This blog is written for Automatic Annie's followers that we call "The Amigos".
We are not an exclusive train, in fact we would love you to join us, and that is done as easily as click. Mind you, we make tantrum throwers get off!
We often play This Train is Bound for Glory, it is a wonderful number and we have shaped it in different ways. With Terry playing guitar, slowing down to a steamy end, both with and without harp, with a rolling drum, with a swing, as a shuffle. We like it every way we play it, and I imagine it will keep changing.
My secret, is that it is the overture to the formation of Automatic Annie by Pete, Terry and me. A few of the original lyrics got tweaked, then we were out of the sidings and looking for amigos to join our band with this hot number up our sleeve. That was in January 2017, and we seem to have gone past seven stations and it's only June!
Some of you good folks will know that the three of us used to be in a hard working and successful band called Bucket of Blues. I was a late comer, only playing about ten gigs in the bucket before I bailed out in December 2016. The time just seemed to be right to develop a new project. The Three Amigos started as a little joke, as a joint term of endearment, as a nudge, a smile or an upbeat email. If I saw the word Amigo in my inbox, I knew it was going to lift my spirts for the rest of the day.
Bucket of Blues had been going for about three years. Pete was a founder member, and Terry made quite a few appearances as vocalist and harp player. Like many good bands Bucket of Blues, (in this incarnation) was going through a wobbly patch. Drummer Ron Hesom had decided to hang up his illuminated sticks to spend more time with his grand-kids and went down south. Bass Player Rob Howells was also retiring, and bound for Spain. Rob continues to play as Bucket of Blues and is starting to build a fan base in la Vida Almera, Brother Spain. The truth is Pete and Terry and Me bailed out of the bucket and boarded Automatic Annie without looking back.
The song This Train Is Bound For Glory was a big hit in the 1930’s. for Sister Rosetta Tharpe. It’s a gospel song made famous by Rosetta, who was something of a musical prodigy.
By age six, she had joined her mother as a regular performer in a traveling evangelical troupe across Arkansas and the Deep South Cotton States. By the age of 23 she was recording with Decca and was billed as a "singing and guitar playing miracle." She was controversial, revolutionary and upset a whole bunch of people along the way.
(My kind of girl!)
There is a wonderful recording you can find on youtube of Rosetta at a disused railway station in Manchester in May of 1964. It is part of a concert in the rain, with the band performing on Platform 1 with the audience seated on the opposite platform. You may also want to look at This Train by Rosetta Tharpe, which is really wonderful.
This Train, got "The Annie Treatment", I decided to ditch the "winkers", and "cigar smokers" but this left room for a few ideas we had been sharing, essentially ideas about how to get onto a different sort of music scene, something we still euphemistically call "The Blues Escalator". This is our shorthand for saying "really good gigs, proper blues venues and playing to people who are there to listen".
Friendship and appreciation is a great way to start a band. We are really happy to have Lyndon Edwards and Simon Clarke along for the ride. Both are splendid chaps, people you want to spend time with, to get to know better, to share the fun with, true amigos.
And that's us, a kind, friendly bunch of people and we know that like attracts like!
So this is my little secret. When I sing "There ain't no big ego's, no tantrum throwers, just amigos" you will perhaps know what I am thinking.
Automatic Annie's Amigos are friends of the band on facebook,. Good folk who dig us enough to want to join our club. I really hope that it will grow. You can meet other Annie followers, perhaps organise car sharing for gigs. I want you to use it as place to share your photo's, videos, thoughts, requests and chat with other amigo's. It's for you.
Join us and be a part of our friendly community around the band.
This is my invitation to you to ride this train.
Please be advised that winkers will have their tickets checked!