Tea & Fruitcake Club's Gala Meeting

The Tea is Brewing…

Posted in Uncategorized by teaandfruitcakeclub on November 5, 2010

We will be with you shortly.

The Author.


Breakfast Break

Posted in Uncategorized by teaandfruitcakeclub on May 26, 2010

‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’s’ Sixth Gala Meeting with guest speakers, Helen Turner, Iain Black, Trev Turley and Andy Jones of the Bare Bones Boogie Band.


The name alone is enticement enough for us in the office to want to listen in but not only do they have a great name, they are award-winning musicians as well. Helen Turner was voted the best female artiste in the 2007 Digital Blues Awards, in the same year Trev Turley was voted favourite bass player and Iain Black won the favourite guitar player in the 2008 Awards

Bare Bones Boogie Band have been getting recognised amongst the blues press and audience of the UK and abroad. Finally ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ got the chance to see them perform on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the Elme Hall Hotel in Wisbech. Much to the Author’s and band members surprise the drummer is a part-time Tea connoisseur and delicatessen! 

How do you like your tea?

Helen: Earl Grey with a pinch of milk, which is so ‘uncool’ but there you go.

Iain: I take mine black.

Trev: Just strong.

Andy: I like my tea, really, really stewed. As stewed as you can get it and I really liked Red Bush tea when it came out.

Any favourite type of cake with that?

Helen: Lemon Drizzle.

Iain: Mini Battenberg.

Trev: Any cake! [Laughter] Any cake will do.

Andy: Waitrose Almond Slices with Red Bush tea!…Helen: Oh my God! You learn so much!

Music writer; Henry Yates from Classic Rock Magazine stated; ‘On their MySpace, BBBB liken their sound to ‘the best night out you’re ever likely to have.’ It’s a stretch, but you get the jist.’ (Round Up: Blues, Page 85, Issue 145 of Classic Rock Magazine, June 2010). What would you say in return to comments like this?

Helen: Fair comment. His son wrote it when he was pissed basically and…erm…you know his son is very loyal to the band and how could we argue with a young boy and shatter his dreams. So we just left it on our MySpace. But of course it is with a generous pinch of salt that we say those things.

Iain: And it’s nice to you know. You put it out there as a bit of a challenge so…come along and you know.

Helen: Also we haven’t got out much in our life’s. We are only comparing it to a couple of nights in withCrossroads. So, actually it probably is the best night we’ve had in our lives [Laughter].

You are all very talented and award-winning musicians. Some of you have been in bands like; Red Road and 3AM, what makes Bare Bones Boogie Band so different to those previous bands? 

Iain: Because we’ve learnt a lot through being in other bands and when we got this band together we knew what we kind of wanted to do. We had an idea of…we were choosing the name and we wanted a name to express what it really was, stripped down, bit of blues but not just too much slow blues but also a bit of spark about it and we just had a clearer vision of what it was. We built up a lot of contacts and stuff through the other bands and this was the band we wanted to go for it with.

Helen: I think maybe it’s one of those things that every band you’ve been in and we’ve all been in loads of bands, the next one has got to be the best one, you know, it’s an evolutionary process, ’cause otherwise you’re going back the way, you know, we’re not hankering back to the bands that we were in when we were twenty-five years ago…erm…you just always think the band you are in now is the best one.

Trev: I think this is the band we have all wanted to be…[Unison of agreement]…for a long time.

You released an album in January of this year, how has it been received by the audience?

Trev: It’s been pretty good. We’ve got some reviews in Blues Matters! Magazine and we had one in Classic Rock in the blues section and that’s been really amazing to be honest because we have had reactions from the States as well because it is a worldwide magazine. Its been good, it has been well received.

Andy: The tracks seem to have turned up all over the place in America, Australia…etc. We’re not quite sure how they kind of got there, but they did show up all over the place and generated a lot of interest so we were really pleased with it.

Iain: It’s really nice that a lot of the reviewers are saying it is really enjoyable so people are enjoying it and that’s the main thing. You listen to music because you enjoy it, you don’t listen to music to go ‘oh that was good or that was bad’, you listen to music to enjoy it and people are using that word when they talk about our CD’s so that’s really good.

You cover the song made popular by Etta James, if you don’t mind me saying Helen you look similar to Steve Nicks and Iain your guitar playing has been referred to being ‘shades of Peter Green’ (Review of the new Bare Bones Boogie Band CD in Issue 53 of Blues Matters! magazine), is Fleetwood Mac an influence or is it just a coincidence?

Iain: It’s a bit of both, I think we are kind of…

Helen: I think if you scratch any bands of our age in our kind of genre, Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac have got to be an influence, I mean young bands say it as well, so…early Fleetwood Mac definitely an influence.

Iain: We like that classic British Blues, Fleetwood Mac, Free and stuff like that as well.

You are playing the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival in Lancashire, what else does 2010 hold for you guys?

Iain: Well we’ve got about half a dozen festivals over the summer we are playing…erm…

Trev: The Lichfield Jazz and Blues Festival, Rhythms of the World Festival in Hitchin’, a couple of weekends away we’ve got the Wallingford Blues Festival, so that will be again meeting up with the Paul Jones Blues Band

Iain: We are starting to write some more material now so we’re getting ready to, almost starting to plan 2011 so we will be scheduling some time for recording and getting some new tracks down maybe to be released next year.

Final question, what is the second album going to be like?

Helen: Amazing! [Laughter]

Trev: It will be like the best night you’ve ever had!

Andy Jones: Twice! [Laughter].

If you would like to know more about Bare Bones Boogie Band then click here to see their MySpace. If you would like to buy their self titled album you can email; contactbarebones@aol.com, or you can order from; Blues CD Store.

Breakfast Break

Posted in Uncategorized by teaandfruitcakeclub on May 3, 2010

‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’s’ Fifth Gala Meeting with guest speaker; Vernon Ray Harrington.


I first heard Vernon Ray Harrington on the Paul Jones Rhythm and Blues show, when he played ‘Crack Head Woman’ from the album ‘West Side Blues’. ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ therefore was thrilled to find out that Mr Harrington would be playing in the area.

Influenced by his upbringing, which involved being taught by the late, great Magic Sam, Vernon Ray Harrington has been playing the West Side for over forty years. During which he has performed alongside his brother Joe Harrington, cousin Eddy Clearwater and second cousin Lurrie Bell, who all ventured to Berlin, Germany with Billy Branch to perform at the ‘Next Generation of Blues Tour’. In remembrance of his fathers record label; Atomic-H, Vernon Harrington has released his first solo album; ‘West Side Blues’ on his own label accordingly named; Atomic-H2.

‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ sat with Vernon Ray Harrington at the Stamford Arts Centre to see how his first UK tour was coming along.

Are you happy with your new album ‘West Side Blues’?

Oh yeah, yeah, I’m definitely satisfied with that. No doubt about it.

Do you have a local residency in Chicago where you can play the blues?

Oh yes, different places, different clubs up there. You know, clubs up north, Kingston, the Blues, the Blues Chicago, you know, there’s a lot of places for entertainment and to play.

What was it like growing up with your father Rev. Harrington running Atomic-H Records…

Right, he had his own studio, he had his own label, you know, he was a publisher, Atomic-H and the CD I’m doing now that’s also Atomic-H but that’s Atomic-H2 though, right.

So what was it like growing up around your fathers record label, being introduced to artists like Sunnyland Slim and obviously your Uncle introduced you to Magic Sam, what was that like at a young age?

That was, you know, quite an experiment, me coming up around Magic Sam. I used to go round his house and watch him play, I wasn’t more that seventeen years old, in fact, I was only seventeen year old when he died in ’69, you know I was just a teenager. But I used to go over to his house and he used to show me the fundamentals on the guitar, you know, I used to just sit and listen and watch and if you just listen you can learn…if you’ve got a good ear for music you know, you can pick it up just by ear, if you have a good ear for it.

When you’re playing your blues, obviously the blues is quite a downtrodden genre, do you like to be amongst the feelings or do you prefer to be outside the emotions and looking into what you are singing about?

I like to get into it emotionally, you know.

In your songs,  what is it that comes out into your songs, what subjects in your life inspire you to write songs?

About my music? The ideas to the songs I wrote are the actual things I went through in life, like ‘You Did Me Wrong’, that song is based on my wife, you know, the way our marriage went…

Dave Thomas (Vocals/Guitarist in Vernon Ray Harrington’s backing band): That’s what the blues is all about. You and me both.

I write according to my lifestyle. I think that’s the best way.

What other artists at the moment do you listen to?

I listen to a lot of artists, my cousin, Eddy Clearwater, you know, I picked up a little bit from him, when I was a teenager coming up, but mostly I picked up from Magic Sam, I used to go and listen to other guitar plays when I was young like; Otis Rush, you know and I remember I used to be a little too young to get into clubs, as back in the sixties, if you weren’t twenty-one, you know, they were real hard on ID’s, you had to be twenty-one, but…my cousin Eddy Clearwater was playing in this club called; the Flash, on Pulaski and Polk. I was a little teenager but they used to let me in and I used to go in with me and my brother, but they wouldn’t serve me no alcohol, that’s the only thing and I used to go up onstage and sit in with him and play with him.

What is it like playing with artists like Lurrie Bell and Billy Branch?

It’s a good feeling playing with guys like that. You know, we went to Berlin, Germany, together in 1977. It was me, Lurrie Bell, Billy Branch…it was thirteen of us that went over there together, thirteen of us.

What was the atmosphere like when you were playing in the ‘Next Generation of the Blues Tour’?

We played the Philharmonic Hall, we played to a sell-out crowd, people were all, you know, it was a big old, huge auditorium, people were sitting all behind you, people watching from the back, people watching you from the front, everywhere you looked around, ’cause the way it was made, you know, was like a basketball stadium, like the Bull’s stadium up there, you know, you got chairs all around, upper decks, just like here [Stamford Arts Centre] upper decks all the way around, that was a real good experiment, you know.

You play left-handed, did you get any ‘stick’ for that?

Did I get any what?

Sorry it’s an English slang term, any ‘stick’, did anybody say that the way you were playing was unusual?

No, it was something that just automatically came to me, you know, I remember when I was a little boy, I wasn’t even able to hold a guitar, I just used to lay the guitar in my lap, I didn’t know left-handed to right-handed, I didn’t think it made no difference, you know, as long as its being played. I used to hold it like this [left-handed] Magic Sam used to tell me; ‘No, you got it upside down, turn it the other way’. When I tried to make a chord, it felt uncomfortable, you know, just like I can take this guitar here, it’s strung the same way as mine, I can hold it, I’m holding it right-handed now but I can’t, you know, it’s just a funny feeling.

Would you like to try?

Vernon Ray Harrington Playing Right and Left-Handed

I can’t play nothing right-handed. I can’t. I can not do it. I can just hit the strings, that’s about it, so I had to turn it around this way [left-handed], see, it’s more comfortable…[strums the guitar twice]…like a chord…[plays a chord]…but if I turn it this way [right-handed] just like, just like a beginner, you know, I can’t even make no type…let me see if I can try to make a note holding it this way, let me see…[attempts quite professionally]…it ain’t no work for me. But what I did one time, I changed the strings around, so what I did, I put the big strings at the top and I put the little ones at the bottom. That kind of worked for me a little bit but it was like starting all over again. So my cousin, Eddy Clearwater, he just said, ‘Just leave it like it is’.

As a blues professional, is there any favourite songs you like to play? 

Favourite songs? I don’t really have any favourite songs, I just play the songs I like, the certain songs I like and I just play ’em.

Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to hearing the songs from your new album; ‘West Side Blues’.

If you would like to find out more about Vernon Ray Harrington then you can visit his Myspace here.

British Tea Room No.102 of 224

Posted in Uncategorized by teaandfruitcakeclub on April 21, 2010

'A decadent haven with cakes and tea to die for' - Lincolnshire Echo


“It was 1840 when Her Grace…(Duchess of Bedford) invented afternoon tea. Unable to wait the eight hours between breakfast and a fashionable dinner-time of 8pm, she ordered her butler to bring her tea, bread and butter in her boudoir at 5pm.

It wasn’t long before she started to invite her friends to join her.

Nearly two decades later afternoon tea has been born again. As well as the traditional salmon and cream-cheese finger sandwiches and crumbly scones, Flemings Hotel serves the UK’s most fashionable cupcakes from Primrose Bakery and a Martini afternoon tea, which consists of a martini served with cheese straws, a black pudding scotch egg and a dark chocolate tart.”

Sarah Holt, Lincolnshire Echo (Saturday March 27, 2010).

This was a travel feature written by Sarah Holt of the Lincolnshire Echo, informing readers of the Flemings Hotel’s multi-million pound reinvention and of course its re-installment of the afternoon tea. In celebration of this fact, ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ decided to begin its journey of visiting numerous tea rooms around Great Britain. The list covers all forty-eight counties and totals at two hundred and twenty-four tea rooms. Tally ho TAFC.

The first tea room we visited was unfortunately not the Flemings Hotel in Mayfair, although it is no.109 on the list. The maiden voyage was to one in my hometown of Boston called the Sack Store Cafe.

The Sack Store Cafe is an award-winning cafe set in a large converted building from the 1850s, which once stored farmers sacks which were waiting to be delivered by train to their next destination. It is now a showroom for unique pieces of furniture, tiles, stoves and unusual items for your home. The unique and fashionable items do come at a price but they are certainly desireable to look at, but not to touch!

‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ sat and enjoyed a small pot of Earl Grey Tea and we didn’t forget a slice of their finest Fruitcake and blimey did we get their finest!

Fruitcake Slice at the Sack Store Cafe

Earl Grey Tea

Seating in the Cafe

A few of the items you can purchase.

Wurlitzer and High Chairs

The Sack Store Cafe

‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’s’ Film Appreciation Society

Posted in Uncategorized by teaandfruitcakeclub on April 9, 2010

‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ have formed a film appreciation society! How terribly exciting! To kick off proceedings we started with the film ‘Kipps, also known as ‘The Remarkable Mr. Kipps’. Some of us The Author enjoyed the film so much we had to tell Film4 how much so.

The Author

Review of the film; 'Kipps'.

Join us next week when the film shall be ‘The Card’.

Breakfast Break

Posted in Uncategorized by teaandfruitcakeclub on April 2, 2010

‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’s’ Fourth Gala Meeting with guest speaker; Paul Jones.


To allow Paul Jones to become a member of the ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ is a preposterous idea, for the reason that this would not be the correct title for such an established professional.

Paul Jones was offered to be a part of the Rolling Stones, he starred in the film Privilege with the model Jean Shrimpton, was a member of the band Manfred Mann and he has performed with fellow greats; Eric Clapton, Steve WinwoodLong John Baldry, Alexis Korner and Memphis Slim.

Mr Jones currently presents his Rhythm and Blues show on BBC Radio 2 and after forming the Blues Band in 1979 with his fellow band mates Dave Kelly, Tom McGuinness, Gary Fletcher and Rob Townsend he is still touring and will be performing at Glastonbury 2010 in the summer.

So what is the right title for Paul Jones? When it did come to the time for a decision, the outcome from the Chairman’s mouth was…[?]. The agreement that the committee felt would be the only right and just thing to do was to give Paul Jones a honoury degree in the subject of Tea and Fruitcake from the University of TAFC. The Chairman and his committee therefore ventured to the Blackfriars Art Centre in Boston to give Paul Jones his honoury degree and to watch him and the Blues Band perform in celebration of his graduation.  

During the interval, before a quick compliment from Tom McGuinness aimed at the Author’s jeans, ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ enjoyed a cup of tea, a nice egg sandwich and spoke to Paul Jones.


How do you like your Tea?

I’m going to let that [tea]bag steep in it a bit longer so that it’s reasonably strong.

I’m quite, sort of, Catholic about tea, I don’t mind having a mixture of Earl Grey and builders tea, it’s rather nice that.

You are obviously the tea connoisseur we dreamed you might be and what is your favourite type of cake?

Coffee and Walnut.

Wow! And I mean this next part very sincerely, your afternoon tea party’s must be the talk of the town!

Is this your first time in Boston?

No! I’ve lost count. We used to play the Gliderdrome in the Sixties but when I say we I mean…

Manfred Mann?

Yes, although I think this band [Blues Band], no, I don’t think this band has, no.

How is the tour for the Blues Band?

Well…it’s not so much a tour more of a way of life. It started in 1979 and it is still going on. I mean there are breaks from it, but yes it is going very well.

The Blues Band is heading over to Germany and Sweden this year, how do the audiences abroad differ to the ones at home?

I don’t know if our audiences differ very much really…Erm…they tend to know what we are going to do, not absolutely because we usually go over with a new album or a new album in the pipeline, or something like that. So there are some surprises, but obviously they know three-quarters of the gig is going to be our existing stuff that they’ve got in their collections, so it’s kind of our audience whether we are here or there.

You’re going back to Glastonbury in the summer, are you looking forward to it and do you have anything planned?

We will probably just make it up as we go along as we usually do [Laughter]. What happens is people get tired of a song and just drop it and put something in its place, so it is constantly changing, I won’t say it’s evolving but in some senses it is. Especially when we began doing the acoustic stuff that really made quite a difference. Not necessarily to all of us, because some of us have been doing a lot of acoustic stuff, in fact Dave has probably done more acoustic stuff than electric, but as for me…the opposite [Laughter]. So yeah, changes come and its good fun. We think we’ve done everything from…mandolin 12-string and acoustic harp and Rob playing brushes that sort of stuff all the way up to an album called ‘Brassed Up’ where we had a thirteen piece brass section and extra keyboards and percussion and stuff, you know, there is quite a variation.

How come you chose to play the harmonica, who influenced you in doing so and who still influences you?

Going backwards through that question…Little Walter, Little Walter and Little Walter [Laughter]. But lots of other harmonica players as well, in fact I really ought to give Junior Wells more credit because it was really Junior Wells who made me want to play it, at that time I didn’t really know anything about Chicago Blues…Erm…I was interested in the jazz-ier end of blues, so the kind of stuff you would hear from Big Joe Turner, Jimmy Witherspoon, or the folky end of blues like Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee that’s where it sort of started for me but suddenly one day somebody played me a record by T-Bone Walker with Junior Wells on it and that was an unusual thing for T-Bone Walker and it absolutely knocked me out and I thought…that’s what I want to do…it coincided with the end of my student times at Oxford [Laughter] Whamo! It was a big change in my life.

You are presenting the BBC Radio 2 Rhythm and Blues show, who is an artist or a band that really interests you at the moment?

Obviously Joe Bonamassa, who I think is evolving rapidly, he’s always been pretty good [Laughter]…Erm…as far as more established names are concerned I do love BB King always will…Erm…personal favourites, Eric Bibb, and a lot of those guys, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Guy Davis more intermittently but I do like Guy and…Erm…who else do I like-Oh yeah! Sugar Blue! And a lot of the current harmonica players like Billy Branch and some of those people you tend to hear around Billy like Lurrie Bell and a particular favourite guy of mine is a white guy from Chicago called Tad Robinson, who sings and play’s excellent harmonica and has a fabulous voice and he is a fine harmonica player too.

Final question, why is it you play the blues?

It’s real isn’t it! I mean come on! It’s real!

Thank you so much for your time and ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ looks forward to seeing the Blues Band in the future.

The Blues Band are on tour and you can find out where they are playing here.

Breakfast Break

Posted in Uncategorized by teaandfruitcakeclub on March 22, 2010

‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’s’ Third Gala Meeting with guest speaker; Krissy Matthews.


In an apology of our absence, ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ has a very special guest at this week’s Gala Meeting. With the announcement of a Blues and Jazz Stage at Glastonbury 2010, we felt it to be our duty to interview a Blues artist in the spirit of this occassion.

Krissy Matthews has re-written the Oxford Concise Dictionary’s meaning to the latin saying of ‘Carpe Diem’ /’Seize the Day’. He is now seventeen and in his teenage years he has released three albums, ‘Blues Boy’, ‘No Age Limit’ and ‘Allen in Reverse’. At the early age of twelve, he performed with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers and  much more recently supported Joe Bonamassa at Ronnie Scott’s for the launch of the Marshall Class5 All Valve Guitar Amp Combo. Krissy was in session for Paul Jones’ Rhythm and Blues show (BBC Radio 2) in February and recently played live at the Elme Hall Hotel where ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ held its Third Gala Meeting.


First point to attend to, Krissy Matthews to become a member of ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’.

Those for…I!

Those against…[Silence].

Motion passed! Krissy Matthews is now a member of the ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ and as always the induction questions must follow.

How do you like your tea?

I don’t.


Nope, the only hot drink I’ll have is Hot Chocolate.


I apologise for that boisterous outburst. Please tell me you do like cake?

Anything with double chocolate, so double chocolate chip cake.

So first off, did you really perform with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers at the age of thirteen?

Yeah at twelve, over in Norway.

What was that like and how did it come about?

I went to this festival called Notodden Blues and I knew two of the guys backstage, so I blagged my way in and got talking to John, got properly introduced to him and he said to come backstage that night to see him live . Then he asked me if I wanted to play on the encore for two nights so I said yeah why not? [Laughter] It was a big surprise and it was even a big surprise to be standing backstage with the likes of Peter Green and Long John Baldry and all the British Blues guys who were supporting him. It was definitely a big surprise and at the age of twelve I couldn’t really play guitar that well but it was fine at the time…I suppose [Laughter].

How does it feel having a couple of albums released and touring at your age, when other teenagers might be at home playing computer games and football?

It feels fine, it’s hard work and a lot of gigs to get the money back from it but it feels fine and I’m hoping to carry on building up a name across Europe and get in with the likes of Aynsley and everyone. It feels good and I’m lucky to be touring across Europe.

How is it playing in a band with your father?

Erm…It’s good, there is one or two things were you can get family things. No most of its good because you can practice at home and work out things together and he changes my strings for free and I don’t do that, so that’s cool [Laughter].

Does he keep you on the straight and narrow?

He does his best to keep me on the straight and narrow but to be fair I am fine. But it is him keeping me on my own two feet and keeping me sane I suppose.

I noticed the title track of your album ‘Allen in Reverse’ was used for your GCSE Music exam, what grade did you get?

An ‘A’ I think, yeah an ‘A’. I wasn’t expecting it, I was expecting a ‘C’ because the theory side of things was…[Pause]…wasn’t really bothered and didn’t really practice so I suppose the theory must have been good enough to catch up. It was fine and I was happy with it.

Can you remember the first Blues record you heard and how has it affected your music since?

To be honest, the first band I listened to was The Shadows, Hank Marvin and the Shadows but the first blues song I heard I can’t even remember the name of it, I was just in Norway. I’m half Norwegian and there is a big scene out there so we popped into a bar, I was about eleven or twelve, there was this guy playing, you know just twelve bar shuffle, firing away on the guitar and he’s one of Norway’s best. He turned into a friend of mine. So I don’t remember what song he was playing, but that was when I first got hooked to the Blues anyway.

My favourite songs are from people like…Freddie King and his song ‘Hideaway’ which everyone likes, John Mayall, Eric Clapton with ‘Crossroads’ and all that.

Not to be rude or insulting, as anyone can have a lot or no life experiences but some might say you have not had enough to write the Blues, what inspiration do you get when writing songs?

You are right to say that but I mean you could say other white people couldn’t play the blues, you know.

I’m not saying you haven’t had any, this is only a general opinion.

I know yeah, I had a big discussion with one of my drummer friends the other day and it went on for two hours into the late hours of the night. But my songs are about school, about girls I thought I was in love with or had a little thing with. Generally stuff like that about everyday life I suppose.

Were the love birds happy about your romantic writing?

Erm…I don’t think if they even know about them so it can stay that way I think [Laughter].

A few of your influences are Joe Bonamassa and Led Zeppelin, what do you think to the newly formed super group featuring, Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham, Glenn Hughes and Derek Sherinan?

It’s funny you should say about that, I only found out about them today. Five minutes before I’m going to walk out the door to go to the gig I was watching a video of them and mate, I can’t swear right now but man! I say I like Led Zeppelin but I don’t listen to them much anymore and Bonamassa he’s my favourite modern blues player I suppose, but from the one song I saw it was quite powerful. Quite a good band I must say, or an extremely good band rather. 

Is the blues in your blood enough for you to continue being a Blues artist or do you think you may change career paths?

I don’t think I’ll change, I’ve known a few people in the past who have been amazing and have changed and have gone off the scene totally but I don’t think I will. I think I’m always going to be playing the same kind of Blues music, but who knows.

What does 2010 hold for Krissy Matthews?

There are still things in the way of being booked so I don’t know anything for definite but I’ll have to talk to my agent but I’ve got a few festivals out in Europe and one or two in England. I’ve done plenty of festivals in the past and I’m hoping to get more than I am doing this year, but we’ve been busy doing club dates and will be from September to the end of November. So hopefully we will be doing more festivals but I am still not sure yet.

There’s a place in Oxford called the Famous Monday Blues which is just a Monday Blues Club thing, I’ve always tried to be booked there but I’ve never been allowed because of my age and all this palava, so erm…he has now booked me on the first Monday as being an eighteen year old so it will be Krissy Matthews and friends so I’ll be getting a few special guests down, who I still can’t name as I am waiting to hear back from them but it will be Krissy Matthews and friends in Oxford.

Thank you so much for speaking with us and enjoy your eighteenth birthday celebrations!

You can find more out about Krissy Matthews here or here.


Letter from a friend of the ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’

Posted in Uncategorized by teaandfruitcakeclub on March 7, 2010

Dear ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’,

I am a member of the ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’s’ Friend Trust and have been since the very beginning. I read every article to the last full stop with a cup of tea in hand!

I like my tea with a dash of sugar and full fat milk please. And my favourite type of cake is Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Whilst I was perusing the internet; after reading your lovely article with Bex Marshall of course, I came across a jolly good feature on the ‘Top 10 British Tearooms’ which I saw at Yodelay Hee-Hoo (Yahoo). So I thought my fellow friends and readers of the TAFC would like to read all about my local (the Tea Cosy, Brighton) and other fabulous tea rooms across the Great British country.

Hope you enjoy!

Yours Sincerely,

Megan Surname.

PS. Will the ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ be going on tour anytime soon?

Breakfast Break

Posted in Uncategorized by teaandfruitcakeclub on February 26, 2010

‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’s’ Second Gala Meeting with Bex Marshall.


After our holiday in the arctic conditions of Bournemouth, the ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ decided on another team bonding trip, this time to see Bex Marshall perform at the lovely Elme Hall hotel in Wisbech (See ‘The Day the Immigrants Left’ BBC One, Wednesday 24th February at 21.00).

Everyone had a lovely afternoon watching Bex Marshall perform tracks from her album ‘Kitchen Table’, her yet to be released third album and some cover versions from the likes of Eric Clapton and JJ Cale, Jimi Hendrix and Howlin’ Wolf.

You may have heard Bex Marshall on the Paul Jones Rhythm and Blues show (BBC Radio 2), or even heard Bob Harris (BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music) praise her on his radio show. If not Bex Marshall will be a familiar name by the time summer comes around, because she is performing at the Blues Kitchen and the highly acclaimed Glastonbury Festival in June of 2010.

I am a fan and I hope a friend of Bex Marshall, but you have your own opinions and can decide for yourself so listen to this clip and leave a comment after for your nomination to award Bex Marshall  with ‘the Songbird of her Generation’.

Bex Marshall Clip

Welcome to the second ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ Gala Meeting on the 21st of February at the Elme Hall hotel in Wisbech with our special guest speaker Bex Marshall.


How do you like your tea?

I’m more of a coffee person I’m afraid, however I did go to a place in America called Teavana and that place was great! I had a mix of different fruits and spices but also with the kick of caffeine which coffee gives you.

Darn the Coffee and Caffeine Club, stealing all our friends and members, but we won’t hold that against you.

Favourite type of cake?

Definitely Chocolate Fudge Cake.

I sincerely agree! Sorry for that outburst but a few of us here at the TAFC argue between the obvious fruitcake choice and also Sticky Toffee or Chocolate Fudge Cake if it is on the menu and I’m a keen supporter of the warmed up Chocolate Fudge Cake. 

So how was the gig from your neck of the woods?

It was good, I mean afternoon gigs are always a bit kind of weird for me because I’m normally a night-bird myself and I’ve never been up long [Laughter] when I do an afternoon show, but yeah it was good, it was lovely to play here at Elme Hall, it’s a beautiful room, even though it was a bit ‘echoey’, so we had a few issues with the sound but that’s part of the course…but yeah we were rocking!

What would you say Bex Marshall’s sound is, for those who have not heard you yet?

I normally play solo, have been for the last few years, so my sound essentially for me is roots-rock, throw in a bit of bluegrass and a lot of slide…, electro…, roots blues.

How long have you been performing as a solo artist, as I noticed you only have the one album out at the moment?

I did do another album, my first album actually, that was seven or eight years ago and unfortunately due to bad management and the record label, it didn’t even get sent out for review [Laughter] which was a real crying shame because I still believe it is definitely a stand up album. It was recorded with a band, a full studio band and will be re-released when I get my rights back to it which will be in the next year or so…on my OWN record label.

How has the beginning of 2010 been for you?

Very good! I did the Paul Jones (BBC Radio 2) live session which was aired in January and that did me an amazing amount of good, every show since then has been a great turn out, great response and stuff. It was really good for me basically, to get that, to get that show with Paul.

How is the tour going? You’re setting off to Australia in March I believe, are you looking forward to that and how do the audiences differ?

I am yeah. The Australians are a tough crowd, I supported an Australian guy before at the Borderline, it was absolutely sold out, the most raucous crowd…ever, the Australians kind of just want to drink, you know, talk and scream and shout and it’s just mad! And they’re great but I wasn’t really the solo performer I am today, so it was an experience for me. They were totally wild from the start of the evening to the end of the evening and the other guy struggled to get any attention from them so that’s my experience of Australian audiences, it’s going to interesting but I’ve got some good things up my sleeve, got to take the shock value over there.

‘Kitchen Table’ is being well received in the US, Australia and the UK, where did you get your inspiration from and what was it like producing it yourself?

I co-produced it actually with a guy called Simon Alpinn and to be honest you never really know when you go into a studio how it is going to turn out, to be fair. I’d been playing the songs for a good year and a half so I had kind of got them down, although I hadn’t been playing with the band it was still kind of, an unknown, but we had done some prep on it and some practising with the boys and stuff, got the right players involved and basically just went in and did it. I think you can’t try and do too much prep, I mean, you’ve got to do some but the magic definitely happens in the studio. You are always up against it, time is a factor when you go into record, to be really happy with it, I really did spend some time in the mix, with a fantastic guy called Nick Hunt, and we sat there and the magic really happened in the mix as well.

There is a lot of influences in it, from all sorts of artists, I’m always getting influenced even now, on a daily basis, we run the House of Mercy and it has a radio show, the contacts that Barry, my husband, have from the Borderline, because he used to book for the Borderline, have rolled over into what we do now, so we are continually getting amazing music through the door so I’m always getting influenced by artists so it’s great.

What does 2010 hold for you? Is there a second album?

Oh, for sure. I played some of the stuff tonight, Rattlesnake, Suburban Street, Love, that’s some good stuff that is going to be coming out. I want to get a little bit more ‘gospely’ in there and some other roots instruments but primarily blues.

Any reason why you are going ‘gospely’?

The flavour was a little bit there in my second album ‘Kitchen Table’, but I really do enjoy that…I’m a massive fan of harmonies and I think a gospel vibe is a great harmony, it’s uplifting in itself and blues is a very down trodden genre, it’s usually about depressing things, so you have to get a good balance of vibe going through it. It’s going to be really nice to hear those harmonies going on, there’s going to be a lot of influences like ‘Kitchen Table’, there was a lot of different influences involved, but it will be primarily blues.

You have travelled around a great deal, what sort of places did you go and how did this affect your music?

I’ve got to be honest, I don’t think you can be a successful blues writer, performer and really feel that agony sometimes unless you’ve lived a little bit, you know. When I was seventeen I had to get a job as a croupier as I had to get a job and I wasn’t the artist I am today, I was just finding out about it, it really does take you a little while, I think, to sing and to play and to write, you can’t do it when you’re a teenager, you might be able to write/sing/play to a degree but I think quality comes with age like a good wine, with the blues.

The first ten years I didn’t really try and do anything but live and travel. I hitchhiked on road trains in Australia, I dealt in illegal gambling dens in Amsterdam, I was all over the Caribbean in cruise ships, I was partying, I was…you know, living life from the seat of my pants, taking chances and gambling and living and realising and seeing the good, the bad and the ugly…getting away with murder! It has helped me a lot in my writing, to have had some life experience under my belt and certainly with the playing. I mean, I practiced like hell, I have done for…years! I have just got better and better, from practice…and my style of playing now incorporates all the guitarists I have ever loved, there is all sorts of stuff. There’s the rock-blues, the roots-blues, there’s flamenco, there’s runs, there’s slides, but it is all gut wrenching when it comes in at the right time. I don’t want to be playing the same thing over and over again.

I remember when I was eleven, all the albums I listened to and loved,…luckily my uncle had a fantastic album collection, which kick started me on some classic stuff, but things like Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road’, there wasn’t a same track on that album, I loved that album because every song was different, every song is a story, every song has got different musicians, different artists, all kind of making Elton John music but it is his vibe going through it all. When I started making my own records, I was thinking what makes a good album and that to me makes a good album.

The question I’ve been looking forward to asking you…

Will you marry me?! [Laughter] Oh, I’m already taken my darling! [Laughter continues] That’s a different story.

Where was I? [Laughter carries on] Ah yes, you have been announced for Glastonbury 2010 for the Blues and Jazz stage, are you looking forward to that and are you going to do anything different for it?

For sure, that is going to be my highlight of my summer, it’s so exciting, I am actually going to be the first artist to open the stage as well and it is the first ever blues stage at Glastonbury so it is very exciting for me, I’ll be opening it solo, so I will have a really hot solo show and of course just finished a ten week tour of Australia, where the crowds are going to be really [Word consumed by laughter], I’m going to have to work really hard over there, so when I come back I’ll be hot and I’ll be ready to rock for sure. I’ve also got a couple of shows going on, on the Thursday and the Sunday, so I’ll be rocking.

Well all of us from the ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ look forward to seeing more of you in the future and thank you very much for your time!

If you would like to find more out about Bex Marshall, then visit her here.

Breakfast Break

Posted in Uncategorized by teaandfruitcakeclub on February 16, 2010

Morning Happy Campers!  

The ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ have returned from their well-earned ‘stay-cation’ vacation in the not so sunny but snowy Bournemouth.  

The holiday’s itinerary included such activities as beach front walks, table tennis, 1.00 pm cup of tea, Scrabble, 2.00 pm cup of tea, fruitcake devouring and finally a cup of tea at 3.00 pm. We sampled some fruity and classic tastes of the finest tea bags in the South and a big thank you to  ‘Aunty Marty’s Knitwear’, who have begun knitting cakes for the new members. However in the process of knitting the factory’s dog; Rosie, believed these to be real tasty cake treats and the knitting factory is in full swing again to replenish stock.  

Also, friend and honorary member of the ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’; Luke Leighfield was playing at the Opera House as part of the backing band for the King Blues who are supporting Enter Shikari on their UK tour. To find out how it is going for Luke, click here.  

Now back to the 9 to 5.30 and here are a few of the ‘Tea and Fruitcake Club’ Family Holiday Photo’s:  

60 Million Postcards

Refreshments after Table Tennis


A Cup of Tea in 60 Million Postcards

3.00 PM Cup of Tea.


Table Tennis

Sports on Holiday.


‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!’  

The Author.  

PS. Blues Guitarist Bex Marshall will be sipping tea with us at the end of the week.