Tuesday the 18th of October saw Bournemouth born bass player Bob Brunning depart this world after more than forty years as a musician. Bob had two real passions, playing blues and teaching, both brought him considerable enjoyment.
Whilst best known as being a stalwart of the De Luxe Blues Band and The Brunning Sunflower Blues Band, he was also an integral part of Savoy Brown and the original bass player for Fleetwood Mac, whilst John McVie made his mind up as to whether he was going to take the role and subsequently did.
Bob, has had a remarkable career alongside that of teaching. Many a visiting US bluesman has included Brunning in their UK touring band, whilst Brunning himself has run both labels and blues clubs as well as a regular blues festival. In many ways he was one of the unsung greats of UK blues putting in loads of effort in a supporting role, allowing others to take the limelight. Many that know him would describe him as a gentleman of the scene, ensuring that things that should happen did.
Bob Brunning leaves a wife, three children and a number of grandchildren. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
On a happier note Railroad Bill are in the process of celebrating twenty five years as a band. Railroad Bill play raw, fast, gutsy skiffle music on the simplest of instruments - washboard, tea chest bass, guitar and mandolin. With an act that has been honed on the streets and on the stages of the UK and abroad, they have been described as 'Lonnie Donegan on Speed' - and we're not talking dustmen here - the material is rooted in American Blues - songs of Gambling, Trains, Drinking and Prison - A sort of Sea Sick Steve meets the Ramones...
Railroad Bill have played venues of all sizes across Europe, from Street Festivals to Main Stages, and their high energy antics are equally loved by young and old alike. My first encounter with the band was at Cambridge Folk Festival where they taught me the now infamous recipe for Frazzle lasagne the band have also appeared on the Fatea Showcase Sessions with their track "Old Trains"
Also celebrating twenty five years are Scottish label, Greentrax, who are celebrating with the releases of a double album of twenty five tracks, which we'll be reviewing elsewhere on the site.
It really speaks volumes for the label that I was shocked to discover they were only twenty five years old, such is the influence of their label on Scottish music. I'd always assumed that they had been going a lot longer than they have.
One of the things I've always admired about Greentrax is that they are always at the boundaries of what is going on in their traditional music, making sure it thrives as a living tradition and not become a museum piece. A number of Fatea Award winners, including the Paul McKenna Band, Rua MacMillan and Ewan Robertson have all released on Greentrax.
As with Railroad Bill, we raise a glass to twenty five years gone and good times still to come.
Finally we'd like to draw your attention to the Raise Your Banners Festival, one of the best festivals celebrating the art of the political song writing. More details here, in the meantime please enjoy this video from one of Britain's best political singer/songwriters, Robb Johnson, one of the festival headliners.
News & Snippets 8
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