. Pitching way back to Jelly Roll Morton's Winding (or Winin') Boy Blues, the crowd was reminded that when it came to blowing one's own trumpet no one quite did it like old Ferdinand, or as filthily. No acceptable euphemisms here; I blushed and concentrated on the guitar playing...
After and evening free from posturing or artifice, I snuck out to catch my train as they tore into Bottle Up And Go, safe in the knowledge that the old stuff is still played right. The lineage is long and these guys are truely part of it.