Big Town Playboys
The band was formed in 1985 by singer/pianist/guitarist Mike Sanchez and (mostly upright) bass player Ian Jennings, a couple of teenage rockabilly freaks, along with former Chicken Shack bassist and frustrated guitarist Andy Silvester. Their reputation spread rapidly, partly due to support from Robert Plant, and one year later they were supporting Eric Clapton at the first of his Royal Albert Hall residencies, a feat repeated twice more including 1996. Mike and Ian continued to refine the band introducing more blues and attracting some of the UK's best players.
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The roll call includes guitarist Steve Walwyn (Dr Feelgood), Adrian Utley and Clive Deamer (now part of Portishead), Leo Green, Qran Morrison, and current whiz kids: Andy Fairweather Low (as well as Clapton he has worked with Linda Ronstadt, George Harrison and Chris Rea) and Frank Mead (who has stood beside many of the greats in the world of Blues and Rock: BB King, Albert King and Collins, Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers, Gary Moore and Eric Clapton to name but a few. He is also to be seen with The Earl Green Band). Drummer Mark Morgan was a 'local star' in the West Midlands whose playing also attracted the attention of Jeff Beck (movie soundtrack to the 'Little Big League'). Nick Lunt plays Baritone sax not only in The Big Town Playboys but also in a swing band called Big Six. He has appeared on many records with other artists (such as James Hunter and Van Morrison) and played live with James, Jools Holland and backed visiting US artists.
However, the band is in its complete form that are the rear stars, they have recorded with Jeff Beck, ('Crazy Legs' CD, a tribute to Gene Vincent and his band, 1993), Eric Clapton (Soundtrack 'The Colour Of Money', that billiard player movie with Paul Newman and Tom Cruise), Anne Dudley (Soundtrack 'The Pope Must Die') and played live with Robert Plant and Jeff Beck as well as with blues & jazz greats like Champion Jack Dupree and Little Willie Littlefield at the 1st Burnley National Blues Festival 1995 (available on CD). They have featured on many television and radio shows in the UK, on the NBC Super Channel ('Talkin' Blues'), the anniversary of radio Bremen in Germany 1995 and German TV at the Leverkusen Festival 1996.
There are three studio albums: 'Playboy Boogie' (1985), 'Now Appearing' (1990), 'Hip Joint' (1995) and now a new live album 'Off The Clock' (double CD 1997) featuring the best of their set with both originals and brilliant versions of the blues catalogue.
Frontman Mike, also doing some solo projects, appeared with four songs on 'The Blues according to...' (CD Germany 1993) and three songs were published on the CD of the 3rd Alexis Korner Memorial Concert 1995. Talking about Memorials: In May 1995 Mike joined the stage at the 2nd Lee Brilleaux Memorial with Dr Feelgood and naturally also took part in the late night jam session - an memorable event. Hopefully he also will be present at forthcoming memorials! At last 1997 saw the release of his first solo album 'Just A Game' presenting 12 self penned and arranged songs - Mike all alone with his wonderful voice and the piano (only at one track he played guitar).
The arrival of guitarist Andy Fairweather Low in 1997 was a great coup, he had just finished six years with Eric Clapton and his addition has taken the band to new heights. Andy appeared on countless albums of many artists and bands since he started playing a long time ago.
As an live act the Big Town Playboys have visited the USA three times, made many appearances at the cream of the UK as well as at European festivals and clubs. 1997 they have headlined at the Burnley Festival and in summer they were featured amongst others at Pori and Notodden.
Sad news came in October 1998: Nick Lunt, who toured at the same time in the USA with The Big 6, decided to leave the Big Town Playboys. He played the baritone sax in the band for many years, and the other Playboys wish him all the best for the future.
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