Simon Clarke and Damien Paul run the Black Cat Blues Jam here on the Isle of Wight every second Sunday and last Thursday of the month. I had the pleasure of attending the one on Sunday the 8th of February at The Anchor in Cowes. The one that runs on the last Thursday of the month is held in Newport at The Castle Inn from 8:30pm onwards.
The event started at 3:30pm, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I arrived at 4:30. I walked into a packed back room to a man named Chris playing a solo set with a guitar. The atmosphere was fantastic and full of energy. Clive Thomas then stepped up to the mic to play a solo song, he was then joined by bass, electric guitar, and drums. He did a 3 song set and then we had ‘Beeno’ step up.
Beeno consists of Andy Charles on guitar and vocals, Dan Smith who is usually on bass but during this set was on second guitar, and Graham Mathews on drums. They also had Tim Hollis join them on bass. They played a 5 song set starting off with JJ Cale’s ‘Call Me The Breeze’ and John Mayer’s ‘Something like Olivia’. Dan then took over the mic with a song called ‘I Must Have Done Something Wrong’ which Simon Clarke joined in on with harmonica. The harmonica duties were then passed along to Clive Thomas during a song called ‘You Don’t Love Me’. They finished off their first set with an original named ‘Someone Stole My Angel’ with the lovely addition of saxophone.
We then had Chris step back up on stage with his voice and an acoustic guitar. He was joined by Sam Woodley on drums, Stu Woodley on bass, Roger and Debbie on saxophone, and Bob on electric guitar. He started off a 4 song set with the classic ‘Moondance’ by Van Morrison, we then had a mishmash of jazz standards. Piano was added at this point, graciously provided by Mike, who joined in with ‘Call it Stormy Monday (But Tuesday’s Just as Bad)’, first sung by T-Bone Walker. He finished off the set with a jam that included sax and piano solos.
Next up, were the ‘Black Daniels’. Damien Paul on vocals and guitar, Debbie and Roger on sax once more, Joe Wolton on drums, Woody on electric guitar, Nathan on bass, and Simon Clarke on Harmonica. They played an incredibly lively set starting off with ‘Messin’ with the Kid’ originally sung by Junior Wells. They then played ‘Soulman’ which after repairing the bass drum led into ‘I Feel Good’. They finished off the electric set with a rendition of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’.
Things slowed down at this point with Mike back on piano and vocals doing a solo set, and despite his nerves, he did really well. He started off with Hugh Laurie’s ‘Let Them Talk’. He went quickly into his next song, which was a sing-a-long, that got the whole room involved. He finished off his 3 song set with the classic ‘Summertime’ which was actually first written for an opera called ‘Porgy and Bess’ back in 1935.
We then had the original ‘Beeno’ back up with Andy on guitar, Dan on bass and Joe on drums. Their 3 song set consisted of ‘Please Don’t Keep Me Wonderin” by the Allman Brothers Band, an original written and sung by Dan named ‘Sins’ and Ray Charles’ ‘Hallelujah, I Love Her So’ which Debbie joined in on with sax.
Sanje was up next on acoustic guitar and vocals with Sonny on bass, Andy on electric guitar, Joe on drums, and Roger on harmonica. They played a 3 song set, summertime was once again included where Roger switched to sax, their final song was interesting to watch as well, because the guitarists couldn’t agree on a key! Despite that, it was really good to watch and a nice change to hear a female voice.
The night finished off with a final song from Damien Paul and band. It was a truly incredible afternoon and I love the amazing amalgamation of different musicians with incredibly different tastes all coming together for one great afternoon or night a month. It really is a sight to see, so come on down to the next one! More information and photos can be found on Facebook at ‘The Black Cat Blues Club’.
Written by Stephanie Manfield