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Billy Jenkins

News Archive 2012-15

The latest archives can be reached here.
Various articles, features, interviews and archive trivia from the 1970's onwards can also be found at the Billy Jenkins Webzine site.


Refresh Yourself.....
New 'Music For Download' Album Out Now
Archive Footage Reveals Jenkins As A 'Young Fogey'....
Obscure Jewels Of The British Jazz Underground
The Best Way To Eat An Apple
Three Gems of Gentle Daftness

Save These Billy's!
Farewell Dave Hatfield...
Woke Up This Afternoon.....


Critics Warm To 'Semi-Detached' Music
Humanism, Blues & Bereavement
One Step On From The Blues
What's This I Hear? A New Billy Album?
Musicians - Do You Remember Them..?
Documentary Update
Scare Electric Loop Bill
Steve McManus - A Great Musician
Too Many Months On And Counting...
Austerity Aural Art


Getting Down And Dirty...
The Sweet Smell of Success...?
'Blues Al Fresco' - The Live DVD Ten Years On
'Violent Lewisham' Confuses Jenkins!
'Entertainment USA' - Celebrating Independence Day


Jenkins Spotted Hanging Round Pub Toilets.....
'The Drum Machine' Brecon Bash!
Desperate Times In The Music World
Jenkins Endorses Poet Jazz Man John Clarke
A Ginger Baker's Nutters Live CD Emerges...

2008-2011 can be sourced here.

.......'Jazz Gives me The Blues' an Album of the Year 2011....Billy with Arthur Smith on BBC R4....... Glasgow Herald feature.....BBC Big Band Play Billy.......Hysteria, Fear & Live Music.....BBC Ban Billy.......BBC Apologise To Billy......and much more!

Various articles, features, interviews and archive trivia from the 1970's onwards can also be found at the Billy Jenkins Webzine site.

Three Gems of Gentle Daftness

Ian McMillan Shed Short
Shed. Box.Toys.Bliss....                                © Simon Thackray

Archive creative waves wash onto the internet from Simon Thackray and The Shed. As his website tells it:

"Ian McMillan’s spontaneous improvised retellings of three of the world’s most famous stories, with music by Billy Jenkins from his 2014 album ‘The Semi-Detached Suburban Home’ (Music for Low Strung Guitar).

The films – FRANK, Yorkshire Nativity and Assassination of JFK, were made using a cardboard box and children’s toys and performed with no script and no rehearsal in the space of just 10 minutes on an afternoon in Brawby, North Yorkshire in 2002.

Filmed by Simon Thackray in his kitchen using a Canon XM1 during a break from a rehearsal of ‘HAT‘ – The Shed’s Award-Winning ‘words, music and knitting’ spectacular.
Ably assisted by Angie Harrison and Sam Thackray.

Enjoy a few moments of gentle daftness here.

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Save These Billy's!

Billy jenkins Shed postcards
A Box of Billy                 © Simon Thackray

Help needed!

Shed supremo Simon Thackray is hidden under a deluge of specially commissioned Shed Billy postcards...!

When giving the Shed HQ a necessary spring clean, about 1,500 postcards of the guitarist landed on top of him!

Simon says:

"If anyone wants 1 or any number up to 1500, rendezvous can be arranged for discreet hand-over on Showfield Lane, Malton (appropriately named) at time and date tba....."
That's Malton as in North Yorkshire...

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Farewell Dave Hatfield....

Many creative musicians throughout the world will be sorry to hear that the  music promoter and supporter Dave Hatfield recently slipped away.

His tireless work as part of Leeds Jazz and latterly with Fusebox ensured folks like Mr Jenkins were able to perform their music in Leeds over the last three decades.

Billy was deeply touched that in 2010, Dave was able to get up from his sick bed and make his way down from Leeds to the London Jazz Festival to especially enjoy the guitarist's concert with Iain Ballamy and the BBC Big Band -
and, that night, the musician especially dedicated 'The Duke & Me' to Dave.

We send our thoughts and a big hug to partner Jenny, kith, kin and Dave's many friends from all walks of his inspiring life.

This posted on Facebook by Dave's buddy Mike Murphy:

Dave Hatfield

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Woke Up This Afternoon.....

Billy Jenkins waking up
Woke up this afternoon....          © Steve Morrison

2015 promises to be a fertile year for Billy listeners and audiophiles!

Having spent the last six years going 'one step on from the blues' - consoling, collaborating, creating and conducting humanist funerals, guitarist and composer Billy Jenkins has had to cease offering his (literal) services.

For, since 2010, the demands and emotional toll of officiating meant that all music creativity ceased and last year, emotionally exhausted and peopled out, Jenkins quietly slipped away from public ritual into a support and mentoring role - whilst laying down in a fallow field....

And, lo, after a few months of quiet destabilisation, musical shoots are slowly sprouting!

First recorded release of the year is due out in the Spring on Jazzman Records.

Provisionally entitled ‘A New Life – Independent, Private and Youth Jazz in Great Britain 1970-1990’, it's a CD, double LP and Digital Download collection of various artists and jazz creatives and it includes 'High Street/Saturday' from the first VOGC album - 'Sounds Like Bromley'.

Although this track is readily available online, the release of this collection puts the guitarist's work into a historical context.

Meanwhile, the new year sees Jenkins returning to the recording studio for the first time since 2010 to record a follow up to
'The Semi-Detached Suburban Home (Music for Low Strung Guitar), a collection recorded in 1994, but released only last year to critical acclaim.

Working under the sensitive ear of musician, engineer and producer Charlie Hart in his Equator Studios, where 'Jazz Gives Me The Blues' and other recent works were recorded, Jenkins - who has often cited that, 'a guitar is just a desk to work on' - has even had his low strung guitar restrung and serviced by the brilliant and handily SE London based luthier Graham Parker. So this truly does mean the guitarist is focusing musically!

Also, three other albums worth of new works have also started and, intriguingly, rumours abound that the superb Pigfoot, with VOGC and Blues Collective alumni trumpeter Chris Batchelor, pianist Liam Noble, tuba player Oren Marshall and drummer Paul Clavis might be presenting a concert of Billy music in the near future!

Apart from listening to the recordings, it'll be the the only way to hear Jenkins' music live this year - for it seems he has left all public performance (be it musical or pastoral) far behind him..... 

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Critics Warm To 'Semi-Detached' Music

Semi detached House


Max Reinhardt
, presenter of ‘Late Junction’ BBC R3, cites Billy's new album as 'what seems set to be my album of the year'...

Clive Bell, writes in Wire Magazine that 'this could turn out to be Jenkins's best loved album', although that wryly follows the line that 'the average length of of theses 30 pieces is under 90 seconds.....'.

And over in the Jazzwise jazz world, the diligent and understanding Andy Robson proclaims - 'raise a glass to a masterpiece in miniature!' And even uses the word 'magical'....!

And we at billy.com recommend you spank this link to allaboutjazz.com - where the 'librarian, guitarist, violinist, bassist, author, journalist, reviewer and editor Roger Farbey has written a superb review - whilst cross linking to the Uncommerciality three album 'magnum opus'.

Read it and you'll really want to purchase those tracks for your own mobile digital music carrier!

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Humanism, Blues & Bereavement

Billy Jenkins Humanist Officiant 
Billy Jenkins. At Your Service. Literally....

It has been several years now since Mr Jenkins began an 'open ended sabbatical' from performing live music in public. 

Unsurprisingly, he has found his work with the British Humanist Association as a humanist officiant - creating and conducting non religious funerals and collaborating with families at one of their worst times of their lives, rather conflicts with the hedonist joys of music making.

But he asserts and assures that he is 'in a groove with the funerals.They satisfy my creative needs whilst helping folk during the worst time of their lives, instead of satisfying my creative needs - whilst perhaps occasionally giving folk the worst time of their lives.....'

In 2011, he was interviewed by the award winning anthropologist and writer, Dr Matthew Engleke - who  kindly agreed for the complete unedited transcript to be reproduced on the The Billy Jenkins Webzine site.

Respectfully spank your mouse here.

But going 'one step on from the blues' is not the only reason Jenkins has stopped performing.

On his superb Jazz Breakfast, the superb blog curated by the most learned and erudite journalist, writer and jazz critic Peter Bacon, he asked the question 'How do jazz musicians earn a living?'

Amongst many interesting comments, Billy dwells upon the 'perfect' storm', that has been brewing for the last twenty five years or so.

Read it here!

In a private reply to an acknowledgement, Jenkins added the footnote:

     'I should have added to my bit about teaching in an FE Music department in the early 1990's and watching technology gradually replacing the edict of every single note and noise being the responsibility of the practitioner, budgets being squeezed by the demand of regular software and hardware updates and the sharp roll off of students wishing for lessons in guitar techniques...

    'One just knew 'it's gonna all end in tears....'!'


After six years of intensive interaction with grieving families - consoling, collaborating, creating and conducting bespoke funerals,
Mr Jenkins instinctively felt it time to step back from conducting ceremonies, whilst continuing to offer background support to his fellow BHA celebrants.

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One Step On From The Blues

Billy jenkins humanist funeral
 'At your service. Literally.'                     ©Peter Daub

The Blues is an affirmation of life. 

For a man to call his free and fast flowing instrumental ensemble since 1981 the The Voice of God Collective - citing that 'the Voice of the People is the Voice of God - and the religion is music' and then preach the blues seriously since the mid 1990's, suggests a man who fully accepts that there is but one life, with no 'Invisible Friend' to guide one to 'the Promised Land' and supposed eternity.

Add a thorough grounding in backstage antics as a pre pubescent C of E choirboy ('great music, crap lyrics...'), it is hardly surprising that bj.com is proud to announce that Billy (now he's a properly grown up fiftysomething) has been studied and trained with the British Humanist Association and in 2008 he became an Accredited Humanist Officiant approved by the BHA to conduct non religious funerals.

    'I have nothing against those who need spiritual guidance to help them through life, although I draw the line when religious fundamentalists evoke one or all of what I describe as the 'Three 'C's: Conning, Controlling and Killing.....', says Jenkins.

    'A fitting funeral ceremony can do so much to assist and accept closure and to open the door to the initially painful and empty path of life one has to continue with. It is a threshold that has to be crossed.'

    'Amazingly, too many people are still unaware that a funeral can be 
non religious and I recommend you find out more about the work of the BHA and their ceremonies (they also officiate at weddings, baby namings and civil partnerships) at www.humanism.org.uk.'


After six years of intensive interaction with grieving families - consoling, collaborating, creating and conducting bespoke funerals,
Mr Jenkins instinctively felt it time to step back from conducting ceremonies, whilst continuing to offer background support to his fellow BHA celebrants.

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What's This I Hear? A New Billy Album?

Guitar afar in Lewisham
Did I hear a twang...? 
      © Steve Morrison

What we at billy.com are hearing is that the guitarist, urban musicographer, humanist funeral officiant, Suburban Billy Jenkins is soon releasing a previously unissued masterpiece from the cupboard under the stairs!

Entitled The Semi-Detached Suburban Home (Music for Low Strung Guitar), it is the intimate, inner sanctum music of a composer who, over three decades, has created aural art collections inspired by location, in particular – ‘Sounds Like Bromley’ (1982), ‘Greenwich’ (1985), ‘Scratches of Spain’ (1987), ‘Still Sounds Like Bromley’ ( 1997) ‘Suburbia’ (1999) and ‘I Am A Man from Lewisham’ (2010).

From those aural art impressions came another strand of work - the blues creations - in which Billy’s unique and impassioned guitar style drives on his musicians, creating an orgy of collective hedonistic joy!

But sometimes one needs to get away from all that sweet and inspiring collective cacophony. As on ‘When The Crowds Have Gone’, the solo steel strung acoustic guitar album released in 2004 and now on his new album, the guitarist and composer needs occasional doses of solitude to recharge and refresh. 

For inspiration, as on many albums before, Billy traces the musical psychogeography of the suburbs, finding stimulation in the mundane and the everyday.

The pieces, all for solo acoustic steel strung guitar, are arranged in six ‘rooms’. A walk through the semi-detached house he then resided in, in Lewisham, South East London – from hallway, through front room, the back room office, dining room, kitchen and then upstairs to bathroom and finally, the bedroom.

Wire, wood, skin and nail – all thrown into silence to create invisible audio images of everyday household objects and events and skillfully captured in close microphone glory by long time Jenkins producer Tony Messenger.

                            Suburban Home

This exciting UK digital only release is now available on all platforms.

The Semi-detached Suburban Home is perhaps the first recording that Billy feels works best as a digital download and as a ‘near field headphone experience’.

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Musicians - Do You Remember Them..?

Lewisham Jazz


Do you remember them....? 
Used to pass through the Watford Gap Services at 2am.....

And when musicians get together to play - sparks fly and the resonance warms the heart.

Especially Billy's music. He's likened his musical interactions to 'one night stand group sex - but without body fluids or a trace of guilt.....'

He painstakingly picks an ensemble, has a quick briefing, talks everyone through the musical charts, gets them together in a recording studios, red light on and it's GANGBANG style! 
Music making how it should be.

Do you remember music...? 
Used to touch the head, heart and feet - totally drawing one into a sonic landscape. 
It wasn't just an aural accessory for electronic visuals..... 

So treat yourselves or a loved one to one of Billy's CD's this festive season!

Do you remember CDs? 
Like MP3 but with full spectrum audio and every breathe, scrape and twang preserved.

And in these austere times and the light at the end of the tunnel having been switched off, once more we remind you you can get 


We at billy.com are excited to make available especially for your holiday entertainment (UK orders only) three Billy Calling Card CD's for just £19.99 
(inc. postage and packing)!! 

I Am A Man From Lewisham
BORN AGAIN (And The Religion Is The Blues) 
Jazz Gives Me The Blues 

All come in digi-file free standing card wallets 
and are dispatched directly from Billy HQ!

This special offer is only available from jazzcds.co.uk and only in the UK.

Details and critical acclaim for each album can be found on the 
Recordings+Shop page!

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Documentary Update

Religion is the Blues Billy

This update from filmaker Antonio Rui Ribeiro, who after a period of three years in the making, has now put the final touches on a feature-length documentary about British jazz and blues musician Billy Jenkins.

"The Religion is the Blues is a film about how Blues music has made Billy Jenkins, a renowned British Blues singer and guitarist change his approach to life and his music. 

Billy, has been playing his shows - part music, part stand-up comedy - across the UK and internationally since the 1970s. With the decline of traditional music sales and following a period looking after his father-in-law, a dementia sufferer, Billy decided to train to become a Humanist funeral officiant. 

The film takes us through Billy's music and inspiration in his early years and a career spanning four decades, offering a rare and intimate insight of his newly found spiritual role and his very unique take on religion, life and death."

It's a revealing documentary, not just about Billy's music and humanism, but a sobering statement on the state of the creative music industry today.

The trailer can be viewed here. 

Mr Ribeiro is currently in discussing with commissioning editors house and interested parties can contact Antonio here.
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Scare Electric Loop Bill

Scare Electric with Blues Collective

Never one a fan of 're-mixes'- Billy Jenkins always puts musicians before machines, but we at billy.com are happy to share an inspiring use of a Blues Collective loop by AZIZ, recorded at the end of the last century and posted (with the permission of Mr Jenkins) by Scare Electric.

Using a four bar loop from the start of 'Every Night You Turn Away' from the 1996 'S.A.D.' album - it features a moment in time, captured so beautifully by engineer and producer Tony Messenger -  with Thad Kelly on bass guitar, Mike Pickering (drums) and Whispering Gerry Tigue on harmonica. 

If you listen closely, you might be able to hear Billy nodding his head in the background before he stabs the listener through the heart with some truly scary electric guitarwork. Except, AZIZ has cleverly ignored that - going for the underbelly.

And the silent guitarist would be the first to agree that it is a most fine reworking indeed!

Be seduced and enjoy some fine graphics here!

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Steve McManus - A Great Musician

Steve McManus bass player

News filters through from the Musician's Union that the great bass and double bass player Steve McManus sadly succumbed to cancer earlier this year.

The Stage reports:

"West End musician Steve McManus, whose credits included Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Witches of Eastwick, has died aged 48.

The musician, who played bass and double bass, had been battling cancer for the last five years and died in January.

As well as performing in the orchestra pit on many West End shows, including Betty Blue Eyes, McManus also featured on the soundtracks for films and television productions including Torchwood, Doctor Who and The Hunger Games."

Billy always enjoyed working with Steve in various function bands - on account of his passion, enthusiasm and musicality. So in 1991, the guitarist brought him into the studio and, as a result, made two superb contributions to Uncommerciality Vol.3.

You can hear an extract of his timeless bass playing talents here on 'Dancing In Ornette Coleman's Head'.

Billy says:

Thank you Steve. It was an honour to make music with you. 

As they say - 'the value of life lies not in it's length, but the use we make of it...'

You certainly did that.

My thoughts are with your family and friends.

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Too Many Months On And Counting....

Julian Siegal directs Billy Jenkins
                            BBC Big Band
Conductor Julian Siegal directs the nineteen piece band in rehearsal       ©Steve Shepherd

Recently, when bravely out on a rare visit to Lewisham town centre, Billy Jenkins bumped into Lurca - a fine fellow Man From Lewisham, family man turned reluctant dog owner, excellent photographer and fanatical live music enthusiast.

And he had just one question - 'when are you playing live again?'
Frustratingly for him, it was a query the guitarist was unable to answer.

And that got Billy thinking. Was it that long ago that he last played music in public?

The 21st November 2010 on London's South Bank was the date and the Purcell Room was packed to the rafters as conductor Julian Siegal directed the nineteen piece BBC Big Band through some of Billy's music, beautifully arranged by Iain Ballamy.

The first call lead trumpet on the concert was the legendary Derek Watkins, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

Billy had previously met Derek when they both booked to play on a jingle session.

'Why aren't you taking your coat off, Derek?' someone asked him.

'Because this is a 30 second jingle. And that's how long it will take us to record....' replied the trumpet genius - who always led from the front.

And he was right.

Onstage, on the night of the 'BBC Plays Billy' concert, this time Derek 'led from the back' and the guitarist well remembers a deep discussion with him pre gig about exactly what Derek and himself had eaten the night before. Like musicians do.....

Although the concert was recorded and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 for 'Jazz Line Up', it is unlikely it will ever be broadcast again.

Re-live that memorable night by appreciating some wonderful photographs taken by Eliezer (Elie) Dinur of the South East London guitarist enjoying himself, presumably safe in the knowledge that he was, indeed, safe in his 'Sarf Lundin' manor....

Re-read the pre concert Q & A with Mr Jenkins that appeared on the BBC R3 Facebook site here.

And find out more about the event, including the wonderful musician line up on the bj.com Archive page here!

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Austerity Aural Art

Billy Jenkins Calling Card CDs

In 1992, VOTP Records issued the Billy Jenkins First Aural Art Exhibition.

It was the guitarist's first CD release on his own label.

Like a visual art exhibition, it featured ten 'works' from the previous decade of vinyl and cassette releases - selected by a panel of sixteen keen Billy listeners.

Twenty years on, we at billy.com are excited to announce that 'due to the economic downturn - and the fact that 'the light at the end of the tunnel has now been switched off'...., VOTP are offering a special austerity package of the available three Billy Calling Card CD's for just £19.99 (inc. postage and packing)!!

I Am A Man From Lewisham, BORN AGAIN (And The Religion Is The Blues)  and Jazz Gives Me The Blues all come in digifile free standing card wallets, are dispatched directly from Billy HQ and this special offer is only available from jazzcds.co.uk.

Details and critical acclaim for each album can be found on the Recordings+Shop page!

Why you should take up this generous Calling Card Collection offer:

  • A chance for you to explore, or to introduce a friend to the music of Billy Jenkins.
  • Treat your family and friends to a unique Billy musical greeting card - one that sits free standing on the table or mantlepiece!
  • His music uses real musicians. Do you remember them? Every single note scraped out of silence and every note created with the heart, mind, hand and ear. Often in an ensemble spontaneity that mixes written music with instant creativity. A kineticism that is being eroded in this tick box accountability culture.
  • The musicians who work with Billy are very special people. Most of them have devoted their lives to their aural artistry. They do not steal, insult, hurt or offend anyone. Music is a medium that enriches. Billy and his wonderful record producers and engineers capture every facet of their art. 
  • Music isn't what most folks perceive it as these days - half heard from myriad environmental sound sources - be it a passing car, shop muzak, a smartphone, an open window, background candy on a television trailer or the neighbours....
  • The sonic range of music on a CD far outstrips that on MP3 download. 
  • Although all Billy's albums are created and constructed 'symphonically', to be listened from start to finish, why not give yourself to just one Billy track at a time. Place yourself stereo centre in front of a modest hi-fi system. Do not use headphones! Feel the resonance and drink in the imagery. It will feel good deep inside.....!

£19.99 isn't too much to help bring real music back into your life or that of a loved one or friend!

Or, as comedian, critic and Billy listener Stewart Lee once wrote in Q Magazine:

      'There is a kind of genius on our doorstep. Don't let him die in poverty.' 

Spank that jazzcds.co.uk link now!

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Getting Down And Dirty...

Billy Jenkins supports Brawby

The local Gazette & Herald snaps Mr Thackray and Anne McIntosh MP 
hearing the sound of Jenkins wafting out of the sewers in Brawby...

If not having been noted hanging round the entrance to a pub toilet is low enough for Billy Jenkins to stoop, he's gone even further now. Into the sewer....

The guitarist and composer has literally 'stepped into the breach' to add his support to the campaign that genius art visionary Simon Thackray is running to encourage the 'powers that be' to repair the leaking sewers in Brawby, the North Yorkshire spiritual home home of The Shed - the legendary venue Thackray has been running for the last twenty years.

Jenkins piece of music 'Terraced Fast Food', from the 'I Am A Man From Lewisham' album currently accompanies a CCTV inspection of the sewer in a 'trailer' for what will become a longer 'movie'.

Mr Thackray explains:

"Brawby Sewer CCTV Inspection – The Movie! is an eye-watering colonoscopy of Yorkshire Water’s failed and polluting Brawby sewer. 

This unique docudrama features contributions from some of the leading lights of free improvisation, jazz, blues and classical music, including Billy Jenkins, Matthew Bourne, Oren Marshall, Kit Downes, Stanley Bad, Alan Tomlinson, Mark Sanders and Jan Kopinski, with narration by Stewart Lee."

You can get a 'whiff' of the campaign and be mesmerised by the Jenkins sound (with Nathaniel Facey – alto Saxophone, Dylan Bates – violin, Gail Brand – trombone, Dave Ramm - keyboards, Oren Marshall – tuba and Charles Hayward – drum kit) - here on YouTube!

And do get a full blown further whiff of Mr Thackray's inspiring and creative campaign at www.thesewer.co.uk!

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The Sweet Smell of Success...?

Billy Jenkins naked
© Nick Corker

The digital age has taken this man's shirt, 
his music, his shoes. 
With nothing else to take, 
there is nothing left to give...

How nice to see Billy Jenkins and the Blues Collective in a Top Ten collated by The Guardian newspaper recently!

A pleasant surprise that someone took the trouble to champion his music.

It was a playlist of 'Songs About Smells' and a reader recommended 'I Love Your Smell' from 'sadtimes.co.uk' -  which might well be the CD of the website, or the website might be the site of the CD....

Anyway, 'great!', we thought, a bit of PR for the miserable guitarist, still bemused that, after twenty three years, the same paper decided his birthday wasn't worth listing anymore (though fortunately, to placate his wobbly fragile creative ego, The Times did list it).

But, hang on. A proviso of sending in a recommendation is that the song had to be available on YouTube. To listen for free.....

Lovely, but, in a mouse click, a classic example of how the currency of recording is as good as worthless. It's impossible to recoup the cost of creating.

And, in a way, if heard via computer, or other online mass information device, half heard for just a few bars and compressed beyond resonation - before a compulsive finger flick or click moves the insatiable mind onto another instant diversion, music is worthless too. 

Musicians still have a lot to give. But it's a two way experience. The listener has to give themselves to the music.

Support Billy and his work and bring back the true musical experience by treating yourself or kith and kin to the whole 'sadtimes.co.uk' album. 

As esteemed critic Ben Watson wrote in a review for Wire Magazine in 2000:

"Jenkins packs the 'icepick in the forehead', 'right note in the wrong place' R&B attitude that Zappa admired in Gatemouth Brown, Guitar Slim and Johnny 'Guitar' Watson. It's like a barbed wire fence swearing at you. The notes jump out like they're possessed. It's astonishing.

But - born too late for the platinum escape hatch that popped open for Jimi Hendrix and Cream - what can Jenkins do with his outrageous talent? His answer is to wrap his guitarism in lyrics that trash Mississippi clichés, a suburban surrealism derived from pantomime, The Beano, Sid James, punk, street furniture and shopping centres - any aspect of contemporary life allergenic to blues romance. Comedic bathos repels superficial listening, tests your ability to discern exceptional music. 

In Richard Bolton (rhythm guitar), Jenkins has a sophisticated harmonist; in Dylan Bates (violin), a player who knows that without grit the notes won't work (one day Jenkins will surely compose him a concerto of Sugarcane Harris proportions). The opening of "Badlands" - a superb integration of dub and guitar twang - could be an On-U Sound production: despite the jokes, the music is that inspiring, that heavy.

Billy Jenkins with the Blues Collective: a reproach to contemporary blandishments that'll be 'discovered' by arsehole advertisers 20 years too late. Just like the blues....."

Thirteen years on from the album release it appears, as Billy predicted, that we are indeed living (and just about surviving) in sadtimes.co.uk.....

Order you copy or download for the price of a bottle of wine here!

All orders from jazzcds come with a signed Billy postcard!

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'Blues Al Fresco' - The Live DVD Ten Years On

Billy Jenkins BLues Al Fresco film

Folks keep lamenting that Billy isn't performing live anymore..... 

So whilst Antonio Rui Ribeiro's superb documentary 'The Religion is The Blues' (see story above) does the round of commissioning editors and film festivals, in the interim, why not treat yourself, or a friend, to a copy of 'Blues Al Fresco' - the Blues Collective live in concert beautifully filmed ten years by director Philip Vallentin?

Its never been shown on network television or YouTubed on the web - it's only available on DVD via jazzcds.co.uk and the Billy Office here.

Find out more and see some clips here at Mr Vallentin's own website Espresso Animation!

      'Catches the band at their chaotic, deadpan best. Touches the heart, the 
funny bone and the soul in equal measure.'
                                                               John L. Walters / The Guardian

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'Violent Lewisham' Confuses Jenkins

Billy Jenkins Lewisham Clock Tower
Lewisham Clock Tower of Power!
©Steve Morrison

In 2013, the leafy SE London borough of Lewisham was statistically proven to be the 'least peaceful' and 'most violent place in the UK'.

But long time proud resident Billy Jenkins recommends listening to his 'I Am A Man From Lewisham' CD.

'It's full of life affirming energy, community spirit and feel good factors', says the 56 year old guitarist and composer.

But this contradicts with elements of his work. Does not the title track feature gun shots and short-wave radio police messages?

'Maybe not many folks can tell the difference between a gunshot and a 350 cc single cylinder motorcycle backfiring....', offers Jenkins.

'And if you really listen and understand the phonetic alphabet - the police are actually discussing which takeaway to visit. And, to that end, I'm not inferring the police are not doing their job. Far from it. Perhaps they police our borough so effectively, the statistics are no doubt accurate - thus zooming lovely Lewisham to the coveted Number One slot!'

Find out what on earth Billy is talking about by treating yourself or a friend to a copy of  the critically acclaimed 'I Am A Man From Lewisham' here!

And, as it says in the album sleeve notes - 'Love wherever you live!'


'One of the great unclassifiable forces in the British underground. His ever-fascinating career takes a joyful turn on an album of pubsy knees-ups, blues growling and deliriously rude brass. He also conducts humanist funerals. Versatile!' 

                                                            Gavin Martin / The Daily Mirror

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'Entertainment USA' - Celebrating Independence Day


July 4th marks adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring American independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. 

In the old days, it was celebrated by thirteen gun salutes, double rum rations for soldiers and, in 1783 in Salem, North Carolina, a 'challenging music program' was performed.

And, just over two hundred years later, an independent musician from Great Britain created his own 'challenging music programme' - 'Entertainment USA', which was released on CD in 1994 and features the wonderful Martin Speake on alto saxophone, Roy Dodds on drums and Steve Watts on double bass.

Oh, and some great twangy Stratocaster guitar playing from Jenkins himself!

Read about the making of the album on the Billy Webzine site here.

Then treat kith and kin to some aural cartoon-ery by sending them a copy via jazzcds!

All copies sold via jazzcds get a personalised signed Billy postcard!

Ye - HAH!

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Jenkins Spotted Hanging Round Pub Toilets.....

Wetherspoons Bromley Billy Jenkins
Hanging rounds toilets......as spotted by Dave Yates

Although not one to frequent licensed venues (unless on musical matters), Mr Jenkins is most flattered that he is one of several 'local heroes' to adorn the walls of the Richmal Crompton Weatherspoon pub in Westmoreland Place, opposite Bromley South station.

Perhaps, rather fittingly, his photograph is right next to the gentleman's toilets....

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'The Drum Machine' Brecon Bash

Martin France drummer
Martin France - drum maestro.

'The Drum Machine Plays The Battlemarch of Consumerism' - the extended composition created, composed and scored for six drumkits by Billy Jenkins, was performed at this year's Brecon Jazz Festival on Saturday 11th August.

Directed by drummer Martin France, one of the key percussionists in Jenkins' various VOG Collective projects since 1988, it was performed by percussion students from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.

Written at the end of the last millennium, with funding from Tony Dudley-Evans, Birmingham Jazz and the ACE, it was previously been performed at the Birmingham Artsfest, the Rhythm Sticks Festival at London's South Bank and at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival.

Interviewed for Making Music magazine in 2000, Jenkins explained that the piece was born out of hard-core political necessity:

      "This is war, We have the right to work. Technology and machine 'music' is taking our livelihood away. I want folks in clubs dancing to real musicians - those who take the responsibility for every single sound they make, not a pre-programmed pathetic microchip with parameters, pressed once by a self appointed purveyor of so-called music taste."

And there is no doubt that the last decade has seen the real musician more and more marginalized - not least helped by the selfishness of the solitary DJ, increased ambient sound all around us - be it folks talking into mobile phones, ever louder car stereos, the continued aural pollution of 'background' but more like foreground music, the rise of compressed digital recorded sound sources that constrict timbre and intonation, as well as the decimation of live music outlets due to the 2003 Licensing Act and cuts in arts funding.......

The score encapsulates an aural history of 20th Century popular music drum styles and, as Mark Walker (himself a well respected drummer) wrote in Rhythm magazine in 2002,  ' ...nothing could prepare us for the passion, enthusiasm and sheer joy that followed once the six drummers had taken their places behind their kits.'

We at bj.com are delighted that Brecon Jazz Festival programmer Huw Warren (himself another Billy VOGC alumni) asked Mr France to present 'The Drum Machine'.

The widely read Jazz Mann Blog liked it. Read his words here.


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Desperate Times In The Music World

Dylan Batesor is it Lynda Beast
©Simon Thackray

Shocking images reach billy.com via Simon Thackray of the legendary 
The Shed® fame!

It looks like things have got so bad in the music business that genius Blues Collective violinist Dylan Bates has had to resort to soliciting on the streets of Ryedale.

Mr Thackray assures us he booked the luscious Lynda Beast to brighten up the lives of those who wander aimlessly through the streets of grey clouded North Yorkshire towns.

Maybe he's right. But it sure looks like Dylan to us!

Take another look...... 

Lynda Beast and singing butcher
©Simon Thackray

Here she/he is singing a duet with the local butcher. That well known pop song 'You Were Made For Me(at)".....

Worrying times, indeed......

Simon Thackray and The Shed® are currently celebrating twenty years of creative madness. Humanist funeral obligations have prevented Billy from joining in the celebrations, but there's still so much to enjoy - including past Billy collaborators Ian McMillan, Mark Sanders, Oren Marshall, Snake Davis, Stewart Lee and others!

Get thee to The Shed® site now!

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Jenkins Endorses Poet Jazz Man John Clarke

Jazz Man John Clarke

Twenty First Century Beat poet Jazz Man John Clarke has a new book out! Billy should know - he had the honour of writing the forward for it!

Amongst others things, Jenkins says this:

    "I have no time for imitation. Yet John works a genre decades old that, 
     under his pen, becomes refreshed, revitalised, reinvented and reborn.

    He is indeed everybody I meet, his art old as rivers of time. 
    Fired by a muse that burns so bright I fear spontaneous combustion. 

    Careful how you hold this book. It might burn. 
    But beautifully.
    With life.
    And with love."

In 2008, the guitarist collaborated with John and other inspiring SE London improvising musicians on the Jazz Circus project. 

It was, as it turned out, the musician's only recording of his guitar playing that year. 

'All The Way From Kathmandu' by John Clarke is published by Nirala Publications.

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A Ginger Baker's Nutters Live CD Emerges...

Giner Baker Billy Jenkins and
                            Nutters at Newcastle

The Nutters headbutt Newcastle 'Rock On The Tyne 1981. L to R: Keith Hale (keyboards), Ginger 
Baker (drums), Ian Trimmer (sax), the late Riki Legair (bass) and Billy Jenkins (guitar).

In 1981, Mr Jenkins spent a year touring with legendary drummer Ginger Baker - who felt compelled to call the band 'The Nutters' on account of the disparate mental state of his musicians.....

A CD of a concert they gave in Milan that year was released in 2011 on the Floating World label. 

Inventively entitled 'Ginger Bakers Nutters - Live In Milan 1981', it's a two CD set which can be ordered from your favourite online store.

We at billy.com are unable to extract any insightful and witty observations about the concert from Mr. Jenkins, as he has no recollection of that night at all - save he recalls the theatre having a marvellous stage backdrop of a city at night.....

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