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One of my favourite blues songs is John Lee Hooker’s Mr Lucky. It’s a track I feel I can relate to. I’ve been lucky enough to earn my living as a broadcaster for nearly four decades and during that time I’ve been fortunate to meet many of the singers and musicians I grew up listening to.
Back in the 1970s I was an avid listener to the Ipswich-based commercial station Radio Orwell. By the end of that decade I was doing some part-time work for them before being offered a full-time role in 1982. In those days there were such things as turntable hits – records that became favourites with DJs but didn’t trouble the upper echelons of the chart.
A great example of that was a song from 1979 by Charlie Dore called Pilot Of The Airwaves. For me it’s a perfect piece of pop that ticks all the required boxes. It was a Top 20 hit in the United States but on this side of the pond it stalled at number 66 in spite of being played by every music radio station throughout the land.
Fast forward to 2018. Charlie’s latest album, Dark Matter, recently picked up two prestigious awards in America, a country that clearly still holds her dear to its heart. The CD won album of the year and the best lyrics accolade from the Indie Acoustic Project.
As a long-standing admirer of Ms Dore I am not in the least bit surprised. Dark Matter is up there with her very best work and tracks from it will feature heavily in her very first Ipswich appearance this month.
Her show is on Friday, June 22 at The Avenue Theatre, the home of Red Rose Chain which earlier in the month, Thursday, June 7, will also be playing host to Southend’s wonderful country rock outfit The Ugly Guys. Charlie will be joined by her regular collaborator Julian Littman who is also a member of Steeleye Span. Julian is one of this country’s unsung guitar greats as we will hear this month in Ipswich.
Although she has never played a concert in Suffolk’s county town before, Charlie is no stranger to Ipswich. The Berkshire-based songstress has recorded several sessions for my BBC Radio Suffolk show. On one occasion I persuaded Charlie to revisit one of her most successful co-writes – the Status Quo hit Jam Side Down which she composed with Terry Britten.
Quo’s recording of that featured the drumming of Matt Letley who was in Suffolk recently drumming with The Quo Experience at The Spa In Felixstowe. I MC’ed that concert and have to say how impressed I was with the band which features an old acquaintance of mine Dave Crawte. The former Trespass and Blue Blood guitarist plays the part of Rick Parfitt while Shaun Michaels does a very good Francis Rossi.
The Quo Experience are back in Suffolk next month and once again Matt Letley will be in the engine room. Catch them at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds on Sunday, July 22.
That’s all from me for another month. I very much hope to see you in Stowmarket on Saturday, June 9 for the 8th StowBlues at the Museum Of East Anglian Life. Advance tickets are £8 while on the day they’ll be a tenner.