Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Another Man Done Gone...

Once again the season of funerals  takes us into its melancholy embrace...

Last night, October 18th, a musician who inadvertently played a part in my creative life, died, one Bob Brunning, original bassist with Fleetwood Mac, one time member of Savoy Brown, author, a fount of knowledge on Britain’s R&B history. He was just 68; it was sudden, a heart attack.

Bob’s career in music began in the early 60s down in Bournemouth, where he played with, among other people, DJ Tony Blackburn, back in the days when TB had aspirations as a singer. With his band at college, Fives Company, he got signed to Pye Records and released three singles.

Then came his stint with Fleetwood Mac, followed by the earthier experience of hard-core blues with Savoy Brown – as Bob quipped – “more money and more gigs!” But Bob fancied a real ‘day job’ and in 1969 became a teacher, a career which would span three decades. There were other notable acts he played in, too – such as the legendary  Brunning Sunflower Blues Band with Savoy Brown’s Bob Hall (piano).

He also recorded with Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood and Danny Kirwan under the name Tramp , with fellow ‘South London Delta’ legends Jo-Ann and Dave Kelly. Yet his prowess as a blues bass man is best represented by listing all the great names he played and/or recorded with – a veritable ‘who’s who’ of true Blues:  J.B. Hutto, Johnny Mars, Eddie Burns, Jimmy Dawkins, Lightnin' Slim, Whisperin' Smith, Homesick James, Snooky Prior, Eddie Taylor, John Wrencher, Erwin Heffer, Dr. Ross, Errol Dixon, Jimmy Rodgers, Dave Peabody, Otis Grand, Paul Lamb, Chuck Berry, Memphis Slim, Jimmy Witherspoon, Eddie Clearwater, Georgie Fame, Charley Musselwhite, and many, many more. In 1980, he formed The De Luxe Blues Band featuring Danny Adler, Bob Hall, Mickey Waller, which eventually welcomed the talented sax player player Dick Heckstall-Smith into its ranks.
And now he’s gone, leaving his wife, three grown up children and six grandchildren. As a writer, Bob was the wellspring of all British Blues history. I treasured his book Blues – The British Connection as a valuable archive of source material. He was there, at the centre of it all, as it happened - a major player in a musical movement which has meant so much on both sides of the Atlantic.
He wasn’t simply a footnote in British musical history. He was a stand-alone chapter, and will be greatly missed by many. RIP, Bob Brunning: 1943-2011.


Simon Brunning said...

Thank you for this. A minor correction; it's three children, and six grandchildren.

Mac Member Music said...

He shall be sadly missed. I have spent many a day listening to Tramp, Brunning Sunflower or The De Luxe Blues Band, and have loved all of those albums.

May he rest in peace.

Freja Brunning said...

He will be missed so much. most amazing granddad in the world and i'll never forget about him :(

Roger Dopson said...

Sorry to hear this - Bob was a lovely, lovely man.

UnrulyStu said...

Sad to hear of Bob's passing. I spent some time with him last year researching a piece on British blues - see my tribute to him here:

Les Bass said...

Bob was a very close friend from our college days back in the sixties. My fondest memories of him are as a truly devoted family man and a great friend. But his contribution to the British and particularly the London blues scene via his many bands, recordings, books, BB's Blues Club and his annual Merton Abbey Blues Festival was immeasurable. He will be sorely missed by not only family and friends, but by many blues fans to whom he gave so much pleasure.

Eric Campfens said...

Through a mutual friend, Stuart Booth of Booth Book Publishing, I learned about Bob's death. I am very sorry to hear he passed away.

I was brought in contact with Bob through the aforementioned Stuart regarding Bob's book "Blues In Britain". It was Bob who was mechanical in me starting writing about blues and my first articles were published in the British Blueprint Magazine in 1996 and 1997. Now I have my own website and of course I have placed an article on Bob's passing away.

Bob and I lost contact over the years, but I still remember him as my inspiration in writing.

My sympathy goes out to his family and friends.

Best regards,
Eric Campfens

Burg. Stulemeijerlaan 65
3118 BC Schiedam
The Netherlands

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