Monthly Archives: March 2013

John and Tim go back to school

Guitar tutor John Gregory and harmonica player Tim Cass performed two half hour shows for the children at Laxey School today (Tuesday, March 19).

John had been invited to play some music at the school and asked Tim if he would like to come along. The duo are known in the Isle of Man’s music scene as Blue John and Papa Cass.

They talked about their instruments and played a handful of blues and folk songs. They also performed some nursery rhymes for the younger children in the first half hour session.

John and Tim at Laxey School 190313 - Copy


John plays at Victoria House Nursery in Douglas every week but the Laxey School visit was the first time both Tim and John had played in a school.

John said: “It was a hugely enjoyable experience and I would like to thank the children and the staff at Laxey School for their hospitality.

“It is a lovely school and the children were fantastic.It was so nice to see them all clapping along and to hear the younger children sing along to the nursery rhymes was wonderful.”



Blue John and Papa Cass on the radio

A performance by John Gregory’s blues duo, Blue John and Papa Cass, will be played on the radio tonight (Tuesday, March 12).

They will feature on Dr Philip Ratcliffe’s Sounds of the South show on Dunoon Community Radio in Scotland.

The show is on from 8pm to 9pm. To listen online, visit the station’s webpage here and click on the link

Blue John and Papa Cass performing at the Institute, Laxey

Dr Philip Ratcliffe is the author of Mississippi John Hurt, His Life, His Times, His Blues and he gave a presentation and a performance in the Isle of Man on March 2 to mark the 50th anniversary of the re-discovery of the acoustic guitar legend.

The event was organised by John Gregory. Blue John and Papa Cass – along with their friend Pete Woodman – were also on the bill.

Blue John and Papa Cass  features John on guitar and vocals and Tim Cass on harmonica and vocals. The duo formed in 2007.

Picture by TGF Photos – Tony Goldsmith

Guitar legend Mississippi John Hurt remembered

Mississippi John Hurt died in 1966. I was born 10 years later. But there is no question that the man’s playing changed my life.

John Hurt first recorded in 1928 but sadly his recording career at that time was very brief.

On March 2 1963 blues fan Tom Hoskins knocked on John’s door at John’s home in Avalon, Mississippi. This encounter went on to give John a second chance of a career in music (at the age of 71). John went on to record many albums and play many concerts. His music and guitar style influenced countless musicians around the world and continues to do so.

At the Institute in Laxey, Isle of Man, on Saturday, March 2 2013 we celebrated 50 years to the day since the ‘re-discovery’.

Dr Philip Ratcliffe, author of Mississippi John Hurt, His Life, His Times, His Blues, gave a wonderful presentation about John Hurt and also performed some of his songs.

Dr Phil has played an important part in the story of Mississippi John Hurt in recent years.

While researching the book he discovered recordings of John Hurt made on March 3 1963 by Tom Hoskins .

Those recordings are now available on CD.

On the night my friend Pete Woodman also gave an excellent performance and the blues duo I play in – Blue John and Papa Cass – finished off the evening with a selection of John Hurt tunes. For the final three numbers  – Praying On The Old Campground, I Shall Not Be Moved and Goodnight Irene – both Pete and Phil joined us.

Pete Woodman, Tim Cass, John Gregory, Dr Phil Ratcliffe

The concert and presentation sold out two weeks in advance and the audience was simply wonderful and sang along on numerous occasions. It is a night I will never ever forget.

Mississippi John Hurt’s granddaughter and Tom Hoskins’ sister sent messages of support which were read out on the night too. It is hard for me to describe what the event as a whole means to me. As the organiser I wanted to make sure we performed the best possible tribute for John Hurt. And I am happy to say I think we did just that.

Photo: Left to right, Pete Woodman, Tim Cass, John Gregory and Dr Phil Ratcliffe (Picture courtesy of TGF Photos – Tony Goldsmith)