In February 2012 I recorded a great CD with some incredible musicians. The album is titled “She’s Ready” a live session. It features two original tracks written by Katie Bradley (me!) and Dudley Ross, they are ‘I hear the river’ and ‘Be careful with my baby’. It is now available at my nice new website:
I hear the river (2012) – was inspired by a trip to America in 2001, not long after the terrible September 11th attack. This was my first trip to the U.S and I had been looking forward to the breezy – go out and get it attitude I had experienced in friends and family from the U.S. However the news channels were pouring out terror alerts, which were quite exhausting to watch, but in my uncle’s bar and every other bar in the vicinity, the bar flies were glued to the screen. I met some great musicians during my 7 week trip amongst them was the swampiest Bluesiest Hammond player I ever heard Stephen Miller….
“1965-1968 were the years Steve hung at “ Mother’s Blues Club” in Chicago, often jamming there with Otis Rush. Big John’s, in old town, was where he would go to jam with Magic Sam, Luther Johnson, James Cotton, Muddy Waters, Luther Tucker and many other blues dignitaries. This was also the time period that the Lynn County Blues band put out the albums “Till the Break of Day” and “Fever Shot”. Wow!
I also spent time in a very prestigious Jazz Club where I was bumping into all sorts of musicians, I befriended a young sax player who would occasionally whisper info in my ear about players in the band, for example the mysterious silver maned bass player ? “He played with Billie Holliday in the 50’s” I was thrilled to have just played a few numbers with this guy. This was the great thing about being in Florida, the musical cream of New York and other major cities may want to retire in the sunshine state. Florida has so much to offer in this respect, these guys were legendary and I felt the privilege and thrill. So the music was great but the climate was still shaky due to recent catastrophic events. I went back to my Uncles house and found his guitar.
(My Uncle Pete and my mother Shelagh used to play around the Folk and Blues Clubs in London in the (very) late 50’s early 60’s including The Original crawdaddy, Eel Pie Island and were offered a recording contract. My mother has such vivid memories of these times, but maybe I’ll write about this in more detail soon.)
As soon as I picked up the guitar and started to strum. I was feeling a gospel rhythm, but with a swampy feel, which transcended into a chant. Rivers have always fascinated me. The River Corrib in Galway, Ireland – has an amazing current; it is almost a rapid, a formidable body of water charging to the Atlantic. I could watch it for ages. As an artist and a poetry lover, I have always been taken with John Everett Millais painting ‘Ophelia’ which is spell-binding. Rivers are related to rebirth, healing and it is present in religion and mythology and of course a place of baptism, or renaissance.
So there the song was born, on the muddy riverbank in the tropical heat of the glades. The song was a lot faster in it’s original format, but when Dudley heard it, it was taken down to an atmospheric pace and this gave me the inspiration to re-wire the song to conjure all these feelings and senses. A tribute to the healing properties of ‘the river’ and its ability to wash away pain and re-create….