Dana Gillespie & Joachim Palden – Boogie Woogie Nights (1991)

FrontCover1“I believe the blues should be sung by an older person because it’s about emotions and experience. I couldn’t do”I believe the blues should be sung by an older person because it’s about emotions and experience. I couldn’t dojustice to it when I was younger because my voice didn’t have the edge it needed to convey the emotion, nor did Ihave the first hand experience to sing about blue themes convincingly.”

But after 45 years in music and over 60 albums Dana Gillespie is well qualified to sing the blues. A career that combined radio, theatre, film and sport (she was once British junior water-skiing champion) with music, Dana has been in the public eye since recording her first album at the age of 15. Her music has evolved from folk in the 60s through 70s Bowie-esque glam-rock to the raunchy in-your-face blues she performs today.

Dana Gillespie has been dedicated to the blues from an early age: “I discovered the blues when I went to the American Folk Blues Festival in 1962 and also to see the Yardbirds at the Marquee Club. I was in my early teens and hadn’t heard anything like it before – blues wasn’t easily available in the UK back then”. Bessie Smith especially inspired her because of her combination of sly, funny and bawdy lyrics. “Blues was my first musical love because it’s earthy, spiritual and honest.”


In 1964 she recorded for Pye, with Donovan on guitar and became a regular on the folk circuit. She recalls: “[at that age] I was doing folk because I couldn’t afford a band and I hadn’t found my musical niche”.In those early years Dana got to know many of the top bands and people in the music business. Most shared her love of blues, and played their own version of it. Bob Dylan who was an old friend of Dana from the 60s  showed interest in her music in 1997, when he invited her to support him on his UK tour, which included a   sell-out show at Wembley. After a swathe of singles on Pye and two LPs for Decca, she moved to RCA and   made WEREN’T BORN A MAN in 1973, some titles being produced by David Bowie, whose management,   Mainman, also took care of her career.


While her career in music was simmering away, she became better known for her appearances in London’s   West End theatres, in shows such as the first run of Jesus Christ Superstar (playing Mary Magdalene), The   Who’s “Tommy” (playing the Acid Queen) and the rock Othello, “Catch My Soul”. She also appeared with   Dudley Moore in the film version of “The Hound Of The Baskervilles” and starred in Ken Russell’s “Mahler”   among other movies. Her second RCA LP, AIN’T GONNA PLAY NO SECOND FIDDLE was just beginning to take off when her management company decided she should move to the USA, where she played and toured extensively for two years. Dana hosted a radio blues show in New York at the same time, which gave her the opportunity to learn more about the roots of the music.


She has continued her interest in radio in Austria where she recently completed a 11-year stint hosting a weekly, international world music show on Blue Danube Radio called”Globe Trotting With Gillespie”. In the 80s, Dana toured Europe several times with the “Stars Of Boogie Woogie” tour,  singing either with the Mojo Blues Band or with Axel Zwingenberger. Her time with the  Mojo Blues Band, a purist outfit that backed all the American blues musicians visiting  Europe, lasted three years. “I lived, slept and breathed blues, because that was all they did.  It was a great experience.” She also developed her interest in Indian and Arabic music,  recording the single “Move Your Body Close To Me”, an Indian-influenced song with  synthesiser backing. It shot to #1 in Europe. (from the DG website)

But here you can hear Dana Gillespie as one of the finest female blues singers (like Maggie Bell) together with the Austrian musician Joachim Palden and his group Mojo Blues Band.


This is a live recording … the show was recorded at the legendary Jazz-Land Club (December 1990) in Vienna.

If you like Blues & Boogie Woogie … then you should listen …


Dana Gillespie (vocals)
Helmut Mejda (drums)
Joachim Palden (piano)
Christian Plattner (saxophone)
Martin Wichtl (saxophone)


01. My Man Stands Out (Yates) 3.43
02. Boogie Woogie For Spann (Instrumental) (Palden) 4.19
03. St. Louis Blues (Handy) 7.27
04. Blues Train (Instrumental) (Wichtl) 3.56
05. One Track Mind (Gillespie/Palden) 3.23
06. Empty Bed Blues (Smith) 6.21
07. I Want You To Be My Baby (Jordan) 3.59
08. Cry To Me (Russel) 5.17
09. No One (Gillespie/Palden) 5.43
10. You’re Moving Me (Benton/Otis) 3.11


Dana Gillespie – Methods Of Release (1993)

frontcover1Dana Gillespie (born Richenda Antoinette de Winterstein Gillespie, 30 March 1949) is an English actress, singer and songwriter.[3] Originally performing and recording in her teens, over the years Gillespie has been involved in the recording of over 45 albums, and appeared in stage productions (Jesus Christ Superstar) and several films. Her musical output has progressed from teen pop and folk in the early part of her career, to rock in the 1970s and, more latterly, the blues.

Gillespie was born in Woking, Surrey. She was the British Junior Water Skiing Champion for four years, in 1962.

She recorded initially in the folk genre in the mid-1960s. Some of her recordings as a teenager fell into the teen pop category, such as her 1965 single “Thank You Boy”, written by John Carter and Ken Lewis and produced by Jimmy Page. Her acting career got under way shortly afterwards, and it overshadowed her musical career in the late 1960s and 1970s. After performing backing vocals on the track “It Ain’t Easy” from David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, she recorded an album produced by Bowie and Mick Ronson in 1973, Weren’t Born a Man. Subsequent recordings have been in the blues genre, appearing with the London Blues Band. She is also notable for being the original Mary Magdalene in the first London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar, which opened at the Palace Theatre in 1972. She also appeared on the Original London Cast album. During the 1980s Gillespie was a member of the Austrian Mojo Blues Band.

She is a follower of the Indian spiritual guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba. She performed at his Indian ashram on various occasions, and has also recorded thirteen bhajan-based albums in Sanskrit.

Gillespie is the organiser of the annual Blues festival at Basil’s Bar on Mustique in the Caribbean, for fifteen days at the end of January and it is now in its eighteenth year.[1] The house band is the London Blues Band, which consists of Dino Baptiste (piano), Jake Zaitz (guitar), Mike Paice (saxophone), Jeff Walker (bass), and Evan Jenkins (drums) but there are also many other acts. In 2005, Mick Jagger appeared as a guest and sang songs such as: “Honky Tonk Women”, “Dust My Broom” and “Goin’ Down” but also many other Blues artists have appeared there through the years, such as Big Joe Louis, Joe Louis Walker, Billy Branch, Shemekia Copeland, Ronnie Wood, Donald Fagen, Rolf Harris, Ian Siegal, Larry Garner, Eugene Bridges, Big Jay McNeeley, Earl Green, and Zach Prather. (by wikipedia)

And here is the other side of Dana Gillespie … not a blues, but a rock album … And maybe all the blues fans of her may be disappointed … but … it´s time to give this album a chance, because it´s a real good and intensive album !


Mel Collins (saxophone)
Tim Cross (keyboards)
Pandit Dinesh (percussion)
Gordon Gaynor (guitar)
Mel Gaynor (drums)
Dana Gillespie (vocals)
Rolf Harris (digeridoo)
Charlie Hart (fiddle)
Nick Hoghart (keyboards, strings, drums)
David Malin (drums)
Guy Pratt (bass)
Tim Renwick (guitar)
Bill Sharpe (piano)
background vocals:
Rolf Harris – Durga McBroom – Laura Pallas – Andy Kaine – David Malin


01. The Politics Of Ecstasy (Malin) 4.25
02. Overseas Male (Gillespie) 3.28
03. Oh What A Night (Gillespie) 3.31
04. Your Love Is In Me (Gillespie) 4.37
05. Method Of Release (Gillespie/Malin) 4.09
06. Love Is A Strange Thing (Gillespie) 3.51
07. Sun Arise (Harris) 4.00
08. Let’s Get Wet (Gillespie/Abu) 3.36
09. Divine Romance (Gillespie) 3.37
10. Still Around (Gillespie/Malin) 3.55
11. Circle Is Complete (Malin) 4.54




Dana Gillespie – Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle (1974)

FrontCover1Dana Gillespie is a prolific artist who deserves more from the recording industry, and Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle is a superb effort from the songstress. Included in the gatefold of the album with the lyrics to her originals are the places and dates for where and when the songs were written. The elegant and passionate “Really Love the Man” was written March 31, 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal. The song is blues in a rock setting, but it is really hard to put a handle on it, Gillespie’s vocals smooth as silk, the musicianship equally mellow, and the performance stretching the genres with playful precision. Where David Bowie stepped in on the previous album, Weren’t Born a Man, Roxy Music’s John Porter takes control here, co-producing with Dana Gillespie and playing guitar on every track. “Hold Me Gently” reminds one of Genya Ravan’s They Love Me, They Love Me Not album from around the same time period; the blues edge starts turning into a Delaney & Bonnie-style Southern rock/gospel number. There may be comparisons to Kathi MacDonald and Maggie Bell, but Gillespie puts her own stamp on things, being more of a singer/songwriter than the aforementioned interpreters. “Don’t Mind Me” with Big Country’s Simon Phillips on drums brings things back to the Bowie world that is the forte Adof her former management company, Mainman. Dana Gillespie wrote this in Klosters, Switzerland, April 28th, 1970; her performance on 12-string and synthesizer make it a Roxy Music-gone-jazz piece, and it is really exquisite. “No Tail to Wag” is another clever blues composition which the singer wrote in London, July 1, 1973. It has some of the fun from the previous album, and comes from that time period, creeping along with a sultry sax. “Ain’t It a Drag, I Got No Tail to Wag” might be the highlight of this disc. “Pack Your Bags” is a product of the West Indies, written December 7th, 1973; it combines funk and a full chorus. Throughout it all, Gillespie is in great voice and is a dominating presence. Jon Hall, author of Janis Joplin’s classic “Half Moon,” along with his other half, Johanna Hall, provide “Wanderlust.” This title sounds like Sheryl Crow with Lou Reed’s Sally Can’t Dance band backing her up. Gillespie’s choice of music is excellent, as are her originals, and from Spain to London, Portugal, the West Indies, and Switzerland, she flavors this album with impressions from her travels. The title track would be great for Etta James, and a duet with Etta and Gillespie on the sexy “Get My Rocks Off” would be a real treat. (by Joe Viglione)


Roger Ball (horns)
Rabbit Bundrick (keyboards)
Phillip Chen (bass)
Frank Collins (background vocals)
Mel Collins (saxophone)
Molly Duncan (horns)
Micky Gallagher (piano, background vocals)
Dana Gillespie (vocals, guitar, synthesizer)
Bryn Hayworth (guitar, slide-guitar)
Eddie Jobson (violin, synthesizer)
Jody Linscott (percussion)
Paddie McHugh (background vocals)
Simon Phillips (drums)
John Porter (guitar)
Dave Skinner (piano)
Robin Sylvester (bass)
John Turnbull (guitar, background vocals)
Bob Weston (guitar)


01. Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle (Bradford) 4.39
02. Really Love The Man (Gillespie) 4.32
03. Hold Me Gently (Gillespie) 3.16
04. Don’t Mind Me (Gillespie) 6.05
05. Pack Your Bags (Gillespie) 3.45
06. No Tail To Wag (Gillespie) 4.48
07. Get My Rocks Off (Silverstein) 4.26
08. Wanderlust (Hall) 4.09
09. Getting Through To Me (Gillespie) 4.00
10. Never Knew (Gillespie) 5.18



Dana Gillespie – Weren’t Born A Man (1973)

FrontCover1Dana Gillespie produced this excellent album along with Robin Cable, the engineer who failed to properly produce Boston band Private Lightning. If only he had procured some of the direct sounds evident on Weren’t Born a Man. David Bowie and Mick Ronson produced the Gillespie original, “Mother Don’t Be Frightened,” along with a version of Bowie’s “Andy Warhol.” The inclusion of Rick Wakeman, Rolling Stones sax player Bobby Keyes, and Elton John percussionist Ray Cooper adds to the festivities, but it is Gillespie who shines through as a genuine artist. “All Cut Up on You” is a song to covet; Gillespie’s definitive vocal and lyrics get right to the point. She changes hats with “Eternal Showman,” where she’s as tender as Mare Winningham, emotive as Grace Slick. The album shifts moods, and the musicians seem to enjoy the transitions. Where Lou Reed’s Berlin album was a dense nightmare, Gillespie showcases her artistry in a more subtle and musical way. “All Gone” could have been the inspiration for Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years.” With DanaGillespielines like “Can’t drink the same holy water,” it concludes the album on a pretty but down note, just as it started with the Marianne Faithfull-styled “Stardom Road Parts I & II.” That seven-minute track could have been written about all the artists signed to Mainman, the company that managed Gillespie. As Lulu sang on her minor hit “I Could Never Miss You,” Gillespie comes right to the point that she’s “Backed a Loser.” This album is more about despair than optimism, though she keeps her head above water while the aforementioned Berlin dragged everything down in its undertow. Majestic in her despair, it is the title track, with its sexual ambiguity, that is the most poignant. It seems to be a love song to a woman who wants her, and who is everything Gillespie wishes her men could be. “I lost my teddy bear/He just vanished in the fog/You love like a lady/You walk like a sailor/It’s so sad/You weren’t born a man.” It’s so sad that this excellent album didn’t make bigger waves.(by Joe Viglione)

John “Rabbit” Bundrick (keyboards)
Ray Cooper (percussion)
Terry Cox (drums)
Barry DeSouza (drums)
Pat Donaldson (bass)
Dana Gillespie (vocals, guitar, synthesizer)
Ray Glynn (guitar)
Rosetta Hightower (background vocals)
Paul Keogh (guitar)
Bobby Keys (saxophone)
Ronnie Leahy (keyboards)
Mike Moran (keyboards)
Brian Odgers (bass)
Chris Ray (guitar)
Frank Ricotti (percussion)
Jim Ryan (guitar)
Liza Strike (background vocals)
Rick Wakeman (keyboards)
Joanne Williams (background vocals)
Dave Wintour (bass)

01. Stardom Road, Pt. 1 & 2 (Stamp/Avery) 7.19
02. What Memories We Make (Gillespie) 5.13
03. Dizzy Heights (Gillespie) 3.38
04. Andy Warhol (Bowie) 3.05
05. Backed A Loser (Gillespie) 4.52
06. Weren’t Born A Man (Gillespie/Liber) 4.08
07. Mother, Don’t Be Frightened (Gillespie) 4.17
08. All Cut Up On You (Gillespie) 4.00
09. Eternal Showman (Gillespie) 3.27
10. All Gone (Gillespie) 5.03