P-A-U-L Lamb: A Detroit Diary comes to Britain

The United Kingdom regularly plays host to Blues bands from the United States. We invited one touring bandleader, Paul Lamb of P-A-U-L Lamb and the Detroit Breakdown, to write a diary covering his most recent tour. It is a much longer story than we usually blog, but as it is a very good read, it is attached in full. We offer a few tasters of the contents below.


So, below you can read of wild boar chorizo burgers, proper English cider, The Brookwood Military Cemetery, The Barley Sheaf in Liskeard – “a home away from home” – and a contretemps over a Blackstar amp.


You can also read Paul’s endorsement of the almighty English breakfast –  “There really is no other way to start your day” -, and about a jug of Cornish scrumpy, the Plume Fest, a rather unusual metal plate, catching up on the laundry, the Hebden Bridge Blues Festival, the Black Velvet Club in West Kensington, Euchre, Barnsley’s Polish Club and many more intriguing and surprising topics. Judging by this piece of writing, a Blues band can entertain in prose as well as on stage.

We share the warming final words of the diary below:

“What a great UK tour. We have made so many friends over the years whom have, almost religiously, come out to support each and every time. There are not enough thank you’s in all eternity to begin to show our never ending gratitude! We love all of you so much! Thanks again and we’ll see ya in the autumn! Cheers!

Paul Andrew Ulysses Lamb”

Website – with upcoming UK tour dates: http://www.p-a-u-lmusic.com

May 8th

There is always something about landing in London that gives one the feeling of a fresh start, a new adventure. In my case it always is. After touching down at Heathrow, The band traversed to Brookwood, Woking. That is where a commune of wonderful friends have hosted us for almost a decade now, The Turner household and The Bunt household. They are next door neighbors and relatives of each other. Rob and Netty Turner and their beautiful children Jake and Lucy were hosting us this particular night. Luc and Bronwyn Bunt, and their child Taran, were in Detroit, of all places! The Irony! After getting settled in we hit the local watering hole called Hunters lodge for wild boar chorizo burgers and some proper English cider. Yum! It was good to catch up with the friends, as it had been almost six months since we saw them last. We were then invited to The Brookwood Military Cemetery by Craig Rahanian. He is an old friend and keeper of the US section of the cemetery. It is one of the largest cemeteries in Europe. We were given a guided tour of the American section. It was quite fascinating learning of the different battles and the heroic deeds these men and woman accomplished. From there we went to the neighboring village of

Bisley, where the British NRA is located. Being American most of us have a gun collection in our homes. It was a fascinating concept to see all the gun clubs in the same compound. The grounds were quite vast and well organized and maintained. There were several different shooting ranges of all different caliber and distance. We then opted for a quick bite of Indain curry and threw some cards. This inevitably took us into the wee hour.

May 9th

An early rise and a quick sortment of the gear, we were off to pick up the bus and load it up. Cornwall or bust! It was a rather uneventful rainy ride to the south. No matter how many times I have criss-crossed the English country side I never get tired of its endless beauty. Stonehenge is an equal wonder every time we pass it. The Glastonbury Tor or the giant wicker man off of the M5, there are too many interesting sites to mention. We usually pit stop in Plymouth to hit the Plymouth gin factory but on this particular day the rain had slowed us down so we opted to go straight to the club.

The Barley Sheaf in Liskeard is a home away from home. We have played at the Sheaf more times than anywhere else in the UK. We arrived in the late afternoon. My new Blackstar amplifier was sent to the club because of a previous snafu with FedEx. I have been an endorsee of Blackstar for quite some time now. Their Artisan 30 amp is mind blowing, I love it! The camp at Blackstar are legends. They are wonderful people to work with. The amp was in an unopened box in the corner of the stage. Like a child at Christmas I ran over to it and unopened the box. When I opened the rather large box I found a little tiny practice amp and some bar glasses. I about lost my mind being as now I had no real amp for the tour! “No fuckin’ way,” I yelled in utter contempt. FedEx screwed me again!! Swifty ,the club owner, proclaimed “no they didn’t, but I did!” He got me good! With out even knowing the original mess up with FedEx he had taken the Blackstar out of the box and replaced it with his practice amp and then resealed the box! That’s why they call him Swifty! We laughed and laughed! We worked through sound check and settled in for a delicious homemade spaghetti dinner. Our entertainment was Marcus, a brilliantly witty 12 year old, who told countless jokes in a stand up formula that had us all rolling with laughter. After dinner we went downstairs to the club and were greeted by several friends from the surrounding area. A biker buddy of mine, named Moo, gifted me with a Harley riders of Great Britain patch for my cut. I will wear it proudly! We tossed back a couple Cornish ciders with the rest of the group.

The set went pretty well. We played about fifteen brand new songs we had never played live before. All things considered, it wasn’t bad. About midway through the set I glanced out into the audience and in true rock- n-roll pride I realized I personally knew almost all the people in the audience. The place was jumpin’! It warmed my heart. The love and support of so many great people over the years. It is my true wealth, real wealth, irreplaceable wealth.

After the show we sat and drank with our friends until the morning. Catching up on each others lives. We rested our weary heads for a while and woke to the almighty English breakfast! There really is no other way to start your day. We loaded up the bus and blasted off to Newquay.

May 10th

The band headed to the hospitable house of Neil Allen for a courteous meal and some always interesting stories. Several friends stopped by and shared some laughs over coffee and tea. We wondered down to the Library Bar in Newquay and set up for the show. My old tour manager Richard Searby-Bates and his lovely counterpart Amy showed up just after sound check and we skipped down to a sea side bar called “On The Rocks”. We were overdue to catch up on life events since we’d seen each other last.

Back at the Library Bar, Neil’s band “Blue Eyed Candy” warmed up the night with a set of classics. It was fantastic.We commandeered the stage around midnight and stormed through an hour and a half set. Lots of familiar friends were out and we enjoyed a casual after party at Paul McKenna’s house. We traded rock-n-roll stories until the sun breached the shoreline.

May 11th

The Plume and Feathers Festival in Mitchell, outside of Newquay, ws an Ale Fest with two stages and countless bands. It had been raining all day and it was pretty cold. We arrived about four and didn’t have to hit the stage until eleven o’clock. We spent the afternoon tasting Ales and eating chicken baps and yorkshire puddings. We enjoyed the bands and hopped back and forth from the festival to the nearby pub to try to keep warm. The band was last on and by this time the whole fest was a sea of happy people ready to rock. It was a dance party! We played to a wonderful crowd with wonderful energy. The sound crew, led by the legendary John Cornfield and his sonic talents, were a joy to work with. Paul McKenna and his family personally took care of us. The hospitality in this region of the world is beyond gracious. Since Paul is one of the main anchors for the festival no demand was too large. He did draw the line on the blue M&M’s only though.

After yet another great show we went back to the McKenna’s for an after party. The gathering indulged in homemade wine and Layla’s Ploughman’s salad.

May 12th

We played the Plume fest again in the mid afternoon. It was a family day and lots of people brought their loved ones out for an afternoon of acoustic music. Joey, Layla and myself don’t often get to play our set acoustically. We found we really enjoyed it and it appeared the crowd did as well. Since responsibility was all but behind us, the evening brought a barrage of several different Ales and Ciders. What a fest!

May 13th

A welcomed couple of days off started that Monday. Joey and I combed the beautiful streets of Newquay and had lunch at a place called Cafe Arie. It was so good, we ate there two more times. After lunch I received a phone call from John Cornfield himself. He proclaimed to me that he really enjoyed our sets at the fest that weekend and was wondering if we would like to play at his local club in Tywardreath. He would run the sound and he promised me it would be a great night. We agreed to do it that Wednesday. I got in contact with Steve and his wife Chris at the New Inn and it was instantly game on!

In the evening we went to another friends house for dinner. Moo, and his lovely bride Bev, made us a delicious feast of lasagna. Moo and myself talked Harley’s.We sifted through countless parts riddled across his kitchen table. The rolling chassis was parked behind the couch in his living room. It made me homesick. We all spent the evening listening to Herman Brood records. It was great!

May 14th

We stayed at the Newquay Travel Lodge. It has one of the most beautiful views of any hotel I’ve ever stayed at. It is perched atop a cliff overlooking a breath taking beach and the turbulent Atlantic Ocean. We spent our day gathering souvenirs for friends and family. We waited out the torrential rains for hours at The Red Lion pub. Then we had a late night meal in a Malaysian restaurant. We ordered our food extra hot.

Joey, Layla and myself are spice junkies. We actually challenged the chef to out spice us. He made a “special sauce” that only the Malaysians are privy to. We ate all of it and ordered more and also asked for fresh peppers to be cut into it. It was delicious. The chef came out of the kitchen and asked us if we were crazy! We all laughed. They were nice people and chatted with us till well after midnight. We then returned to the hotel (with a jug of Cornish scrumpy in tow) for some much needed sleep.

May 15th

We started the day by picking up a dear friend of ours named Mim. She had traveled down from Bristol to join us for the days festivities. We had every intention of going to Wadebridge that afternoon and seeing the gang at Protection Racket, but as usual rock & roll time had other plans for us. So off to the gig we went.

Tywardreath is a quaint little Cornish town. None of us had ever even been there. We arrived at the New Inn and met the proprietors Steve and his wife Chris. We enjoyed delicious cornish lager in their beautiful English beer garden. Chris made us homemade pasties. They were amazing! John Cornfield showed up and set up a wonderful sounding rig and we took the stage at 8. The place filled up quick as we fired into our first set. The room sounded great and it was wall to wall. In between sets I met a lot of the locals and friends and family of John’s. Everyone told me that if John puts out the word to come see a band, you don’t miss it. He has worked with some of the biggest bands in the world, so we took it as a huge compliment. After the second set we hung out with everyone. There were a lot of musicians there and several who we played with at the Plume Fest. It was fun, we traded rock-n-roll stories late into the night. We packed up the bus and said our farewells and headed to Mim’s house in Bristol for a power nap.

May 16th

We awoke to an English breakfast courtesy of Mim, and headed north, destination Halifax. The drive was uneventful and we arrived at our dear friends Paddy Maguire and Jenna Hooson’s house. It was a mini reunion because Paddy and Jenna had just visited us in the States. We served as their back up band for a couple of shows. We had a riot! When we walked in their place we saw our customized cake that Jenna made us. It featured little caricatures of ourselves made out of fondant! It was awesome and I tasted delicious! We washed the cake down with Pabst Blue Ribbon, our drink of choice in the states, that Paddy had shipped in. Then we were off to Queensbury to the Ring O’Bells for the gig. We had some familiar faces in the crowd, including a very awesome family, The Pickles. Dave and Karen Pickles always bring their two daughters, Georgia and Imogean, out to a show or two on our tours. It was a cool little haunt and after the first set we turned it into a jam. Paddy and Jenna jammed with us and again it was like we never stopped playing together.

When we were done playing, this rather odd gentleman approached me and told me a drawn out story about why he has a metal plate in his head. Then he proceeded to tell me that he loved the band because we “vibrate his plate.” As you can imagine this phrase has become a permanent one liner in our daily lives. After the show we headed back to Paddy and Jenna’s for a late night feast.

May 17th

Spent the day watching the Blues Brothers and catching up on laundry. This is a vital day in the tour schedule. Without this opportunity NO ONE will stand next to you. We whisked our way up to Skipton and settled into the club The Cross-Keys. It was a nice place with an older crowd, a way older crowd. Honestly, we just look loud so I knew we were in for an interesting evening. It was a good thing we had The Pickles and Jenna there again to keep us company.

It was a cool place to play, but the owner even said to us she usually doesn’t have drums in the place, much less American rock bands. She treated us to a pint or two and we broke into the first set. The crowd looked somewhat puzzled but they were very attentive and welcoming. At the set break we stepped outside for some fresh air and had a laugh. When out of nowhere came a large pack of party-ers, whom had just came from a Thin Lizzy tribute show to come watch us. Needless to say the bar filled up tight with our perfect demographic. It rocked! We had a long and energetic second set and everyone old and young had a good time.

May 18th

Saturday we headed to Leeds early and went straight to the club. The Duck and Drake is a happenin’ little music venue. The walls are lined with the faces of all my favorite idols. Katie, the bar manager, met us immediately and showed us the ropes. We loaded in and did a quick sound check with Dickey the engineer. We had plenty of time to kill so we wondered the streets looking for food. We shared pizza and wings, and Jenna, who had come along to chaperone the hooligans, went to the liquor store and bought a bevy of airport bottles. It seemed like a good idea at the time!

After several toasts we hit the stage. The place was packed and people were ready to rock. We played for a couple of hours and after two encores we had about exhausted the stage. We had been told by the owner Andy that music needed to stop at midnight. As I was doing the final introduction of the band, a youthful table of music lovers heard we were from Detroit and screamed out “Play some MC5!” It took me by surprise hearing this request. The MC5 was a band that I knew personally in my youth. I explained we would love to play that song but it was shortly after midnight already. The crowd wasn’t having it and finally Andy agreed to let us play on. We ripped into an ear shattering version of Kick Out The Jams! We were loving it as much as everybody else. After the show, Andy and Katie and the rest of the staff hung around. Joey found an old piano in the corner and Andy brought me one of his old guitars and we commenced a sing along. We drank whiskey and sang till well after two. In the middle of the sing-along Jenna reminded us, that back in Halifax, Paddy and his band had finished their gig and were awaiting our arrival at a late night curry joint. Upon our departure from The Duck and Drake, Andy showered us with gifts. He gave us t-shirts, a fifth of whisky, shot glasses, and even a clock made from a melted Dewars Scotch bottle! It was quite kind. We raced to Halifax where Paddy and the boys had convinced the restaurant to stay open later than usual to await our appetites. Commence feast!! The sun was well up by the time the activities ended. We went back to Paddy and Jenna’s for a cat nap.

May 19th

Double gig sunday! The first gig was a tiny little place in Halifax that had all the vibe in the world. It was called Cookies. We set up in the corner and nursed our hangovers with some complimentary Red Stripes. We kicked into our first set mid afternoon and played a somewhat adventurous gig. The band was deciding on random songs and even got Paddy and Jenna up to do a couple. Lots of local musicians came out and the little place was alive and kickin’. We were having so much fun that we played longer than we should, and the race was ON to get to Clowne for our second show. The Clowne community center was one of the best shows we did last tour so we were excited to get there and repeat. Paddy’s band went on first and Jenna followed up with them. It was great because we were like a traveling circus that day. We went on last and played to a great crowd. We only played a little over an hour and it was strange to us, because we had been playing long sets, sometimes up to three a night. After the show we said hello to some familiar faces and we all agreed another late night curry was in order back in Halifax. The place we attended the evening before was closed, but they have a sister restaurant and once again agreed to stay open late for the circus. Again, it was delicious!

May 20th

We rolled towards London after brief goodbyes, knowing we would all see each other at the end of the week at the much anticipated Hebden Bridge Blues Fest. We stopped in Peterborough to pick up our Manager and confidant, Vicky Fingeroot. Then we slid safely into London right around our beloved happy hour. We headed for The Hunter’s Lodge. Luc and Bronwyn Bunt had returned from the States and it was the first time we had seen them since our arrival. Craig Rahanian and a few of his colleagues also met us. We were an army of eclectic people from all over the world. Managers, PR reps, Models, UFC fighters, musicians and Taran (the six-foot four-inch fifteen year old destined for the NBA). The Table spoke several different languages in the bouillabaisse of conversation. We feasted. Later we would return to The Bunts for our on going euchre tournament. Great day!

May 21st

The next two days would be filled with meet and greets in London. Vic and I caught an early train to Waterloo for a first time meeting with Darren Weale. Darren has a PR agency and is working closely with a hand picked set of artists. The meeting went well and we put our future ducks in a row. The rest of the day was filled with the joys of London. We hit Denmark street to catch up with some old friends and tour all the wonderful music shops. Eventually we ended up at my favorite dive. The Crobar! We enjoyed whiskey and beer. Later on we had dinner at a sushi place across from the hotel. The cast of “The Hangover” showed up in a swarm of paparazzi. There was a Russian couple sitting next to us and the gentleman stood up and yelled “look it’s Jackie Chan” loud enough for actor Ken Jeong, to hear it. I tried not to laugh but I couldn’t contain myself. We then returned to the hotel, where three gentlemen from Finland were playing and singing to the ukulele. We poured a Scotch and settled in for the show. They were wonderful guys in London on business. We stayed up all night talking about each others cultures.

May 22nd

More of the same for Vic and myself. Another day of meetings and hobnobbing with old friends. It was my best buddy Oliver King’s birthday. As far as I know he is the king of London because he knows everybody and he constantly is introducing me to unusual places a novice would never even know of! Let’s put it this way it was another epic Oli night.

May 23rd

black velvetThe band was meeting me in London for a show at the Black Velvet club in West Kensington. I met the promoter, Barry James Gill, early for a pint. We then went to the club to meet the band for sound check. There was this fantastic Turkish restaurant across the street were we sampled traditional eats and wine. It was a great way to relax before the show. We were going to the country of Turkey in less than a week and the staff gave us great advice about places to see and things to do in Istanbul. After a long meal we returned to the the club. The Black Velvet was apparently once a strip club and it certainly kept the vibe. We were right at home. The stage was great and the room sounded real big because of all the mirrors on the walls. The audience was a collection of friends. Including Fran Leslie who used to run the magazine, Blues in Britain. She was there with her friend, who happens to be from California. It’s always good to see fellow Americans on the road. Fran has become one of our most favorite people. Every time we are in London she always has us over for tea. It’s become somewhat of a tradition now and we love it. Lisa Bardsley was also there. She is a marketing rep and it was her first time seeing us, she is a gem. The Woking family was in attendance, as well as our new found friends Natalie and Luigi, who live on a houseboat on the Thames River in Staines. There were also a few other familiar faces there, that had traveled quite some distance to see us. The Black Velvet was our only London show of the tour. Even the Finish guys from the hotel showed up! It was great! Barry treated us like rockstars and the show went off with out a hitch. Afterwards we all caught up with each others lives over drinks and laughter. We said our goodbyes and loaded up the bus and went back to Woking for, yep you guessed it… Euchre!

May 23rd

11a.m. bus call… Bank holiday weekend? Oh I get it. That’s when every single solitary Londoner goes to Scotland and the whole south of England uses the M1!! Needless to say eight hours later we reached Barnsley. We should have walked.

paul lamb polish clubThe Polish Club is another one of those great clubs that we have had the honor of playing several times over the past few years. We were greeted by the lot and kicked into sound check. Marcus Wade, the sound man, was on hand and we have worked with him so many times, sound check was a breeze. The Polish Club has an excellent stage and an acoustically beautiful room. I love playing there! The opening band was a group of young men called Swamp Fever. Cole Dalton and the boys showed up ready to rock, and they did! We had a great crowd on hand. We had several friends come out and we enjoyed pizza and beer before taking the stage. The show went off without a hitch. Loud and proud! After we took some photos with some new friends and curled up at the bar for an after party.

We loaded up the bus and headed for Halifax at about two a.m. I sat in the back of the bus starring out the window. I was enjoying the English country side by the light of the moon. I cracked a beer and started into some left over pizza. What a great night I thought. This tour has been going so amazingly well and we have one more show tomorrow at the award winning Hebden Blues Festival. What a fantastic way to finish a fantastic tour! When all of a sudden I realized I was missing my front tooth! Yep, that’s what I said. My front tooth was gone with a swallow of cold pizza!

Flashback… Many moons ago when I was a strapping young lad. I, like many youth, had an infinity for trouble. Where I grew up it was stand tall or die. One night at an over celebrated party, some friends of mine got into a scuffle with a neighboring gang. Hell hit high fire and a rumble of epic proportion broke wide. We slightly out numbered the opposition and chased them off relatively unscathed. We cheered our victory with an amplitude of poison. Hours later, as the sun crested the horizon, My girlfriend put me in the passenger seat of her car and started to drive towards her place. We had to pass through a couple of neighborhoods that we probably should have gone around. I was adamantly watching out the window making sure not to be noticed. Apparently one of my best friends, in his typical I’m not afraid of you cowboy fashion, thought it no problem to traverse this particular hood as a short cut home. There he stood surrounded by the enemy. “Shit!” pull the car over. My girlfriend through a fit! “Don’t you dare get out of this car!” she screamed. Believe me I didn’t want to, but I had to. Where I come from it would have been a bigger beating from my own crew for abandoning another than the beating that was about to ensue. I counted five of them. Back to back we did our best.

All things considered it has been several years since the face reconstruction. Only one other time I lost that same tooth. On a piece of pizza! That’s it! No more pizza! We called several English friends to find out were I could get my tooth fixed by tomorrow nights show. I had instantly required a lisp that Joey and Layla are still mocking and laughing hysterically about. In America I would have been screwed. First off, dentists aren’t open on the weekends AND it was late friday night. Second I would have had to sell all our equipment to pay for it.

Dental insurance? Ya right! Anyway, we were told to go to the hospital they have emergency dental attention there. The band went to Halifax where we required some information on the the process. I simply had to call this particular number and make an appointment for the morning. We went back to Paddy and Jenna’s house where we had a few laughs and I hit the sack because I had to be up in a couple of hours for my dentist appointment.

May 24th

Bright and early Joey, Vic and myself went to the nearby hospital. I met this very nice administrating nurse that charged me a whopping 25 quid for their services. She apologized profusely for the cost because if I was a resident of England it would only have been 18 quid. I started laughing. In the states it would have been thousands of dollars for emergency care! Forty five minutes later I was walking out with a new front tooth. I couldn’t believe it! I’m moving to England.
We headed into Halifax to do some banking and then went back to Paddy and Jenna’s for some lunch.

Off to the Hebden Bridge Blues Fest. We arrived mid afternoon and walked between venues checking out all the acts we could see. It was great! We were playing that night at the church. They had converted the altar into a stage. It was brilliant. We reunited with fellow musicians and stormed the streets watching all the different acts and feasting on the local fare. We hit sound check at six and we were due on stage about nine. The place filled up nicely. We fired through our set at the electric church to a great crowd. The stage sounded magnificent and we had a blast! After all the acts were done, the stage turned into a jam site and several players from all different bands sat in on a song or two. I got to play with Paddy and Jenna again and it was old hat. After all the smoke cleared and only a few of the staff and closest friends were left Joey, Layla, Jenna and myself snuck back into the pitch dark church. We took the stage and sang an a capella version of JJ Grey’s “The Sun Is Shinning Down.” The natural church acoustics were great! We returned to Paddy and Jenna’s. We were all exhausted.

May 26th

The band had previously been invited to stay and hang out at the fest. We did not have a scheduled slot but we stuck around and did interviews with Dave Raven and Les Young and really just enjoyed the scene. It was a lot of fun. We bounced all over and pub hopped. We left no stone unturned in that tremendous little town. Chris Gipson and his wife Katie joined us for another Turkish feast at a wonderful little restaurant in Hebden Bridge. The staff there as well gave us splendid advice we would soon be using in Istanbul. After a gluttonous afternoon we all awaited the midnight jam. It again was monumental! What a great time. When it was all said and done we returned to the house for an after party and prepared our departure.

May 27th

We returned to Woking. The band stored the gear and dropped off the bus. We did final merchandise counts and bank accounting and prepared our exit from the country. The band went to Heathrow and checked into a hotel because we had an early flight schedule. We ate and drank in the hotel bar and watched American baseball. It was nice. We talked about the highlights of the tour and everybody talked to me with a lisp. I’ll vibrate your plate! We laughed ourselves to sleep.

May 28th

Off to Turkey to join a revolution, but that is another story for another time!

What a great UK tour. We have made so many friends over the years whom have, almost religiously, come out to support each and every time. There are not enough thank you’s in all eternity to begin to show our never ending gratitude! We love all of you so much! Thanks again and we’ll see ya in the autumn! Cheers!

Paul Andrew Ulysses Lamb