Wentus Blues Band & Dick Heckstall-Smith – Man Of Stone (2015)

FrontCover1Dick Heckstall-Smith was much more than “only” the Saxophone Player for one of the best Jazz-Rock bands, we ever had … Colosseum !
He was an extraordinary solo Artist and session Player, too. Here we can hear him with the Wentus Blues Band from Finland !

What can I say about Dick Heckstall-Smith? Brilliant jazz and blues sax player, composer and owner of the largest tea cups in history, and most importantly for me, my friend.

In 1998, I first met Dick Heckstall-Smith, at a recording session for his “Blues And Beyond” album. Soon afterwards I started running his official website, and soon after that, Dick asked me to be his manager. Dick lived to play on stage. He had semi regular gigs with The Hamburg Blues Band, then there were Colosseum tours, a jazz gig here and there, but that still left a lot of time to fill, gig wise.
In 2002, Dick wanted to put a blues based live band together. His ideal line-up would have included Clem Clempson on guitar and Gary Husband on drums. There hadn’t been much movement on this when we were contacted by Robban Hagnas of The Wentus Blues Band. They hailed from Kokkola in Finland. An accomplished blues act, they had found a unique way round the limited touring opportunities in Scandanavia by touring with classic blues artists such as Mick Taylor, centering their sets around each special guest. That way, they could tour several times a year, rather than just once.

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It was agreed that Dick would go out on a Scandanavian tour with them, and and he was as excited by the prospect as I had ever seen him. I remember him dragging me around pretty much every army surplus store in North London one Saturday afternoon in order to find enough cold weather clothing to combat whatever conditions might be faced on the road. I was very aware that my main role with Dick was to maintain a level of hope in the future for him, and this tour constituted the most hopeful he had been for some time.
Once Dick had travelled to Finland for rehearsals and the tour itself, I got daily updates from him by phone. He was particularly impressed by The Wentus Blues Band guitar attack which reminded him of Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac. They had tailored their set to him, with numbers associated with Blues Incorporated, Graham Bond ORGANization and The Bluesbreakers, as well as numbers from Dick’s jazz orientated solo work, such as the song that had become something of a signature for him, “Woza Nasu.” Dick enjoyed the tour immensely, and felt, (as I did when hearing the live recording) that his playing was near his best. I recall one particularly “up” call from Dick. He was staying in an isolated hotel not a million miles from the Arctic Circle, and raved about His ride there, via Reindeer and Sleigh. Dick came back from the tour as invigorated and enthused as I ever saw him in those later years, and I will always thank Robban Hagnas and his band for that.

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A few months later, I got to see Dick in action with the Wentus boys in action at a one off gig in Oxford. Dick drove myself and Pete Brown there, via Canada it seemed. Dick could be directionally challenged now and then. However, we did get there in time for the show, and it was wonderful how the band interacted with a true master of his instrument. This live album is testament to that wonderful interaction. (by Pete Grant; taken from the original liner-notes)
Such a great concert … including one of Dick Heckstall-Smith´s masterpieces … his own composition “Woza Nasu ” … Listen !

Recorded live in Helsinki at Cantina West April, 5th, 2002.

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Personnel:
Mikael Axelqvist (drums)
Robert Hagnäs (bass)
Nike Riippa (guitar)
Anders Sjöberg (vocals)
Kim Vikamn (guitar)
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Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
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Tracklist:
01. Key To Love (Mayall) 3.46
02. Missing You (Everton/Edward) 3.53
03. You Got Me (Where You Want Me) (Robey) 5.23
04. Suspicions – Part 2 (Mayall) 6.34
05. Woza Nasu (Heckstall-Smith) 17.04
06. Man Of Stone (Kirkland) 8.16
07. Have You Heard (Mayall) 8.41
08. Pretty Things (McDaniels) 3.06
09. Before You Accuse Me (McDaniels) 5.02
10. Looking Back (Watson) 4.25
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Various Artists – From Clarksdale To Heaven – Remembering John Lee Hooker (2002)

FrontCover1For the first of two tribute albums to John Lee Hooker, executive producer Arnie Goodman of Blue Storm Music has assembled an impressive list of British musicians from the 1960s who helped spark the ’60s blues revival that was responsible for the ascension of Hooker (among others) into legendary status. The biggest name on his own is Jeff Beck, who plays guitar on “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Hobo Blues,” but other notable figures include Cream’s Jack Bruce, Leo Lyons and Ric Lee from Ten Years After, Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker, ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, former Fleetwood Mac leader Peter Green, and Gary Moore. The performers are reverent toward Hooker’s music, maintaining its relentless rhythmic power and even at times re-creating the master’s haunting mumble of a voice. The set is not entirely given over to the Brits, however, as it opens with Inlet1A“I Want to Hug You,” sung by Hooker’s daughter, Zakiya, and ends with Hooker himself, accompanied by Booker T. Jones and Randy California, among others, performing a previously unreleased “Red House” that was cut for a Jimi Hendrix tribute album. There is also a newly written song (“The Business”) penned by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter and Bay Area musician Greg Anton that was earmarked for a Hooker project never recorded due to his death. Such tracks provide some variety, but the strength of the album is still in the devoted performances of people like Beck and Green. (by William Ruhlmann )

From a child of his body and the children of his music, this is a chance to pay respects to the man who made his guitar a blacksmith’s anvil and pounded out rhythms of sorrow. Look for Jack Bruce’s Ozzy Osbourne-like sneer on “I’m in the Mood,” along with Gary Moore’s Godzilla footsteps on guitar. That’s Jeff Beck playing robot-metallic notes on “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Hobo Blues,” and Peter Green’s vocal sounds like a decaying zombie obeying his master on “Crawling King Snake.” John Lee himself paints a “Red House” with something other than crimson pigment, and I’ve got to credit Robert Hunter’s composition, “The Business,” by Greggs Eggs vocalist Suzanne Sterling for giving the old man that special smile with a posthumous kiss. (by Mitchell Lopate)

Inlet2A

Personnel:
Jeff Allen (drums)
Michael Bailey (bass, background vocals)
Richard Bailey (drums)
Jeff Beck (guitar)
Gary Brooker (piano, vocals)
Jack Bruce (bass, vocals)
Randy California (guitar)
Dave “Clem” Clempson (guitar)
Vince Converse (guitar, vocals)
Tony Cook (guitar)
David Daniel (bass)
Bruce Gary (drums)
Earl Green (vocals)
Peter Green (guitar, harmonica)
Kenny Greene (drums)
Dave Hadley (bass)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
John Lee Hooker (guitar, vocals)
Zakiya Hooker (vocals)
Gary Husband (drums)
Johnnie Johnson (piano)
Booker T. Jones (organ)
Ric Lee (drums)
Andy Fairweather Low (guitar)
Leo Lyons (bass)
Godfrey McLean (drums)
T.S. McPhee (guitar, vocals)
Max Middleton (piano)
Dave Moore (piano)
Gary Moore (guitar)
Bobby Murray (guitar)
Matt Pegg (bass)
Henry Spinetti (drums)
Peter Stroud (bass)
Mick Taylor (guitar, vocals)
Nigel Watson (guitar)
Chris Wilson (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Zakiya Hooker, Johnnie Johnson, Bobby Murray: I Want To Hug You (Hooker) 4.04
02. Jack Bruce + Gary Moore: I’m In The Mood (Besman/Hooker) 6.19
03. LLC-Vince Converse, Leo Lyons, Ric Lee: Bad Like Jesse James (Hooker) 7.07
04. Jeff Beck: Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Traditional) 6.08
05. Gary Brooker + Andy Fairweather-Low: Baby Lee (Bracken/Hooker) 4.48
06. T.S. McPhee, Dick Heckstall-Smith: Ground Hog Blues (Hooker) 5.44
07. Mick Taylor + Max Middleton: This Is Hip () 3.50
08. Peter Green Splinter Group: Crawlin’ King Snake () 5.41
09. T.S. McPhee, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Clem Clempson: I’m Leaving () 5.25
10. Gary Brooker + Andy Fairweather-Low: Little Wheel () 5.34
11. Greggs Eggs: The Business () 4.36
12. Jeff Beck: Hobo Blues () 5.52
13. Gary Moore + Jack Bruce: Serve Me Right To Suffer () 6.24
14. John Lee Hooker, Booker T, Randy California: Red House (Hendrix) 4.57
(Prevously unreleased song with J.L. Hooker)

 

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Jack Bruce – Home Recordings (1962)

FrontCover1Jack Bruce, best known as one-third of Cream, died on October 25, 2014 of liver disease at his home in Suffolk. He was 71. In a statement issued by his family on Saturday, his family said: “It is with great sadness that we, Jack’s family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father, granddad, and all round legend. The world of music will be a poorer place without him but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts.”

Bruce played bass, sang and was the principal songwriter in Cream. The group sold 35 million albums in just over two years and were given the first ever platinum disc for Wheels of Fire Bruce wrote and sang most of the songs, including “I Feel Free” and “Sunshine Of Your Love”. But even leaving aside that group, in which he played with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, his CV reads like a comprehensive guide to the British blues boom, with spells in Alexis Korner’s Blues Inc, the Graham Bond Organisation, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Manfred Mann. Bruce’s life had been marked by health and financial troubles. In the late 1970s he struggled with drug addiction, and worked as a session musician to make money. In 2003 he was diagnosed with liver cancer, and that September he underwent a transplant. His body initially rejected the new liver, and Bruce almost died, but he recovered well enough to return to performance in 2004. (by The Guardian and BBC)

Here is probably the rarest Jack Bruce recording. All thanks goes to Hopboy for sharing this a few years ago! It’s pretty amazing this even still exists, as it even pre-dates the Graham Bond era. If you enjoy this, I also highly recommend the Bruce/Baker/Heckstall-Smith home recordings from the same era. These rehearsals have seldom been heard by anyone other than a small group of diehard Jack Bruce collectors. Taken from Hopboy’s Jack Bruce collection.

The Tube was later played by Jack, Ginger, and Dick at Jacks “50th birthday concert” at the E-Werk in Cologne Germany on November 2 or 3, 1993.  (by amellowsoul)

Thanks to Hopboy; and to amellowsoul (Tom Shyman) for sharing the tracks at Dime.

Jack’s home studio in London, UK; circa 1962 (exact dates unknown). Very good audio, a bit of hiss.

JackBruceGrahamBondJack Bruce with Graham Bond (early sixties)

Personnel:
Jack Bruce (bass – double bass solos and practice tracks on 01. – 08.)
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Ginger Baker (drums on 09. – 14.)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone on 00. – 14.)

Tracklist:
01. Sonnymoon For Two 6.34
02. Body And Soul 2.40
03. Unknown Composition 1 / 1.05
04. Unknown Composition 2 / 2.00
05. Unknown Composition 3 / 0.10
06. Unknown Composition 4 / 1.39
07. Unknown Composition 5  / 0.54
08. Unknown Composition 6 / 1.16
09. Sonnymoon For Two (Take One) 8.04
10. Jordu 11.13
11. Sonnymoon For Two (Take Two) 8.08
12. The Tube 8.23
13. Unknown Composition 7 (Part A) 12.27
14. Unknown Composition 7 (Part B) 11.06

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JackBruce1972Jack Bruce (1972)

Dick Heckstall-Smith – BBC In Concert (1973)

FrontCover1Dick Heckstall-Smith should need no introduction: one of Britain’s finest exponents of jazz / blues saxophone, my main exposure to his work was through 60s John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and 70s Colosseum, though he was prolific from his days with Alexis Korner and Graham Bond, and was active well into the 90s. Sadly, on December 17th 2004.

After Colosseum broke up, Dick started working on his first solo album, along with using some unreleased material he had. All his mates from Colosseum appeared there, and Jon Hiseman produced the album.

Rumour has it about Dick asking John Bonham (drummer in Led Zeppelin) to form a joint band.

After that, Dick formed his own band in 1973 to promote the album A story ended:

A magnificent band. Theodore Thunder was 18 at that time!

There is some concert recorded by the BBC and there you can notice the superb musicianship in the band.

They toured Europe, and then travelled to the States for another tour supporting Fleetwood Mac and Deep Purple, and changing their name to Manchild.

They started recording a new album, but Dick´s health problems sadly prevented the album was finished.

And then …

Dick retired from playing sax for at least 3 years, until his health improved enough for playing and touring again. Meanwhile, he took a PhD in Sociology.
This is the rare BBC In Concert album … and it was recorded live on 11th January 1973 at the Paris Theatre, London. This show was published together with Nazareth live recordings (coming soon).

Cue SheetPersonnel:
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
James Litherland (guitar, vocals)
Dave Ross (keyboards, vocals)
Bill Smith (vocals)
Theordore Thunder (drums)

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Dick Heckstall-Smith, live 1973 in Hamburg/Germany

Tracklist:
01. Introduction 0.20
02. Moses In The Bullrush Houses (Heckstall-Smith/Brown) 7.48
03. Talk 0.46
04. Pirates Dream (Clempson/Heckstall-Smith/Hiseman) 10.23
05. Talk 0.12
06. No Amont Of Loving (Butterfield) 9.31

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James Litherland, live 1973 in Hamburg/Germany

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Dick Heckstall-Smith, John Etheridge, Rainer Glas, Joe Nay – Live 1990 (1990)

Heckstall-SmithLive1990FCSaxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith had a major role in the British blues boom of the 1960s, playing in the bands of Alexis Korner, Graham Bond, and John Mayall. In all of his work, and particularly in the late-’60s band Colosseum, he ventured into the little-explored territory where blues, jazz, and rock meet.

In addition to doing session work, he’s released some solo recordings.

In the late 80´s he began to work with jazz-guitarplayer John Etheridge:

“Other noteworthy albums during the course of the 1990´s are Dick´s work with The John Etheride Group on Obesession Fees, an eight-track album resulting in a tour of Germany” (Stephanie Lynne Thorburn  in her biography of Dick Heckstall-Smith)
This is their second album, recorded live in Erlangen/Germany and is a real fine example of Dick Heckstall-Smith and his very own, very special style of playing jazz-rock.

Heckstall-SmithLive1990Personnel:
John Etheridge (guitar)
Rainer Glass (bass)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
Joe Nay (drums)

Heckstall-SmithLive1990BC
Tracklist:
01. Venerable Bede (Etheridge)8.58
02. Woza Nasu (Heckstall-Smith) 18.41
03. Moongoose (Heckstall-Smith) 13.42
04. Baiere (Etheridge) 9.24

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