Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Alexis Korner - A Memory

One of the founding fathers of the British Blues movement, Alexis Korner presented an eclectic brand of music every week on his radio show.  I religiously tuned in every Sunday night between 7pm & 8pm to listen to Alexis on Radio One.  His show covered all the musical decades and all styles of music.  Old jug bands, old time blues - one night he played some of the original Sonny Boy Williamson.  That is John Lee Williamson, not Rice Miller.  Apparently there is very little recorded work of John Lee Williamson still around.  He would contrast this with new releases by the Young & Moody Band featuring Coleen & Linda Nolan on backing vocals, Little Feat, Clapton, Zappa, Ry Cooder, etc.

   However, I did get the opportunity to see him do a small show at the Gateway Theatre in Chester.  I can still remember the exact date: 23rd July 1983.  To open the show, there was a female Irish folk singer named Gilly McPherson, who did four songs before Alexis came on.  Together, they did three blues songs with Alexis playing acoustic bottleneck and some electric guitar.  Then there was a break, then Alexis came on to do a solo spot on acoustic, electric and piano.  All together the show was no longer than an hour but it was a chance to see a legend of the British Blues scene, and it was a very good show.  For years, Alexis`band CCS, played the theme to Top of the Pops.  A version of Zeppelin`s "Whole Lotta Love."  Sadly, Alexis died on New Years Day 1984 from cancer, aged 55.  You can never replace shows you have always tuned in to. 

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