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U.P. Wilson – ‘Live At The 100 Club, London 1998’ – JSP 5802 

After many years away I had gone back to the 100 Club to promote a series of gigs after a wonderful array of talent became available over a short period. Deitra Farr and Johnny Rawls, Lonnie Shields, Bob Kirkpatrick and Ike Cosse, Percy Strother and, as shown here, U.P. Wilson, the Texas Blues Guitar Tornado himself. Luckily this was the period when a dedicated bunch of people called Blues Archive were filming the visiting bluesmen and creating an amazing body of work, a truly unique period when there was still a whole crowd of really world class blues artists touring regularly and playing in clubs. It’s my privilege to be able to release on DVD something from Blues Archive for the very first time. And what a show it is……

U.P. Wilson was a legend of the Dallas/Fort Worth scene but was now enjoying an ‘Indian summer’ of a career with frequent European visits and festival appearances. Strangely, he was never picked up by an American label and never hit the national US circuit – but that’s a familiar story. But now there is a record of U.P.’s unique show, his tough blues guitar and all his tricks and showmanship that he was able to do because he was just so good. It was all in addition to his talents as a musician. And please note also the technical quality of this filming – Blues Archive team are all television and film professionals and we are fortunate that they bring the technical standards and abilities of their other work to this style of music.

As well as the show there is a fascinating interview with U.P. and a rare chance to see a great musician at the soundcheck (with some terrific music played as he finalises things with his team which includes drummer Steve Meek who was U.P.’s bandleader/ manager during those years).

As with so many American musicians before him U.P. ended his life living comfortably in Paris.

Maybe somewhere in the bars and dives of Texas is his replacement, learning his trade and waiting for middle age to get his break but until then here’s U.P. Wilson, a gentleman but also the toughest blues guitarist you could possibly wish for.

JOHN STEDMAN

 

DVD available to purchase at: