Lonesome Chris Todd, kingpin of the Ballyclare blues scene, was on Gerry Kelly’s BBC Radio Ulster show today, talking about hard times, paying dues and playing some blues. Regular Afterworders will know I’m a fan… so I cobbled together a slideshow to the new song he played, ‘Red Lion Yard’.
Last spring, Chris tried his luck in Blandford, Dorset – and found that (at that time) he didn’t have any. A week was spent sleeping in his van in Red Lion Yard, a pub car park. Ironically, during that period he did manage a few useful gigs – as sideman with Billy Boy Miskimmin, next on the bill to Jethro Tull at a festival on one occasion – and got a taste of playing shows in England after years of playing only in Ireland.
Still, you live and learn – and Chris got a great song out it, ‘Red Lion Yard’. To my ears it’s as if Charley Patton time-travelled from the Delta and found himself having existential car-parking issues in Dorset.
Hopefully, 2018 will work out much better in the Ballyclare blues world.