Blues boss is back

Paul Lamb & The Kingsnakes

Paul Lamb & The Kingsnakes

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One of the country’s top blues bands blasts back into the area tomorrow when Paul Lamb & The Kingsnakes (pictured above) headline at Thornton Little Theatre.

Paul Lamb has spent the last 30-some years whoopin’ and hollerin’ in clubs in his native North-East, plus a later move to London, in concert and on festival stage.

He has created a personal synthesis of his harmonica heroes and his own unique and innate talent.

His history includes representing Britain in the World Harmonica Championships, working with his particular mentor, Sonny Terry, and with any number of other blues artists.

The original band Smokestack Lightning started in 1979 and metamorphosed through Barfly, then into the Blues Burglars.

The Burglars made their recording debut, Breaking In in 1986.

Down in London, the next incarnation was as the Paul Lamb Blues Band, with Rod Demick on bass and (for a while) ex-Yardbird Jim McCarty on drums, plus long-term associate John Whitehill on lead guitar.

However, it was as Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes that they cut an album for Blue Horizon.

Paul was voted Instrumentalist Of The Year by the British Blues Connection for six successive years.

The band were UK Blues Band Of The Year three times while their Blue Horizon album became 1991 UK Album Of The Year, the first of several such awards.

There’s a deal of experience behind vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chad Strentz, too.

He started out as a rockabilly hound and was in a string of bands from the age of 15, including the Skat Katz, Cat Talk and Shout Sister Shout.

He joined the Kingsnakes in 1991 and during a sabbatical taken in 1999 formed Breakout Blues with Pete Farugia, and then recorded and toured with the Big Town Playboys.

Now, with batteries recharged, he’s back centre stage with the King Snakes.

Bass player and vocalist Rod Demick formed his first group, the Vibros, when he was 11 and later graduated to Wheels, the only R&B competition in Belfast for Van Morrison and Them.

That band came to London (via a short stopover in Cleveleys), and cut three singles for Columbia before breaking up in 1967.

Along the years he has been a member of Bees Make Honey, Meal Ticket, Yellow Dog, the David Essex Band and The Strawbs.

He encountered Paul and Johnny Whitehill soon after their arrival in London and became an early recruit for the Paul Lamb Blues Band and became a Kingsnake four years ago.

Being called young when you’re in your thirties ought to be taken as a compliment and Sonny Below has packed a lot of experience into his years as a musician.

Sonny’s father Frank Nazareth was drummer and roadie for the Sunflower Boogie Band, so he grew up with musicians around the house, Johnny Mars in particular. He joined the King Snakes in 1998.

The youngest and the latest recruit is Ryan “Junior” Lamb – Paul’s son.

But it’s his outstanding guitar talent, rather than nepotism that landed Junior the job of lead guitarist in the King Snakes in 2007.

n Thornton Little Theatre, March 5.

Tickets £10 from (01253) or the Marine Hall box office.