Dick Heckstall-Smith, co-author and the subject of Blowing the Blues, occupies a unique, if not necessarily desirable, position in the world of music. He has, in one form or another, been responsible for bands like the Animals, the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, Fleetwood Mac and others becoming realities. He was an essential component in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, Colosseum, and the Graham Bond Organization, bands that provided a blackboard upon which various musicians would come and scratch out their musical ideas.
For all he has done and been responsible for, the gifted horn player remains no more than an asterisk, a footnote, in the history of rock and jazz. He never had the big hit single or stumbled upon the winning formula,
but he was a critical part of the evolution of British blues, and his wonderful biography talks about that journey.
There are unbelievable stories here about working with Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Charlie Watts, and a host of others. There are touring stories, drinking stories, and fighting stories. The horn player approaches them all with a grin and a chuckle.
Additionally, the accompanying CD includes seven previously unreleased tracks. Anyone interested in the early history of English blues and rock needs this one on the shelf.