Get me to the Church – Pinetop’s Boogiemen

Clink Street, 1986Given that my website has a tag line of ‘Every Direction South of the River’, it’s seems apt that I have helped to bring South East London’s Last Surviving Blues Band, ‘Pinetop’s Boogiemen‘ to YouTube.

I co-founded Pinetop’s Boogiemen in 1985. Although not a musician myself, the core music of the band was based on selections from my own music collection. I organised auditions and rehearsals and arranged many of the gigs.

During the audition stage I had come up with a band name of ‘The Boogiemen’ but felt this was a little too generic. Then, at a gig at Dingwalls, Camden Lock, I ended up sitting with Pinetop Perkins during a break in his set. We talked for quite a while and I mentioned I was in the process of starting my own band. I joked that I would call the band ‘Pinetop’s’ Boogiemen in his honour. He liked that and it stuck.

We rehearsed at Studio Drive in Clink Street and always finished with a lunchtime drink at the Anchor Bankside. We gigged around south London, at the Royal Albert Deptford, the Half Moon Herne Hill, the Plough Stockwell and at a scattering of venues in and around Croydon. I always sung the last song.

I hung up my microphone in 1988 but the band has occasionally met to record new material during the past 25 years or so. I contributed to the unreleased 1995 studio recording ‘Back in Clink’, providing some new music selections and designing the CD cover. In 2002 the band produced a CD of live recordings entitled ‘Anthology 1986-88’. I designed the CD booklet and wrote the accompanying notes – a suitable ending I felt, for my own music career. The remaining band members met, recorded and released two further CD’s in 2004 and 2008.

Pinetop’s Boogiemen recorded in June 2014 and ‘Southeast London’s Last Surviving Rhythm and Blues Band‘ is available on iTunes. The band invited me to produce, direct and film the video for one track ‘Get me to the church’ which was released in conjunction with the recording. Chris Cloud shot the guitar and vocals footage in New York, whilst Rob Morris joined me at Ide Hill in Kent to star in the church scenes and then at the edit suite to piece the action together.