The White Page
  A Road Diary


Subject: London Diary

Date: Fri, 2 Feb 1999

From: Freddy V

Upon returning home this past week, and catching up with all my e-mail correspondence (including several offers to earn millions of dollars while never leaving my house, and invitations to check out some "Hot Chix"), I have noticed a number of requests (O.K., I think there were 2, but that's a number isn't it?) for me to write a bit about the musical portion of my recent holiday in the UK.

There's not much I can say about Hamish's gig that hasn't been said by Mark or Chris. In the 3 years I've been with AWB, I've heard Alan and Onnie tell me many times what a great soul singer Hamish was. I've also been reading Mark and Chris' reviews of Hamish's 606 gigs for the past year, so I had to see for myself if all of it was true. I was not disappointed. It was a great night of soul music. The man sounds better than I remember, and hearing a great band like Hamish's in an intimate club is always real pleasure. I almost didn't mind the feedback, the uncomfortable chairs and that, for some reason, they didn't serve Coke or Pepsi (what kind of bar doesn't serve cola?).

My second musical treat of my holiday was the chance to play with Jim Mullen, one of the U.K.'s best jazz guitarists. Jim was an original member of "Kokomo," another Scottish soul/R&B band that got its start in the 70's. Jim & I had met backstage a couple of years ago at my first AWB gig in London where we immediately began arguing about music. Jim is very passionate man (he is Scottish, after all), and is not afraid to express his opinions about music or anything else. I've been a fan of his funk/R&B playing with saxophonist Dick Morrissey for years, so I was looking forward to the chance to play with him in a little impromptu jam, along with London pianist Mike Gorman.

Since there was no rehearsing, and none of us had ever played together before, we found some common ground in soul/jazz standards like "Put It Where You Want It" and "Cantaloupe Island" and R&B chestnuts like "If You Don't Know Me By Now" and "Boogie On Reggae Woman." Folks don't get to hear Jim play much other than straight-ahead jazz lately, so there were quite a few people to see the jjam. Jim is a very fiery player who means every note, and it was extremely inspiring to play with him. The evening's festivities were taken up a step when Jim invited his old Kokomo bandmate, keyboardist/vocalist, Tony O'Malley to sing a couple of tunes. I felt so comfortable it was as if I had been playing with these guys for years.

After the set, Jim and I had a chance to hang out and talk about music. Jim and Kokomo toured with AWB in the 70's, and we shared some road stories, as well as Jim's recollections of working with Robbie Macintosh, the late AWB drummer, with whom Jim had played in Brian Auger's band.

I had a great time playing with Jim, and the two of us talked about the possibility of getting together again and doing a real gig when AWB tours the U. K this spring. We'd get a chance to play some of the old Mullen/Morrissey arrangements, and that would certainly be a thrill for me.

Thanks to all the fans and friends who made that evening so enjoyable. I hope to see you all again the next time AWB comes over to the U.K.

Fred "Freddy V" Vigdor