John O’Leary at Tubby Blues Cub, Cheltenham 6th March 2009
Blues In Britain Vol. 1 Issue 80
Review by Ian Crawford
The Tubby Blues Club has found an excellent venue located in the centre of Cheltenham. Not only is the room large with a good dance floor, tables and chairs for the more sedentary and a high stage with all round visibility of the band, but also real ale at £1.80 a pint and of course good acoustics.
After an opening act from Red Eyed Fly the John O’ Leary musicians kicked off with ‘Born in Chicago’, an up- tempo latin rhythm and the remainder of the first set included ‘Early in the Morning’ and a Charles Brown number, ’Drifting Blues’ The second set took off with a superb funky instrumental called ‘Put It Where You Want It’ and soon the dance floor was alive wither dancers who were treated to ‘Little By Little’ and ‘Black Cat Bone’. John O’ Leary, whose musical roots go back to the Savoy Brown band which he founded with Kim Simmonds, can take some credit for keeping his band on the road, a road which for him included membership of the Brunning Sunflower Band. They are all first class musicians and their set often took the form of a 'jam' with each musician encouraging the others to greater heights. John is such a nice guy too and his harp playing was fantastic. Jules Fothergill on guitar was brilliant. He can put such a gentle feel on his guitar followed by out and out full on withering blues/rock. Underscoring it all was the magnificent Jools Grudgings on keyboards, and what keyboards they were too. Roger Inniss is right up there as one of the best bass players in the business. He is such a powerhouse and you would never have guessed that Wayne Proctor on drums had only played with the band 3 times before. Inspired by Roger Innis his drumming reached new heights, they were both dynamite allowing the solo instruments to flourish.
Congratulations should go to Otis Mack, the host and promoter as well as musician, for his success in maintaining the Tubby Blues Club and securing this new venue at the United Services Club in Cheltenham.