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The Coach & Horses, 391 Leyton High Rd. E10 5NA
Admission: £1 for jammers / £2 for audience
 Blues Jam Profiles
Andy Humphreys
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Andy Humphreys
Guitarist / Bass Player
Are you local?

Yes - Bethnal Green.

Where are you from, originally?

Hove, in Sussex.

What's your tipple?

Guinness or white wine, or quality cider, and the occasional lager.

What's your earliest memory?

Declining to progress from the Cubs to the Scouts because it clashed with Steptoe & Son.

What was the first record you ever bought with your own money?

"Tell Me When" by The Applejacks:

...and do you still have it?

Ha, No.

Any hobbies/interests?

Researching the importance of various session players in the sound/development of pop music before it was common for them to be routinely credited. I've also spent a lot of time transcribing the bass lines from hundreds of Motown/Soul/R'n'B records, along with guitar stuff across various genres. I guess it's a quest for working out what makes them tick.

Do you remember the very first gig you went to? What was it like?

No, lost in the mists of time. I do proudly remember that my first public appearance was in my mid teens, with a 50's Strat. Some American kid came to my school with a beat up sunburst 50s Strat way before they were the holy grail, and I got to borrow it to play some Shadows numbers at a local community hall.

Worst job you've ever had?

Spending a lot of time as a jobbing musician, there've been a few. A cleaning job involving serious chemicals which magically made my fingerprints temporarily disappear. Another temp job helping to rewire at the Ford Dagenham car plant, involving laying 33KV cable at heights that wouldn't be allowed without harnesses these days. A couple of days after I started on that job, the others attended the funeral of my predecessor.

What's your claim to fame (not necessarily musical)?

My first proper band was Rocky Sharpe & The Razors:

(Click this image to see it full size)



...a rock & roll revival band from Brighton which was on the verge of a deal but split up just as punk was starting.

I later did some recording and gigs with the closely-related Rocky Sharpe & The Replays:



This included a memorable recording of the Chris Tarrant show "O.T.T." when, over the closing credits, Bernard Manning was telling cruder and cruder jokes whilst being hoisted up and deposited into a pool of gunk. Much to my regret, Sally James wasn't involved.

If you could invite 6 people (past, present or fictional) to dinner, who would you choose?

Various musical heroes who whilst they're seated I could bore to death with my questions.

Been playing/performing long?

I started playing when I was 10 and started gigging at 18. Basically as long as I can remember.

Been in any bands?

Apart from Rocky Sharpe, there have been loads, some of which I struggle to remember. I'm currently playing on the country circuit earning a crust.

What first got you interested in the Blues?

In the 60s I remember most UK artists rating Ray Charles amongst all others and me not understanding why, until I first came across his 50s Atlantic recordings, and then it was a revelation.

What other types of music do you like to listen to/play?

Genres have subdivided so much over the years it's difficult to categorise these days, but I'm heavily influenced by Motown, Southern Soul (Muscle Shoals and Memphis in particular), New Orleans R'n'B, some aspects of country, jazz & gospel, and whatever I get asked to play.

Favourite Blues artists?

B.B. King, Freddie King, Peter Green, Johnny Guitar Watson, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, T-Bone Walker, Percy Mayfield, Bobby Bland, Etta James, Esther Philips, Albert Collins, Bonnie Raitt.

Favourite artists (any other genre) ?

It's a very long list but to keep it short:

  • Ray Charles, Les Paul, King Curtis, Cornell Dupree, Eric Gale,
  • Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Lenny Breau, Larry Carlton, Robben Ford,
  • Amos Garrett, Charlie Christian, Aretha Franklin, Roy Buchanan,
  • Django Reinhardt, Jimmy Bryant, Danny Gatton, Otis Redding,
  • Buddy Emmons, Dr John, Pete Anderson, Delbert McClinton, The Crusaders
  • Steve Cropper, The Sweet Inspirations, Ella & Buddy Johnson, Norah Jones
  • Chuck Berry, Ry Cooder, Irma Thomas, Jimmy Smith, George Barnes
  • ...and of course Hank Marvin, who was responsible for me wanting to play in the first place.

Did I mention Ray Charles?

Ever been lucky enough to meet or share a stage with one of your musical heroes?

It was special working with Mike Vernon (of Blue Horizon Records fame) and seeing what a quality producer brought to the process.

Favourite instruments and/or equipment?

Fender Telecaster - I like this guitar so much I couldn't stop at one!



Gibson 335:



...and the Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special:



Over the years I've tried all sorts, but I've found nothing to beat these, particularly the amp.

If you had to sum up your relationship with the Blues using just one word, what would it be?

Developing.

Who would you pick (past or present) for your dream band?
Most embarrassing moment?

Thankfully a fading memory helps out here.

Proudest moment!

See above.

What do you most enjoy about the Blues Jam?

When the chemistry is right and a really good groove comes out of nowhere.

If you could travel back in time to be present at one moment/event in musical history, what would it be?

Aretha Franklin/King Curtis live at the Fillmore 1971.

Who would they cast to play you in the movie of your life?

Jeff Bridges.

Marmite: - Yes or No?

NO.

If you were invited on "Desert Island Discs", which 8 records would you choose?
  1. How High The Moon - Les Paul and Mary Ford
  2. Django's Tiger - Django Reinhardt
  3. Can't Nobody Love You - Solomon Burke
  4. Parker's Mood - Charlie Parker
  5. What Would I Do Without You? - Ray Charles
  6. Midnight At The Oasis - Maria Muldaur
  7. Just A Little Misunderstanding - The Contours
  8. Someday We'll Be Together - King Curtis
...and what would be your luxury item?

I guess a car that starts first time doesn't count when there are no gigs to go to!

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Developing your ears is far more important than repetitive practicing.

Go on - tell us a secret!

OK - here goes...




(To protect the innocent, Mr Humphreys has used invisible ink. To view his answer, print out this web page, soak it in vinegar and hold it up to the light.)