PUBLISH DATE: 19 June 2005 (sorry Pam!)


When we saw on the website that Chris and Norman had a gig at the Nene Valley Railway, 4 miles from where my brother and his wife live, I rang them, asked if we could stay the night and would they like to join us to see the great singer and fabulous band that we are always talking about.

I rang
Hannah the organiser of the 'Steamin' Blues' to discover that she is the sister of Colin Hodgkinson, the well known blues bass guitarist. This is an annual event and Colin has provided, along with other musicians, the live music for the last four years. Unfortunately Colin wasn't available this year as he is touring with The Spencer Davis Group so he recommended Chris & the NBB to Hannah. 

The ticket included a trip on the Steam Railway from
Wansford Station to Peterborough and back picking up guest passengers on the way. We arrived at the venue about 6 o'clock, parked the car and wandered into the marquee to find Steve Gibson playing the drums; Paul Burgess being away in Germany. The last time we saw Steve was in the TOTP Studio and when I spoke to him later in the evening he remembered that I was the one with Adrian in the front row of the audience. We found Norman, John, Dave, Damian, Kris and Ziggy outside a caravan which was their cosy dressing room for the evening. I introduced Graham and Daphne to everyone, we had a chat, then we walked over to the platform to board the train.

When we arrived back at the venue everyone made their way to the marquee; we managed to get a table at the front by the stage! We settled down with a drink and food from the mobile catering van and waited for the live music to begin.

Norman & the boys came on stage around 8.30pm and began with 'Option On You Baby'. He asked us if we had all come on the same train!! The band played the intro to 'Ain't No Big Deal' and Chris came onto the stage. This was followed by 'Handbags & Gladrags', 'Tough On Me, Tough On You' & 'Standing On Shaky Ground'. Chris introduced the band as Norman, John & Steve from Stockport, Dave from Birmingham and Damian from Rotherham. Chris is a Londoner and an Arsenal supporter and he told us England were playing Arsenal (France) the next night! He did say he would be cheering for England on this occasion. He finished the first set with 'All Or Nothing'.

There was an interval for more refreshments and Chris to sell & sign his CDs, after which the band returned to the stage to perform a favourite of Colin's,
Clarence Edwards' 'Driving Wheel'. The last time John & I heard Norman sing this song was at the
Nantwich Jazz & Blues Festival in April 2001. Chris followed this with 'Blues As Blues Can Get', his self-penned 'Don't Wanna Sing The Blues No More', 'Guitar Don't Lie' (always a favourite of mine), 'Lonesome Road' and 'Stormy Monday Blues'. Chris thanked Hannah for inviting them and the appreciative audience for coming before singing 'Out Of Time'. We called for an encore and Chris & the band returned to give us 'Fever'.

Some of the guests left to catch the diesel train back to
Peterborough. We stayed for a chat with Norman and then said goodnight to everyone. 
This was an extremely enjoyable evening; Chris & Norman as always gained more fans and I am sure they will be invited to return another year. This event will definitely become an annual date on our calendar.