Category: Blues

Cigar Box Guitar with a Suitcase Kick Drum

March 4, 2011 | By | 2 Comments

My old buddy Tony, who helped set up this blog some years ago, is a very talented musician, composer and luthier. Now I don’t have a musical bone in my body, but I love a good tune and his latest composition is outstanding.

He sent me this link today: and told me that he made the instrument that he is playing and he’s using an old suitcase for a kick drum. Fantastic!

He’s promised me that he’ll make me a cigar box guitar and show me how to play it but I didn’t dare tell him that I’m tone deaf and can’t keep time to save my life.

Cigar Box Hits the Right Notes

September 14, 2009 | By | 4 Comments

Take a listen to my old friend and supporter of the Amateur Brain Surgery club, Tony G., making sweet noises with his humble cigar box guitar. Now this is the kind of music I could listen to all day. Soulful sounds that will get your feet tappin’ – Excellent!

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All You Need to Make a Tune

July 16, 2009 | By | 3 Comments

Just a quick little post from me to big-up my pals shed diddley bow. It goes to show how very little equipment is needed to knock out a tune.
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Seasick Steve at The Brighton Dome

October 8, 2008 | By | 6 Comments

seasick_steve_chris_barber.jpgNearly all of the current Amateur Brain Surgery members were in attendance for last night’s Seasick Steve gig at the Brighton Dome. Only the Nurse was unavoidably absent due to her current incarceration.

In case you too have been locked away somewhere and have no idea who this guy calling himself Seasick Steve actually is: He’s an American blues man of near pensionable age who writes and sings songs about his life experiences, which have mainly been very tough. His real name is Steve Wold and he left home at the age of only 13 after his step-father punched him through the front window of his house. He lived rough for some time, jumping freight trains and doing what he had to do to get by.

Somehwhere along the way he learned to play a bit of guitar and would busk for spare change and, as he says himself, he’s still doing that today. I, and my colleagues here at the club, first became aware of Steve on the last day of 2006 when he appeared on Jools Holland’s Hootenany. He Played his famous 3-string trance-wonder and with that simple instrument he blew the roof off the studio.

Last night the Brighton Dome was packed to the rafters. Steve’s popularity in the UK has soared since that appearance on Jools Holland and he must have now played at nearly every British music festival possible. He was accompanied on stage by his youngest son on percussion and another big guy with even bigger hair smashing the hell out of a set of drums.

He played many of the tunes that have made him famous including several of my favourites; Cut My Wings, Chiggers and Doghouse Boogie. His now-famous diddley-bow was mercilessly abused as were his other instruments. But it’s Steve’s singing that most impressed me and my colleagues. He sings with ease and confidence. His accent, intonation and timing evoking a sense of familiarity with suffering and the blues.

Without doubt this will go down as one of my all time favourite gigs. He had us captivated by his humility, humour and talent for nearly two hours and he could have gone on for another two if he’d wanted too. His style of footstomping, hobo blues had the members of the Amateur Brain Surgery Club, and the good people of Brighton, hollerin’ for more.