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Bebop Spoken There

Lew Shaw (Syncopated Times' columnist): "My interest [at 95] is in classic jazz. The numbers aren't what they were 40 years ago, but I'm encouraged by the number of young musicians playing that style and the young audiences they attract." - (The Syncopated Times January 2021)

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12,369 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 88 of them this year alone and, so far, 88 this month (Jan. 18).

Tuesday January 19


Monday, July 02, 2018

King Bees @ The Tyne Bar - July 1

Michael Littlefield (guitar, vocals); Scott Taylor (harmonica, guitar, vocals); Dominic Hornsby (piano, guitar, vocals); Simon Hedley (double bass); Giles Holt (drums)
(Review by Russell).
Sunday afternoon, the Tyne Bar was busier than ever, the glorious sunshine tempting all and sundry to venture down to the Ouseburn for some beer and blues. On this first day of July, one of the finest blues bands around took to the stage to play a blistering set of rhythm and blues other bands can only dream about playing. The Ouseburn Delta has long since established itself on the rhythm and blues trail and a surprise visitor would soon be drawn to the sound of the King Bees.

I Don’t Know sang harmonica king Scott Taylor, this one alone was worth the trip down to the Ouseburn Delta. My Babe with Michael Littlefield’s spot on South Side sound, Hard Hearted Woman featuring the spine-tingling vocals of Littlefield’s frontman partner Taylor, the band was on top form, fuelled by a few pints of Wylam Brewery’s best. Yes, King Bees is a drinking band!
As the Tyne Bar’s barbie fired up Tyneside’s swing dance crowd stepped out under the blazing sun to show us a few moves. Otis Spann’s I’m in Love with You Baby, Freddie King’s ever-popular Hideaway driven along by drummer Giles Holt’s shuffle rhythm, this is the band you’ve been waiting to hear! The boys like a beer – see photo! Jimmy Rogers’ Walking by Myself featuring Littlefield’s vibrato-skewered vocals, the first set was about to draw to a close but not before Littlefield brought the house down with Caldonia!
A leisurely interval, beers being sunk at a rate of knots, the CO2 crisis not too much of a concern here at the CAMRA-recommended Tyne Bar.
Pee Wee Crayton – aka M Littlefield – opened the second set with some Blues After Hours with a rare sighting of Scott Taylor strapping on a guitar to play rhythm standing alongside the band’s pianist Dom Hornsby. The King Bees’ rhythm section – Simon Hedley, double bass, and Giles Holt, the epitome of taste on drums  – could easily go unnoticed such is the charismatic presence of frontmen M Littlefield and S Taylor, in much the same way Muddy Waters’ sidemen were known only to the aficionado. Otis Rush’ Sit Down Baby (Littlefield vocals), then a treat…Tommy Johnson’s Big Fat Mama Blues. When the time comes to record an album – the King Bees will surely do so – this cracking number should be on it! Pianist Hornsby does a good Kansas City and he knocked out another terrific version under the relentless sun. Littlefield pleaded If You Were Mine – was she listening, Michael? Finally, a deserved ovation won an encore. If you’re yet to hear King Bees, catch them somewhere soon, the boys most certainly had their Mojo Working.

Down in the Ouseburn Delta stands a boutique hotel. One of its guests heard the sound of Chicago blues, at first thinking it was a Chess Records’ recording coming from a nearby building. Realising it was a ‘real deal’ rhythm and blues band, Mr Steve Van Zandt (Bruce Springsteen) made his way to the Tyne Bar to hear up-close the incomparable King Bees. Our American visitor (scheduled to play at Whitley Bay Playhouse this evening – Monday July 2 –  with his Disciples of Soul) was impressed alright, later taking the time to chat with the King Bees’ boys – see photo!. You couldn’t make it up

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