Anyone passing the Alnwick Cricket Club one Monday morning in mid February would hardly be able to believe their ears as they heard a rocking amplified electric guitar belting out blues riffs.
This was all part of the Alnwick Probus Club’s February meeting when Ray Stephenson, of Guide Post, gave a talk on the history and development of blues music.
The talk was accompanied throughout by records, many of them old, rare shellac pressings played at 78rpm on a non-electrical wind up gramophone.
Starting with negro working field-shouts, the progress of the blues was followed through the country blues of the Mississippi delta to the city blues of Memphis, tinged with jazz, up to the electric blues of Chicago.
Occasionally a steel bodied Dobro guitar was used to illustrate a point and finally a fully amped electric guitar was brought out to show how the music of the black people of the Deep South of the USA evolved, mainly by white teenagers, into rock ‘n’ roll of the 1950s.
Ray Stephenson became interested in blues music in his school days, he has collected books and records on the subject all his life, and now in retirement his knowledge is encyclopaedic. His talk lasted just under an hour, he could have gone on all day and left his audience asking for more. A truly fascinating man.
The March meeting of Alnwick Probus Club is a talk on Sports Broadcasting on local radio.