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Gary Brooker and Friends, Club Riga, Southend

John Bobin reports Sunday 7 October 2007

Southender John Bobin reports: 'A Macmillan Nurses' benefit night in memory of an old friend of ours (Derek Oldham) has taken place at the Riga Music Bar in Southend. Read on because we had a guest star who is very well-known indeed ...

An article by Laura Smith in the local Evening Echo presaged this event:

Memorial event for fish-and-chip king

A memorial concert will be held for the co-founder of one of Southend's best known fish and chip shops. The event will be staged in honour of Derek Oldham, who opened the Quality Fayre fish and chip shop on the seafront, followed by another in Queens Road, Southend. Meanwhile, his brother Rod opened Oldhams in West Road, Westcliff, and Derek's children, Sarah and Matthew, opened an Oldhams in Rayleigh High Street.

Derek died at his family home in June following a short battle with lung cancer, aged 67. Friend Mick Brownlee said musicians from across Southend wanted to celebrate Derek's love for live music. This passion was evident in the weekly gigs he held at the Dicken's pub in Southend, which he also owned.

Mr Brownlee, 64, from Rayleigh, said: "Derek is sadly missed and was a good friend to the live music scene in Essex. Musicians wanted to do something to celebrate his life, and so the idea for a concert was born."

The concert, called Time to Rock, will be held at Club Riga in Westcliff to raise money for the Macmillan Nurses who helped Derek during his treatment.

The line-up will include the Ugly Guys, the Reformed Pilchards, Johnny Hazeltine and the Business, Hunt Runt Shunt and Cunningham, and Steve Weston.

Tickets for the event, to be held on Sunday, October 7, cost 12 in advance from Club Riga.

Bands appearing were:

The Business, led by Johnny Haseltine who is a great, gruff, bluesy singer and harpist. I played with him many moons ago in a band called Quincy.

The Ugly Guys:  lead singer Paul Shuttleworth (who is a terrific showman) and pedal steel player Vic Collins are ex-members of The Kursaal Flyers. I played with Vic in Hunt Runt Shunt and Cunningham for several years. Drummer Bob Clouter is also an old pal of mine. He and I have been in several bands together including The Fingers and Legend.

The Pilchards: Sixties music played with energy and panache.

Hunt Runt Shunt and Cunningham: there were several different line ups of HRSC represented last night, all with the main man being singer and pianist, Tony Sumner. Musicians playing in this kaleidoscopic HRSC performance included Mickey Brownlee (drums), Dennis Masterton (guitar and bass), Graham Turner (sax), Vic Collins (pedal steel guitar), Mo Witham (guitar), John Bobin (bass), Dave Barnes (guitar) and Joe Jones (bass.) Steve Weston also joined us on stage for some blues songs with what Tony Sumner described as gob organ!

Steve "West" Weston

A very welcome surprise guest was the Commander, Gary Brooker MBE. Gary played a storming set which was reminiscent of The Paramounts / No Stiletto Shoes repertoire and was ably assisted by Mo Witham (guitar), Dave Bronze (bass), Graham Turner (sax) and Mickey Brownlee (drums.)

Gary sang Mick's praises for arranging the whole evening and said he was pleased to have him there even though he "thought he had retired!"

More about Gary Brooker's non-Procol concerts

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