I can still remember the night, about 25 years ago, when we went into The Lion in Castleford, to be confronted by a stupendous version of ‘Take me to the river’ . It was followed by a mixture of James Brown and Led Zeppelin, which was definitely not what The Lion was used to. Great things seemed around the corner. Miles, the new kid on the block guitar slinger. Gav, self-confessed Andy Fraser fan. Fatha, the oldest drummer (and indeed person) in York. I dug out one of their cds from 1994, ‘Regrets’ . A mixture of jazz, funk, soul thrown into a 13 song cauldron of original songs (bar one). Subtle hints of Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs, with outrageous pastiches of ‘Burlesque’ and ‘Reeling in the years’.
But that was then , this is now. Fatha had to retire the other year, as he was officially the oldest person in the universe. Miles and Gav are soldiering on though. Tonight is a mixture of pub rock standards, with some not-so standard. Blues/R&B fans would be catered for by ‘Let’s work together’, ‘Dimples’ and ‘Riot in cell block no.9’, Hendrix aficianados got ‘Fire’ and ‘Foxy lady’. Familiar to the Castleford pub rock regulars were ‘Sunshine of your love’, ‘You really got me’ and ‘Gimme all your loving’. ”Something in the air’ (Tom Petty version), ‘Rocky Mountain way’ and ‘Love the one you’re with’ (with a touch of Hendrix) were a refreshing departure from the standard Castleford setlist of AC/DC and Thin Lizzy. We had to leave before the end for the bus.
So why didn’t the Blueflies conquer the world in the mid-nineties? Hard to say. Maybe the industry couldn’t cope with the diversity displayed on their 1994 cd. They were too busy looking for the next boy band or Oasis/Blur clone. It had taken R.E.M more than a decade to achieve their deserved status. Plus Miles has always seemed to have parallel careers in a more jazz-based field.
In terms of the pub covers scene, you won’t find much better, and there were plenty of the Castleford Friday regulars in the Junction rather than the Lion. And the people in the Junction deserve it. They have resurrected the place as a real ale venue, and don’t even try to compete with Wetherspoons. Her Ladyship and I try to get down on a Friday night at some stage. BUT, it would help if they could advertise the music night a bit better (rather than just in the local Castleford paper which we don’t get).
Check out the group and the venue if you haven’t previously, you won’t be disappointed.