Another Monday trip to Peggy Sue’s Music Bar in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex, was rewarded once again by a display of some fine musicianship. Martin McNeill – the stalwart host of these regular Bluesy evenings – needs little introduction from me as my regular readers will already be aware of his dedication to the genre, and his skillful bottleneck slide-work. And likewise, this wonderful little venue itself needs no further description from myself. (There is a list of some of my earlier articles about Peggy Sue’s for further information, below).
At first there weren’t a great many people present (maybe because it was a Bank Holiday Monday); but there were a few friends in; including Karen of The New Crawdaddy Club who kindly took some photos for me. Quite a few more people turned up as the evening progressed however; including Mitch ‘Harp Hog’ Greaves of the Blues Spiders. (Sadly, although armed with his case of Harps, we never got to hear him play!)
Proceedings began with Martin and Tim’s first of two sets; during which they impressed us with some good old Blues / Bluesy songs including Big Joe Turner’s ‘Honey Hush (You Talk Too Much)’; Ray Charles’ laid-back ‘Drown In My Own Tears’; Dave Van Ronk’s ‘Tell Old Bill’; and due to Tim’s presence as a guest, Duke Robillard’s instrumental ‘Cookin’ – during which Karen remarked that its ‘nice to see Martin out of his comfort zone!’ Martin was as usual, adept with his bottleneck and on-form with his (what I refer to as) unique ‘English Blues’ style of vocals. Tim showed himself to be keyboard maestro, of course. I don’t know much about tickling the ivories myself, but its great to see and hear someone like Tim who certainly knows his way around the keys. He was superb.
To be honest, I didn’t know Paul Woodley was going to be at Peggy Sue’s on this evening until someone in the know told me on the way there! But I’m very glad I was there to see him. When Martin and Tim had finished their first set, Paul was introduced. Picking up his beautiful National acoustic (tuned to Open-G), it was immediately clear that he’d been doing his homework on some authentic Delta Blues! He launched into a few numbers that were very impressive indeed – close your eyes and you could almost be there! He talks with a typical Thames Estuary accent, but sings like a genuine Mississippi Bluesman. His slide-work was remarkable. He covered several classics including RL Burnside’s ‘When My First Wife Left Me’; and Hambone Willie Newbern’s oft-covered staple ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin’. I think everyone present was very impressed indeed.
Martin and Tim returned for a second set which was equally as good as the first. It included ‘Too Hot To Handle’; ‘My Next Ex-Wife’; ‘Take my word For It Baby’; and Tampa Red’s ‘You Can’t Get That Stuff No More’. And one which I particularly liked, which Martin described as ‘One of those pretty Blues numbers’: Taj Mahal’s ‘John, Ain’t It Hard’. And so ended another great evening at Peggy Sue’s. I love to get down there on a Monday night, but sadly my visits are few and far between due to one reason or another; but I’m hoping to be back there again soon. PTMQ
Here is a link to Martins website for future gigs at Peggy Sue’s; and Martin’s other gigs
Here are some other of my articles about Monday Blues At Peggy Sue’s….