"Blues and trouble walk right in, hand in hand", states an old saying. Well it can happen that way, but for the great majority of young players it has been pretty good. There is a Blues boom and it means a good time for the majority of British Bluesmen.
But what about the music? Blues are a simple form of music and a tough one, as years of hard wear have shown. You can shake it, you can break it, but they come up again, time after time. Even though some people tend to complain at the 'devaluation' which popularity is said to have brought, it must be remembered that the Blues started as popular music. Travelling newspapers, singers, entertainers, dance bands, historical balladeers — Bluesmen were expected to be all these things. If you do all this properly you are likely to be popular. So the complaint is not based on the quality, it is based on quantity.
This is not the first time that Blues records have sold in quantity. Back in the 20's Bessie Smith, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lonnie Johnson and others, sold hundreds of thousands of records. They were expected to; no one complained that they were "commercial". And that is odd, since it is mainly from the ranks of the present day Jefferson fans, that most of these complaints originate.
What about this record, though? Dave Travis — now, there's a familiar name — and Gerry Lockran, who has been a popular Blues artist for some time, together with Redd Sullivan, share the vocals. There is also a fine piano track by Alan Thomas. Terry Hatton, on guitar, Terry Nicholson, on bass guitar and Lloyd Courtenay, on drums add their support to a Blues sound which ranges wider than most bands tend to do. It is good to hear this range of music coming from Britain. It is a good sound!
MARTIN WINSOR is a real life character, he has been a street-trader, a burglar, a chef, a layabout, a book seller, a fair ground barker — to name but a few of his many endeavours to keep the wolf from the bedroom. The one thing he has always done is to sing.
Since he caught the folk bug, in the early 1950s, he has been spreading the good word in clubs and pubs, cabarets, schools, old folks' homes, and even between sessions in a bingo hall. Although born in Liverpool, Martin has made home in London and is acknowledged as an authority on London Folklore and dialect, and is often asked to lecture on this theme. He has always been grouped with the "entertainers" rather than the folk-singers and this is perhaps because he thinks an audience should enjoy their evening at a club. His choice of material ranges from Scottish, Irish and English traditional songs to up-to-the minute parodies of current pop songs, and his performance may include a blues, spiritual, a Music-Hall ballad, a shanty or even comic monologue. In fact anything that takes his fancy becomes part of his repertoire.
He known for his fine performances at clubs and concerts all over the country and is no stranger to radio and television.
REDD SULLIVAN has been singing in folk-clubs since 1953, when he appeared in one of the first London Folk-song clubs in Gerrard Street. Since then he has appeared at the Poles Apart Folk Club in Auckland, New Zealand, the Newport Folk Festival (1967), at a concert for the inmates of Wormwood Scrubs college of Further Education, one of the largest Borstal Institutions in London and was also a street busker for five years.
Redd has sung the background for a cartoon on navigation lights for amateur yachtsmen on B.B.C. T.V., has appeared at the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Liverpool Philharmonic and sung on Southern T.V., Tyne-Tees T.V. and B.B.C. 2 T.V. for Ludovic Kennedy in a programme about street musicians. His Radio broadcasts are numerous: Easy Beat, Roundabout, Country Meets Folk, Folk on Friday and various spots on New Zealand Radio and Television when ha sang at the Wellington Folk Festival of 1967. Redd Sullivan is perhaps unusual in that he sings unaccompanied, but during the set in a club, he is always conscious of the audience. As his repertoire includes songs from Ireland, Scotland, the London Music-Hall, Jamaica, sea-shanties, stories and jokes, he keeps the accent very much on entertainment
THE TROUBADOUR must be London's oldest continuously running Folk-club, going back well over fifteen years and still thriving under the more than able management of Redd Sullivan and Martin Winsor. On Saturday nights from 10:30 p.m. until 2 a.m. (or thereabouts) visitors from all over Europe and America flock to the Troubadour in Old Brampton Road and enjoy four or five hours of Folk-music, traditional or contemporary, because neither Martin nor Redd impose any strict club policy. In fact the club encourages a "sing anything" attitude.
A list of people who have sung at the Troubadour would read like a Who's Who of Folk-singers, Tom Paxton, Bob Dylan, Shirley Collins, Buffy St. Marie, Louis Killen, Alex Campbell, Noel Murphy, Martin Carthy, Nigel Denver, Paul Simon, Stefan Grossman, Dominic Behan — the list is infinite.
Martin Winsor says that Raquel Walsh came in the other day. She didn't sing — but then she didn't have to!
FRIENDS — JEANNIE STEEL from Polmont, Scotland, is the Club Secretary and not only takes in the money at the door, ejects drunks and keeps the peace but shows another facet of her versatility by singing two very fine ballads on this album and joins in the chorus of some of the other tracks. She also wrote the music for the 'Hieland Widow's Lament', and is an accomplished guitarist.
Along with Martin Winsor on 6 string guitar, Alistair McDonald and Ian Campbell provide first rate accompaniment.
ALASTAIR McDONALD, who is a well known recording artist in his own right, played banjo, 12 string and 6 string guitars. IAN CAMPBELL, a fellow Glaswegian, and probably one of the leading bass guitarists in Europe, accompanies brilliantly and tastefully.