Any musician from Northampton, and beyond, of the past five decades could be writing this; of course, in their own way, but I’m positive the sentiments would be the same.
‘Uncle Eric’, The White Rabbit’, ‘The Singing Gnome’, The Staggering Bavarian’, ‘The Backstairs Creeper’, The Red ‘Otter’, The Beer Parlour Jiver’, ‘The Grosvenor Player’, ‘Echo’…the list goes on…all are Mr Eric Whitehouse; a man whose contribution to the musical life of our town, our pleasure, our leisure and our loathing of all things bogus, pretentious, opportunistically trendy and stuffy is inestimable. This is, I hasten to add, not to ignore the other musical luminaries of our town and surrounds’ chquered past and present, some of whom have achieved, or are working towards, major recognition and respect; that’s not at all what this is about (it’s also not a potted biography)
Simply put, Eric’s various emsembles have provided a laughter and irreverance filled safe haven for performers from all genres over many years, away from the rigid tedium of the ‘professional engagement’, the ‘performing monkey scenario’, the ‘chord inspectors’ and avid ‘behaviour managers’ (although he’s worked all these situations… just in his own way). This said, along with competent amateurs, the very best have found joy and solace amongst the army of players to have worked with him – players that have graced other stages with the like of Elvis (the real one), Peter Gabriel, Van Morrison, Quincy Jones, Georgie Fame, Tina Turner , Portishead etc etc etc
Despite the town’s favourite uncle having been seriously ill in the not too distant past, he’s still putting it out there and continues to be ‘discovered’ and respected by a new generation of gifted players who know where he’s coming from, much to the delight of thousands of us who appreciate that our musical life would never have been the same without Mr Whitehouse, nor would we have discovered the exhilaration of playing the unique styles of music (for Northampton, at least) that he has championed over a lifetime – his love and staggering knowledge of the beautiful, obscure, sometimes weird, backwaters of ‘roots’ musical genres of the past hundred years always amazes.
Three consecutive gigs in honour of Eric and musicians, past and present, that have shared and share his philosophy, and in honour of our lost friends and partners in crime, are occuring on 22nd,23rd and 24th November.
Particularly, as wounds are still open, in honour of Tony ‘Ratty’ Barford and Pete ‘The Duke’ Watkins, at each (free) gig, we’ll be asking you to give generously to ‘Hospice at Home’ (regd. charity: 1174402), after consulting with Tony Barford’s wife, Judith. ‘Hospice at Home’, aligned with Cynthia Spencer Hospice, gave Tony wonderful support during his final weeks.
NB Essentially a the ‘remainers’ of the ‘Red Hot Rhythm Orchestra’ line up, we’re cock-a-hoop and acting in a silly fashion at the news that we’ll be joined by ex ‘RHRO’ mainstay Mr Martin ‘Tadpole’ Winning on saxophone, of Van Morrison, John Martyn, et al, fame (who will be coming to ‘teyn’ in his own private train!!) + some special mystery guests!
We’d like to thank SEC Electrical and TEI Electrical and all the venues participating in this initiative for their support, enthusiasm and general loveliness.
FRIDAY 22ND NOVEMBER: 8.00PM -11.00PM
18, LONGLAND ROAD,
SATURDAY 23RD NOVEMBER: 2.00PM – 5.00PM
THE GARIBALDI HOTEL,
19 – 21, BAILIFF STREET,
SUNDAY 24TH NOVEMBER: 3.00PM – 6.00PM
THE DUKES ARMS,
83, HIGH STREET,