Blues gigs to bring sound of music to Saddleworth hills

THE WINTER Blues linger longer in Saddleworth than most other places and we’re not just talking weather here…

So, thanks to local gig promoters Neil Williams and Jim Gradwell the forecast is plenty of good blues news for the next two months.

Attachment-1-4As part of their on-going drive to keep the hills alive to the sound of music, the duo has lined up a series of shows featuring front line Blues talent from home and abroad.

TC (aka Tom Cocks) and the Moneymakers kick-off the schedule on March 5 at Friezland Church Hall before the Muffin Men from Liverpool bring Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart to life as part of a 25th anniversary tour at the White Hart, Lydgate on April 7.

Albert Cummings, described by Neil as “possibly the best electric guitar player ever to play Saddleworth’ and can boast playing alongside such luminaries as BB King and Johnny Winter, jets in from Massachusetts for an April 16 appearance at Friezland.

Then Willie and the Bandits swop Cornwall for Delph Millgate Theatre on May 7.

Roddie Gillard, one of three original members of the Muffin Men, spoke to the Saddleworth Independent about their impending visit and their loves of all things Zappa.

Attachment-1-3 copy“Frank could be quite cynical, especially about other people playing his music,” he explained. “But he knew we existed even though we never met him.

“Around Liverpool there are so many bands; a band in every street. You build up a circle of musicians who can get a call any day saying ‘can you stand in tonight’ for club and pub bands playing rock standards.

“Through the late 70’s and early 80’s we started including Zappa, Genesis, Pink Floyd and Hendrix in our sets even though it is more of a challenge than your normal rhythm and blues boogie pieces.

“We were playing Zappa music so it was a logical thing to bring it all together. We got an eight-piece band together and played that one off for Zappa’s 50th birthday in 1990. And the rest is history.

‘As long as it is fesasible and our fingers will still work. We have no intention of stopping.”

First in action, however, are harmonica-led TC and the Moneymakers, renowned for their high energy brand of rockin’ blues and described as “a good time Blues band that gets the party jumping eveytime”.

Attachment-1-3They played the Colne Blues Festival a few years back prompting renowned American Blues giant, Charlie Musselwhite to remark: “TC& The MoneyMakers knocked me out they play great Blues with that good solid attitude just the way I like it.”

Willie & the Bandits are a three-piece band heralding from Cornwall in the mould of Cream and the Jimi Hendrix experience.

Radio One were suitably enough impressed to describe the trio as one of the 10 must see bands of Glastonbury 2014.

Tickets for all four shows are available from: Uppermill Post Offices, Mossley Chippy (opposite the station) email or go online:,, and


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