Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1092

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Alley Cat Blues Jam: Denmark Street, London 4/4/12

Alley Cat Blues Jam presented by Sam Hare
Alley Cat Blues Jam presented by Sam Hare Max De Beaufort-Suchlick (guitar) & Mattia Giallombardo (drums) - Alley Cat Blues Jam Johnny Carroll (guitar) & Fran Okine (bass)  - Alley Cat Blues Jam Sam Hare

There seems to be quite a stir going on down in Denmark Street (or as it's quaintly referred to as "Tin Pan Alley") and lying underneath the once famous Regent Sound Studios is the relatively new Alley Cat club run by music fan and promoter Isabelle, whose enthusiasm and gallic charm is a real breath of fresh air!

The first thing you notice when entering is the historic vibe of the place, after all this is where the Rolling Stones limbered up before recording their eponymous debut album, basically the place is steeped in history and you can just feel it!

So what's the Blues Jam like? In a word, excellent! Standards are maintained by ringmaster Sam Hare, whose cool demeanour, measured vocals and slick Albert Collins guitar style makes sure the bar is raised. And if you're going to get up you better be on your finest mettle! Sam got proceedings off by mixing blues standards and his own polished material from his rather fine cd "Down To The Sea" (which you can have a listen to on

The place was teeming too, with young hopefuls eager to ply their wares and one notable guitarist certainly caught my eye. Brett McLaughlan, who started off in blistering form with an upbeat Chicago style shuffle that apparently he wrote on the spot!! His slick licks and delivery seemed effortless bolstered by a highly experienced bass player and bluesmaster, Frank Okine and a young drummer whose name I unfortunately didn't catch. Electric stuff!

The club itself is a combo of standing room and tables, which is good because it allows everybody to do their own thing and the background music between sets was spot on! Old Jimmy Reed numbers and some raw jump blues. No wonder the cream of the british blues players pop down there. On a good night you may see Matt Schofield, Ian Siegal, Todd Sharpville, Lee Sankey or even Mr "Baker St" himself sax player Raff Ravenscroft! Take it as gospel this is a great night out full of immense promise, so go get yourself steeped in history and steeped in the blues. Free entry every Wednesday folks...!

Words Emrys Baird

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