It all started in Spain many years ago in a club called Route 66.
I asked the boss for a slot on the stage and he told me “No way can you play the blues. You bring your gear next week and we will see what you can do.”
Well that’s what I did and the rest is history. I met Terry Clear at that time the curator and presenter of the very popular ‘Blues Show’ on OCI (Ondacero international, a Marbella radio station). He and his partner in crime Steve set me up with a band and I played the “Route” at least twice a month.
A mutual idea to set up a Sunday jam session proved to be a great success, especially with the help of Terry plugging it on his show. This put me on stage every week, a great help for my blues career in Spain.
These guys christened me Mama Paula and that was probably the coolest thing ever. Terry and Steve got many bands started and very good bands too. I will never forget their help and we are friends to this day.
June the 14th 2008 Mama Paula Blues Band shared the stage with Mud Morganfield, the son of Muddy Waters at the Mijas Blues Festival. A fantastic night of blues. Peaches Staton, West Weston, Lito Fernandez and Big Joe Louis also appeared. Check out my myspace for more details on these acts. A wonderful setting for this annual event, Mijas village is in southern Spain. North of Fuengirola it is known for its water and its natural beauty. I didn’t drink much water, but that’s another story. I was presented with 2 bottles of Champagne, because, It was my birthday, hic!!! Can’t remember much after that!!!!! There is some video footage on www.youtube.com (of the band, not me and the Champagne!!!!!) Just type in Mama Paula Mijas.
In 2004, I had the pleasure of playing at the Royal Albert Hall in London for the memorial concert for Lonnie Donegan. Rock Island Line. www.lonnieinc.com Although, in the words of Ray Cooper, it was a bitter sweet event, This was the most fantastic gig I had ever played. In the finale I stood between Roger Daltry and Joe Cocker and was surrounded by a host of my hero’s. Check out Lonnie’s web site to see who else was there. Peter and his mum, Sharon, Lonnie’s son and widow, remain a good friends to this day. We miss you Lonnie! You were and are, an inspiration to us all, RIP.
In the nineties, I played with a few bands. Zanzara was a 10 piece soul band. We went on to play Kings Lynn festival too two years on the trot, and had the pleasure of performing in the presence of princess Diana.
Suzzie Quatro, Alan Price and Jimmy James were also on the bill.
In 1992 I left Zanzara to be replaced by my mate Jeff. I joined forces with Robbo from the country rock band, Barbary Coast and we formed Robbo and the old No7 band. We went off to tour the West Indies, and boy that was fun. We were away for a month and the guys in my local pub were making bets that I wouldn’t return. I nearly didn’t! However I did, and played with Robbo for the next 5 years. I then left the UK and settled in Spain for the next 10 years. A good 10 years too.
I have played with a few bands here and It was in Spain that the Mama Paula era started. What an era! I met up with Chick Churchill of Ten Years After and we formed Mama Paula and the Chick Churchill Band. Alvin Lee often came to see us play. He told me he thought I was a great blues player, and coming from him, it meant the world to me. We played the Pirrana Festival a few times and the band went from strength to strength. Sadly for me, TYA reformed and Chick left the band to rejoin his place with the lads. He is a great keyboard player, and I should know. I am sure we will play together again one day soon. Love yer Chick, we are still good friends. I went to TYA in Cadiz in southern Spain and WOW what a band! www.ten-years-after.com
Manolo bass, Ernesto bass, Mick bass, Ben bass and guitar,
Dave bass, Terry bass, Fali bass. Alberto bass. Miguel drums, Nacho Blanco drums, Fernando drums, Rog drums
Erik drums, Rafeal drums. Nacho drums, guitar and vocals. Javi drums. David drums. Miguel percussion.
Paul guitar and vocs. Chicago Jim guitar and vocs Marcelo guitar. Alphonze guitar and vocs.
Kouki keys. Chick Churchill keys. Sabine Shehan Vocals guitar and percussion Tijs Groen
Antonio sax. Stevie sax and, Mama Paula, guitar, vocals, keys and sax. Karan Jordan guitar and vocals and last but not least, Grainne Gormley guitar and vocals.
Mama Paula Blues Band. Binajack Band. Pink Zeppelin. Birds of Paradise. Project Acapulco. Mama Paula & dangerous Liaison.
You may wonder why so many. Well I am considered the John Mayall of the Costa del sol. Many of the people came to learn how to play the blues and some, just to play, but most just to listen, man its been a blast!!!