Thank you…

If I should die, think only this of me;
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
Rupert Brooke. 1887 – 1915


On the podium in the 25th Fréderic Mistral VTT Raid

25th Frederic Mistral VTT Race

Yeah!!! I made it onto the podium in second place! Don’t get too excited though, I was second in the over 60s category. However, I did ride well, and I thoroughly enjoyed the race. The 25th edition of the Frederic Mistral. One big 42km circuit around the magical mystical and very beautiful Monts de Blond.

How’d it go? I rode a measured, safe, calculated ride. I had a plan and I stuck to it. The plan was to take it steady for the first hour to hour and a half then turn it up. I started steady and found myself in the company of two other 60+ riders. One of them dropped his chain and had to stop, so I knew he was behind. The other was right in front of me. He was riding well, so I stayed where I was and shadowed him. I played it a bit cute, I didn’t want him to know I was there. I didn’t want to take it on too soon. With an hour and a half gone I was looking for an opportunity to sneak by. There was a sharp bend, and moment of confusion two or three other riders, I slipped by on the inside and upped the pace. I didn’t see him again. I pushed on hard thinking I was leading 60+ vet, but unbeknown to me there was another who finished some 7 minutes ahead of me. No matter, I had a fab day out, and loved every second of it.

Jazz n Blues Club October session….

The October session is at the Soleil Couchant on 27th starting around 8pm. This should be a great session. We have a real Jazz guitarist visiting for the first time. Also we have Steve Trotter’s new band ‘Blues System’ kicking off the second half…..playing a short set including a song from local musician/songwriter Tim Bragg’s latest album ‘Be Authentic. Come along and join in why don’tcha? 🙂

Bennettis Jazz n Blues Club October 2016

Still gigging like a good ‘un….

Last Thursday we played Devant Les Halles in Anguoleme city centre (Outside the Blues Rock Cafe. It was ‘Madame Blanc and Friends’…..a ‘put together just for the gig’ band…we had great ‘no rehearsal fly by seat of pants’ fun, and a few strong beers! 🙂
madame blanc and friends

Saturday was a private party with Jazz a la Carte. A very different night, though still great fun. We played from 8pm until midnight with a 30 minute break! A real workout!

…..and still to come in September, a solar powered gig, and a gig at a nudist camp! I kid you not! 🙂

Here’s the details…
16th September, Friday 8pm, La Caverne 14 rue Montebe?lo 86500 Montmorillon.
17th September, Saturday 8pm, Auberge du Noyer, La Brousse, Londigny 16700.
20th September, Tuesday 8pm, Camping Creuse Nature, Route de Betete, Boussac 23600.
24th September, Saturday, Private party. Solar Power!

Stay in Bed

Here is a cover version of Jess Roden’s ‘Stay in Bed’. Recorded here in France, one late night in August. Madame Blanc on vocals, Andrew ‘Supawal’ Bennet on drums, Serge Baudot on bass, me on guitars. If you like it, please comment and share it……

Fete de la Musique, Saint Junien, 2016

Today is Fete de la Musique day in France. It’s the day when just about every bar, every town, across France puts on live music. This year I’m lucky enough to be in one of the bands chosen to play in the town of Saint Junien. Yep, Jazz a la Carte will be playing from 8:30 pm in avenue Barbusse. You can find details of all the bands playing in Saint Junien here. Meanwhile, here’s the poster….

fete de la musique

Telecaster with a Bigsby

I’ve never really seen many Telecasters with Bigsby tremolos before, so when I saw this one the other day I did some research. It seems that Teles with Bisbys are uber kewl, and some people go out of their way to get them or modify normal Teles. Maybe it’s because it has a more 50s vibe, maybe it sits better with rockabilly and indie than a Strat does – cos that’s what I’d use if I needed a tremolo system. Or maybe the different action of the Bigsby is preferable, it certainly does have a different feel to a Strat.

Anyway, back to this one. A Candy Apple Red ‘Crafted in Japan’ one from around 2006. It is in fabulous condition, and plays very well. At first I wasn’t sure about it, but after trying it for a couple of hours I was won over. It’s fab, and for sale too! Tempted!

Telecaster with Bigsby

What could be cooler than a bound Tele with a Bigsby? Not much in my book! This 62 Custom Reissue was built by the fine craftsman at Fender Japan and exemplifies the quality that many players love. Japanese Fender instruments have developed quite a following in recent years for their cool vibe, great quality and excellent attention to detail. This Tele is no exception. Great specs throughout. The body is alder and is bound in white on the front and back for killer looks. The 25.5 inch scale maple neck features a rosewood fingerboard with 21 vintage frets and dot inlays. Classic Tele single coils deliver trademark twang and growl. A factory Bigsby vibrato offers killer whammy effects. Kluson style tuners keep it rock solid. This example is finished in candy apple red, Leo Fender’s favorite custom color. A really cool looking guitar with vintage mojo to spare.

Like most Fender Japan guitars, this Tele plays great and sounds good. The neck is slim and comfy and the frets are good. The pickups sound great and everything works as it should. A really cool guitar. From Shelton’s Guitars.

A visit from Supawal

Supawal my brother was over for a visit last weekend. We had a great weekend. No cycling, but plenty of beer and music. Here’s a couple of compositions that we put together….I hope you like them.

Funk 15, from an original idea by Supawal with Tim Bragg on Flute, and Serge Baudot on Bass….

F NIK2 with Supawal on Drums, Dave Purple on harmonica and bottleneck guitar. From and original idea by stratobiker :-)….

Bennetti’s Jazz n Blues Club – 3rd Birthday on 3rd April

You wanna know how it went right? It was just great! La Ferme St Michel is a fabulous venue, and with a super ‘tech’ Yann on the desk we were assured of great sound and lights. We had 17 musicians taking part and they all part their part so well. We also had super cinematic video wizard Bill Sibley on hand, and ace photographer Ian Wilson of AutoGraphracing. So without further delay, here’s the evidence…..

Here’s the fabulous Madame Blanc with Every Dog Has Its Day…..

You’ll find all the videos on Bill’s YT channel here… Bill Sibley’s YT Channel

Here she is again…..
Madame Blanc

You’ll find Ian Wilson’s picture album from the concert here.. Ian Wilson’s album ‘Confolens Jazz and Blues Party 2016’