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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,
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
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.