The enthusiasm for the blues has been a long time coming, and at the same time always there. I latched on to hard rock during my teenage years in the mid-Seventies, becoming a fan of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Bad Company when they had already peaked. I was too young to have encountered Cream at the height of their influence, and the Stones were now mainstream superstars, their evangelism for Chicago R’n’B merely part of their early history. The Allman Brothers were just a name to me. But it didn’t take much to recognise that the blues was obviously an essential ingredient in much of the music I liked.
So it was natural for me to take in blues music through the likes of Rory Gallagher, Jimi Hendrix, Whitesnake (of the classic Moody and Marsden period), AC/DC, Pat Travers, Lynyrd Skynyrd et al. But my enjoyment was still filtered through the lens of heavy rock, without much direct connection to its roots. Still, I took on board the fact that Zeppelin had, shall we say, leaned heavily on a number of blues artists for much of their early material. I noted that ‘Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City’, a key song in Whitesnake's repertoire, was a cover of a hit for some blues-soul singer called Bobby Bland.
And that’s pretty much the way things stayed for a couple of decades. My love of rock music took a back seat at times. But when I did give it some attention I would occasionally bump into the blues in one form or another. Until a few things began to come together that started me more directly on a journey to the blues . . .