Saturday, July 13, 2013

Great Western Boogie

Part four of yesterday's "Boogie Woogie History" documentary contains a performance by Bob Hall, George Green, Big Joe Duskin, Axel Zwingenberger (all piano), Dave Green (bass) and Charlie Watts (drums), under the name Rocket 88. The recordings were made in January 1986, a month after Ian Stewart's untimely death. Bob Hall, a long-time collaborator of Alexis Korner, and Stu had started working together in June 1977. It all started when Hall got fed up with the company he was working for in Swindon.

He agreed to do a farewell concert at Swindon's Art Centre and recruited a band for the occasion. Stu joined and brought along one Charlie. The one-off concert on June 12, 1977 by a band that even had no name was a great success. Says Bob Hall: "I don't think the band had a name by then, it was just my farewell concert. I remember I played the first half of the concert either solo or with George Green or Stu on second piano, bass and drums, because we didn't have enough brass arrangements for a whole evening".

The concert was entirely recorded on Ronnie Lane's mobile studio, and some tracks appeared on the album "Jammin' The Boogie" (released 1978). Ian Stewart produced the album, and played piano on one released track, 'Great Western Boogie'.
Line-up: Bob Hall (piano, vocals)/George Green (piano)/Ian Stewart (piano)/Nick Dean (bass)/Charlie Watts (drums)/Colin Smith (trumpet)/John Picard (trombone)/Al Gray (tenor sax).

This one-off event turned out to be a success and lead the band to book further concerts at the Swindon Art Centre, the first of which took place on February 1, 1978. Now called Bob Hall's Swindon Skiffle Group, the band continued with the same basic line-up featuring Charlie Watts and Ian Stewart. Dave Green, a childhood friend of Charlie's, replaced Nick Dean on bass and Dick Morrissey replaced Al Gray on tenor sax. This new line-up carried on till early 1981, changing the band's name a few times along the way. To be continued.

Adapted from the following source: Eddy Bonte, Rocket 88: Jammin' With Charlie (read the full article here). Read a little bit more on Bob Hall right here.

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