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Jerimiah Adieu

This time round Foz looks ahead to Brooks Williams’ long awaited Ipswich debut. He also pays tribute to Braintree-based bluesman Jerimiah Marques who died recently.

It’s hard to believe that leading American bluesman Brooks Williams hasn’t ever played a gig in Ipswich. He has recorded sessions at  BBC Radio Suffolk but to the best of my knowledge hasn’t done any concerts in Suffolk’s county town. All that changes this month when appears at The Avenue Theatre, the home of Red Rose Chain.

The show on Friday, November 17 is a fundraiser for a great theatre company that puts the community at the heart of all it does. As you might expect, music isn’t at the core of its activities but from time to time there are concerts at the home of Red Rose Chain including successful jazz nights.

I’ve been to many theatre productions at The Avenue and as soon as I set foot in the place I thought how well it would lend itself to intimate acoustic gigs. So it’s the realisation of a dream of mine this month as Georgia great Brooks Williams performs solo in my home town.

His recent appearance at Colchester Arts Centre with Boo Hewerdine is a contender for my gig of the year. Brooks will be in solo mode at  Red Rose Chain HQ. He’s not only a great singer, songwriter and guitarist, he’s also a wonderful storyteller. It’ll be a great chance for concert goers to get up close to one of the modern day blues masters.

On a very sad note, I’ve learnt of the death of Essex-based blues, reggae and ska singer Jerimiah Marques. Since the 1980s he’d been a key figure on the region’s music scene and for a while he was a regular a little further afield at the Mustique Blues Festival where he shared the stage with Mick Jagger!

Jerimiah made his name with the Braintree-based blues outfit Booze’n’Blooze. They won the Banks’ Brewery Blues Band Of The Year contest but were never able to build on that national accolade. I loved their debut album Running Late which really did capture Jerimiah at his very best.

After parting company with Booze’n’Blooze Jerimiah formed the Marques Brothers with his best buddy Pete ‘Sonny’ Nash. Suffolk guitarists Toni Vines and Tim LeGrice passed through their ranks as did the late, great Dr Feelgood guitarist Gypie Mayo.

The dreadlocked Jerimiah was a popular figure at many of this region’s pub venues and he’ll be sorely missed. He’d been very ill with cancer in recent months and I very much hope his excellent album Down By The River will now get the release and attention it so richly deserves.

Stephen Foster
Stephen Foster is BBC Radio Suffolk's longest serving presenter. Foz presents Drivetime and features an eclectic selection of music with much of it coming from local bands and singer-songwriters.

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