Anyway, I did emerge from the cellar from time to time, most notably on Thursday evening when my son Tom, who with his encyclopaedic and ever-expanding knowledge of Blues, Jazz and Soul music, invited us to join him and his fiancee and go and see a touring Blues artist called ‘Lil’ Jimmy Reed’ that he’d heard of via the Blues with Bottle mailing-list. The gig was in nearby Sevenoaks at the Stag Theatre’s Plaza Suite venue, and was organised by the Blues with Bottle Club - a local group started some twenty years ago by a group of Blues enthusiasts. It’s a comfortable venue, the evening was relaxed but most importantly the music didn’t disappoint any!
At approximately seventy-five years of age Lil’ Jimmy Reed must be amongst the very last of the Southern Bluesmen who is still umbilically connected to its heyday. He was born in Louisiana, although I understand he now lives in Alabama. His first guitar was fashioned for him out of an old cigar box,and his first professionally made guitar was a gift from his father after he returned home after a successful day at work. He learned to play by ear and never took a lesson in his life. His real name is Leon Atkins and he acquired the name change after turning up to watch the popular blues singer Jimmy Reed; the management at the venue, seeing their man was too worse for wear with drink to put before an audience, and aware of Leon’s growing reputation, thrust him onto the stage, introducing him as Lil’ Jimmy Reed - the name stuck!
This was a terrific evening. Lil’ Jimmy was very ably supported by Bob Hall on boogie- woogie piano and Hilary Blythe on bass guitar. Judith and I were were very glad not to have missed this opportunity of experiencing Lil’ Jimmy play. We felt privileged to be hearing and seeing such an accomplished performer and great exponent of the Blues.
Here’s a clip of Lil’ Jimmy playing - taken from You Tube
Here’s Lil’ Jimmy’s Facebook page
Also, here are some up and coming UK dates. If any are near you - definitely worth seeing!