Hamburg Live '95

Mick Clarke, Chris Sharley, Mick Hawksworth

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Mick writes:

Back in the 1990s the Mick Clarke Band was pretty busy. We were touring regularly across Europe, particularly in Switzerland, Austria, Italy, The Netherlands and Germany. In March 1995 we returned to Hamburg.

This is a recording of our show at a club in Hamburg called The Honigfabrik - literally an old honey factory. It's still there, actually, but more of a culture centre than a rock'n'roll venue. The band is 3 piece, featuring my good friends the mighty Mick Hawksworth on bass and Chris Sharley on drums. Mick is very sadly no longer with us, but Chris is still rockin' on the drums. Mick was once described, very accurately as a force of nature.. that's about right. Chris Sharley is simply a great drummer. I've been very lucky to have worked with both of these fine musicians over the years.

The set was given to me as a cassette recording, taken from the sound engineer's desk. It's a bit dodgy in places, so apologies to headphone listeners if you have to follow it around a bit, but I've done what I can to improve the quality. Still far from perfect, but I think it's worth a listen, because it is a record of how we were at that time, and is, I think, a lively and entertaining 40 minutes - some track by track notes below.

It's funny listening back. My style has changed a bit over the years and I would not do things the same way now.. however I think we did a good show for the audiences we were playing for at the time. Good times, never to be repeated.

So pour a beer, turn the volume up and come with us back to a rockin' Friday night in Hamburg 1995. I hope you enjoy the music.

That's Alright

I was once told that you should never start a live album with a fade-in. Well.. here we go again. I couldn't help it because the first part of the song was missing on the cassette and then the next bit was all wobbly. But I thought that the soloing etc was quite exciting and worth keeping. Anyway, just imagine you've turned up late and the band's already playing as you walk in .. we've all done it. That's Alright by Jimmy Rogers.. still a favourite.

Backseat Blues

Another track from the "No Compromise" album.. our current release at the time. Romps along at an improbable pace. Mick H displays his virtuosity throughout, especially the call and answer at the end.

Produce Row

Back in the 80s we did a lot of work in the USA - based in Portland Oregon. A couple of times the great John lee Hooker came through - he was touring regularly up and down the West Coast. So of course we went to see him. He played at the Starry Night which was a really nice large concert hall - big enough to generate a vibe but not so big as to lose the vibe.. I hope you understand. So we were filled up with the boogie, as my friend Rod remarked on another occasion. And we walked home through Produce Row where the trucks and trains came in to collect the fruit and veg for distribution around the area, and yes, I think a train came through while we were there, although I don't think I engaged the driver in conversation. Back over the Hawthorne Bridge to my friend Michael Kearsey's house where we were staying. Great times.

Mean Old World

The T Bone Walker song. My guitar at the time had mismatched pickups so I was able to get a pleasing out of phase tone if I set the controls in a certain way.. sounds nice. Very P.A.Green but, well, you have to, don't you?

You Need Love

Well I've been playing this song since 1968 - first with Killing Floor and then my own band. It was actually the first ever Muddy Waters track that I bought - Earl Hooker on guitar - fantastic. Anyway this version definitely rocks.. as good a three piece flat out version as I've ever recorded, so here it is. I can't play that fast any more.. arthritis.. but that's OK. It's good to listen to this stuff and go back a few years.. 25?

Gypsy Woman

Another favourite Muddy Waters tune.. it's got a nice little melody and good lyric. Always fun to play and still in the set today.

Crazy 'bout a Woman

Dedicated to Wife Linda .. always crazy 'bout that woman. "She walks into the club, don't have to pay - she walks up to the band and tells them how to play".. Yup, that's Lin. A nice piece of rock'n'roll dating from the late 80s.. in the middle I go a bit nuts and play a medley of a few things that amuse me.. a bit of Freddie's "San Hozay" (sort of).. a bit of Peter Gunne.. a bit of the Hall of the Mountain King (Grieg I believe).. all good fun. It's Rock'n'Roll.. and I still like it.

Hope you enjoy this blast from the past.. 40 minutes of full tilt boogie..can't be bad. Keep Rockin!

Mick Clarke - Hamburg Live 1995