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Ffar Cotton Promotions interviews SAM KELLY on working with MICK RALPHS

by Sam Kelly on January 7th, 2012

FCP: When and where did you meet Mick Ralphs?

SK:    Rupe’s jam at The Nags Head, High Wycombe. First Tuesday of every month. I am in the house band with Dicky Baldwin (bass), Stuart Maxwell (harp & vocals, but not at the same time!!) and Jim Maving (guitar & vocals). I got talking to Dicky about his ‘Steinberger’ bass, saying that the last person I saw playing one of those was Boz Burrell (Chuck Farley/Bad Company). Dicky mentioned that his good friend was also in “Bad Company” and we went down the route of musicians seemingly being less than one degree of separation ……….!! The next month, Dicky brought his friend “Mick” along to the jam. We weren’t introduced and Mick didn’t add his name to Rupe’s list!!


FCP:  So did you get to jam together?

SK:    Yes, on Mick’s second visit he played with the house band and I thought “wow, this guy can really play”. The entire band gelled immediately.


FCP:  Did you know who Mick Ralphs was?

SK:    Not until I “googled” him!! What a guy!!

FCP: Did Mick know you?

SK:    I don’t think so. Amazing that in almost forty years in the music business our paths had never crossed. Trouble was I could never grow my hair long enough to join a rock band!

FCP: So mutual respect from the “off”?

SK:    Yes, absolutely. Both Mick and I knew nothing about each other’s history yet, on stage, it is as if we have been playing together for years. The same goes for working with Stuart, Jim and Dicky – there’s great camaraderie, lots of humour, endless unrepeatable stories ….

FCP INTERUPTION: Give me one!! An exclusive!! (was that a double-entendre!!?)

SK:    No chance – what goes on tour, etc. etc. You’ll have to interview Mick.

FCP:  OK, BACK TO THE SCRIPT: What do you admire most about Mick?

SK:    Two things really. (1) He is a great musician. (2) He doesn’t live on his past history – he has earned that right, yet he remains approachable and genuine.

FCP: Why do you think Bands work well together?

SK:    First, and most importantly, is that you have respect for each other as musicians and as people. Secondly, all the band members get on with each other, not only on stage but also in the “down time”, travelling to gigs. Thirdly, your ability as a player – i.e. what you are bringing to the table.

FCP:  Any toys out the pram thus far?

SK:    Of course – it happens in every band. And to be honest, I always look at it in a positive way. Far too often, complacency breeds contempt. Just because everything is ticking along, it doesn’t mean that everyone is completely happy with events. A band is made up with a mix of personalities, all extrovert but to varying degrees. Sometimes it takes a few heated words to force a reality check and re-access what is going on exactly.

FCP:  Future plans?

SK:    2012 is looking really exciting for Mick Ralphs Blues Band. We are at the Met in Bury on 25th Feb, Stables in Wavendon on 2nd March, Long Green Blues Club in Devizes on 3rd March, Back Stage at the Green in Kinross on 17th March and plenty more tour dates in the pipeline, including working in Europe.

FCP:  Anything else?

SK:    I’d love to record an album with Mick and the boys.

Interview ended. Many thanks to Sam Kelly for his time and contribution. Now, where’s the phone – look out Mick!!


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