Bob Hall is a boogie-woogie pianist who has contributed to many of the great Blues projects on the London scene over the last 50 years. Born in Surrey in 1942, Bob first heard boogie-woogie played by Winifred Atwell in the early 50s, but when he heard the Blues of Howlin’ Wolf, he became a true believer. He learned piano from his Dad and, as a student in 1963, he got a place playing keyboards with Tony McPhee‘s Groundhogs, who toured Britain as John Lee Hooker‘s backing band.
After a couple of years touring the clubs with the Hogs, Bob became a founder member of Savoy Brown with Kim Simmonds
, and enjoyed several years as when the British Blues Boom
kept them busy with constant touring and recording. In 1970, Savoy Brown split, although several of them regrouped as Foghat, but Bob never committed to a regular band again. However, he did play with ‘ad hoc’ groups like Tramp, with Danny Kirwan
and Mick Fleetwood, and Rocket 88 with Ian Stewart
, Jack Bruce
and Charlie Watts in the 70s and 80s.
Bob playing ‘Pine Top’s Boogie’ at a European Festival;
Bob’s main occupation from the mid 60s has been as a reliable side-man for touring Blues Legends, like Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter
, Mississippi Fred McDowell
, Homesick James
, Lowell Fulson
and many more. He was also a regular partner of Jo Ann Kelly
, her brother Dave, and his project with harp player Paul Jones
, the highly successful Blues Band, and Bob was often seen with Bob Brunning’s Sunflower Blues Band. He also cut a great live album at the 1986 Cambridge Blues Festival, backing Charlie Musselwhite
with his pal Dave Peabody.
The title is ironic, as this is pretty much all boogie! Only available as an MP3 now, this 2003 album mixes some classic Blues tunes with Bob’s quirky compositions. Bob and his small group of friends create an intimate atmosphere on these sessions, much like his club performances.
DON’T PLAY BOOGIE
In 1993, after a mere 30 years in the business, Bob released his debut solo album, ‘At the Window’, revealing his talents as a songwriter. Bob is a serious student of his instrument, and his knowledge of Blues piano has seen him author books, magazine features and encyclopaedia sections, as well as sleeve notes for the Yazoo label. He continues to tour the British and European Festival and club circuit with his own outfit, Last Chance Saloon, when not pursuing his ‘day job’ as a lawyer.