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Gator n Chips Tour 2005

Dates:

August-September 2005

Countries:

Switzerland, England, Scotland

Line-up:


Charlie Morris in Switzerland
Charlie Morris
- Guitar

Devin strikes a typical pose in Newcastle
Devin Rice
- Keys, Harp, Guitar

Dave Clarke in the Scottish Highlands
Dave Clarke
- Bass

Marco Speedy Jeanrenaud test-drives a new car in Colne
"Speedy" Jeanrenaud
- Drums (first part of tour)


Bill Footman at the Orkney Blues Festival
Bill Footman
- Drums (second part of tour). Due to previous engagements, Speedy could only make the first week of the UK tour. Bill Footman, known to Florida Fans as English Willie, joined us for the duration, and did a fine job.

Gigs:

17 August
Hotel Eiger
Grindelwald CH

20 August
Beatrice n Christian's Wedding
Sursee CH

24 August
Malthouse
Telford UK

27 August
Great British R&B Festival
Colne UK

28 August
Clowne Blues Club
Clowne UK

2 Sept
Half Brick
Worthing UK

3 Sept
Cross Keys
Marlborough UK

4 Sept
The Bell
Ash, Somerset UK

5 Sept
Blue Coconut
Pulborough UK

7 Sept
Queen's Head
Wolverly UK

8 Sept
Globe Inn
Aberdeen UK

9 Sept
Meadow House
Berwick UK

10 Sept (3pm)
Deacon Brodie's
Dundee UK

10 Sept (9pm)
Smokie Blues
Arbroath UK

11 Sept
The Tyne
Newcastle UK

12 Sept
Studio One
Glasgow UK

13 Sept
Deep Blues Club
York UK

15 Sept
Seaforth
Ullapool UK

16-18 Sept
Orkney Blues Festival UK

Press:

Blues & Rhythm

Blues in the South

Blues in Britain wrote a nice feature article, and mentioned us on the cover!

Dave Scott, of Blues Matters, heard us at Orkney and said, "Audience participation was the name of the game and the rapturous applause at the end showed how much this intriguing group of musicians had been appreciated." He also named us Best Overseas Band of the festival!

Best Audiences:

Orkney Blues Festival

Cross Keys

Best Hotel:

Coach House, York

Best Fish n Chips:

Haddock n Chips at the Hamnavoe Lounge
The Hamnavoe Lounge, Orkney (Close Second: The Bervie Chipper, Arbroath)

Best Laughs:

Those crazy British place names!

Giggleswick

Wigglesworth

Twat

Road Warrior Award:

This year's first annual Road Warrior Award goes to Dave, who played a wedding gig with us in Switzerland, which went on until 4am, then drove a borrowed car to Olten, took the train to Basel, a taxi to the airport, and a plane to Luton, where he nonchalantly stepped to the front of a line of about a hundred people at passport control, and made it to his Godson's christening at 9am, with 15 minutes to spare! Later, a well-timed complaint about some pubes on his pillow saved us a 90-Pound hotel bill!





Charlie Morris Band at Colne

The Gator n Chips Tour was exhausting but a lot of fun. We did 2 gigs in Switzerland, 11 in England and 9 in Scotland (our second tour of the UK). As usual, the gigs ranged from concert halls to small intimate clubs to rowdy pubs. We scored feature articles in four magazines, including all 3 of Britain's national Blues mags. We saw a lot of old friends from previous trips and made a passell of new pals as well! Had our share of Real Ale, single-malt Whisky, fish n chips (had to bring our own gator), and plenty of breakfast fry-ups.



Charlie Morris Band at the Hotel Eiger, Grindelwald

The tour started in Switzerland, where we played at a street party for the Hotel Eiger (an excellent venue where Charlie has been playing since 1994). They were nice enough to give us an extra day off at the hotel, and we had a beautiful hike in the Alps. The Eiger would probably have won both the Best Hotel and Best Food awards, except for the fact that she has won so many prizes in the past that we've retired her to the Hall of Fame.

Awesome alpine panorama from First, Grindelwald



Charlie Morris Band at the Colne Blues Festival Charlie Morris Band on stage at the Colne Festival

The UK tour kicked off at the Great British R&B Festival in Colne. This was a very cool festival, with hundreds of bands playing over several days. We played on the main stage, and had a great crowd. The organizers, and the sound man, did an excellent job. It's always a pleasure to play at such a well-run Blues festival!



Speedy on the road

This was the tour of the Routings From Hell. We drove over 3,000 miles, and crossed the English/Scottish border 8 times! Sorry, guys. And let me tell you, those Brits have got some traffic jams. The M25 around London is horrendous (almost as bad as I-4). And for somebody named Speedy, there's nothing worse than sitting motionless in a sea of cars!



Charlie Morris Band in Avebury

We were running around most of the time, but we did have time to take in some tourist sights. As many of you know, the UK is one of my favorite places to travel, because of the history. I can visit places that I've read about in hundreds of books.

Li'l devil in York

Stonehenge was actually pretty lame. It's much smaller than it looks like in pictures, and it's now surrounded by a big fence (they want you to pay 5 quid to get in) and absolutely mobbed with tour-bus tourists. Nearby Avebury, where they built a village right in the middle of a big circle of standing stones, is much more interesting and much less touristed!

We also had a great time in York, a very cool Medieval walled town with a spectacular cathedral (also swarming with tourists, but tolerable). Here we had a great gig at the Deep Blues Club, and stayed at the Coach House Hotel, which we agreed was the best of the tour (save only the venerable Eiger).



Charlie Morris Band on stage at the Queens Head, Wolverley

Another thing I love about England is that those quaint English Pubs that we all love are far from rare. The Queen's Head in Wolverley was just one of many historic and picturesque pubs that we visited. I was able to have a proper pint of Real Ale almost every night.

Charlie Morris Band plays at The Bell, Ash, Somerset

At the Ash in Somerset, we had a Sunday Roast with all the trimmings: beef with horseradish sauce, Yorkshire puds, a half-dozen vegetables and a pint of good old Bitter. Perhaps the best meal of the UK tour.



Charlie Morris Band on stage at The Tyne, Newcastle

At The Tyne in Newcastle, we took advantage of a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon and played outside for a large and merry crowd!



Industrial wasteland in Newcastle

England is generally picturesque and prosperous, but she does have her rust belt.



Gettin crazy in Ullapool

At the Seaforth Hotel in Ullapool, the young 'uns got a little crazy when Can't Stop Cleanin' cranked up. They was doin' the Pogo to that country boogie! Dave just had to jump in and join 'em!



Lovely seascape in the Orkneys Devin at the Orkney Blues Festival

Once again, the Orkney Blues Festival was the highlight of our tour. The islands are amazing, stark and cold but beautiful. The people are friendly and funny, and the musicians at the festival were just too cool.



CMB sits down to a plate of fish n chips in Stromness, Orkney

We recorded almost all the gigs on our new recording gadget. These recordings became the live CD Gator n Chips, released in 2006. Hard to believe we got it done that fast, ain't it?