Monday, 26 November 2018

Hot Club de Yorkshire

Hello again compadres. I trust you have all been as hard at it as me. Not that any of Epictetus' activities have involved wargaming as such. Indeed the only remotely exciting thing to happen in the annexe has been that I have solved the long-standing problem of how to get the dehumidifier to work in the low temperatures experienced in this part of the world during the winter. I did this by buying a dehumdifier specifically designed to work in the low temperatures experienced in this part of the world during the winter. As so often, your bloggist can't help thinking that there is some sort of learning point arising, if only one could tease it out.

A chap with a beard

There has been one of those occasional wargaming/real life cross overs when my companion for the evening and I bumped into Peter (and Mrs Peter) at Settle, out in the Dales. We were all at the Victoria Hall, oldest music hall in the world still in use, to see Martin Taylor and Martin Simpson. I have mentioned the latter a number of times (most recently here), but didn't know much about the former beyond his being some sort of jazz guitarist. It transpired that he spent some years in Stephane Grapelli's band in the position once held by Django Reinhardt; so a bit more than just another jazz guitarist then. It was an excellent concert and it was a real pleasure to watch people so absolutely on top of their craft. Simpson has recently lost his father-in-law, the political folk singer Roy Bailey, and sang a couple of emotional songs in tribute including one by Robb Johnson. I knew Robb quite well back in the day (the story of the occasion when I was the cause of him not visiting Palestine hereby officially joins the long list of those for which the world must wait a little longer), a fact which I suppose places me a step closer to various of my musical heroes. Taylor's contribution to the name-dropping involved conversations with Scotty Moore, which with all due respect to Robb, is a bit better than mine.

A lot of name-dropping (and the associated game of how many handshakes one is from the greats) is one of the connections with another gig I went to in the unlikely surroundings of a room above a pub in Ilkley, that by veteran bluesman Kent DuChaine; a man who played with, amongst others, Johnny Shines; who was in turn a man who knew and played with Robert Johnson. Another link was that Duchaine played 'St James Infirmary Blues'  on his National Steel Guitar 'Leadbessie' and Martin Simpson didn't, but usually does (which is sufficient for me). The great Catfish Keith also plays such a guitar and the similarities were often apparent, especially when DuChaine played in a Bukka White stylie (it's something to do with the tuning, but beyond that I can't help you). White was (sort of) the cousin of B.B. King and there was an implausible anecdote about King and a golf cart, along with others about Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. It's implausibility which gives us the last crossover between the two gigs. DuChaine claimed, with a straight face, that his most recent wife (of five?) was an exotic dancer from Settle. All I can say is that if she ever performed in Yorkshire in November then she did it indoors.

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