Given a clean slate to start what I wanted – and at last the probability that I was going to be living somewhere for more than 5 minutes, the concept came from a combination of inspiration from seeing Jools Holland live, and the film ‘Ray’ about Ray Charles.
So where do you start to put together a 15 piece R'n'B orchestra in a small rural town? We began at The 15 Minute Club – then quite a major affair held in the Corn Exchange. Someone introduced me to Nick, and we began from there. Al Cane – very supportive of the idea, and still a huge fan – put an article in the local paper for us. From that we began. I pulled in a few people from my last band in Wantage, and we had our first line up – 10 of us. Our first outing was a small slot at the Faringdon Arts Festival in 2005, which I remember being a bit crap. It wasn’t until November, when Sean Hodgson put us on in the Junior School that we had our first full set, and line up. A brass section of 10! Much better – but not nearly tight enough. To be fair, we sounded a bit like a school orchestra in places and didn’t live up to the visual image of Boogie Me on stage.
It wasn’t until the following summer of 2006 with a lot of hard work behind us when we had our first decent gig that I was really happy with. One of those odd occasions where the Arts Festival had decided not to put music on in the evening on the Saturday – so we booked to play at the back of the Crown on the Saturday night and filled the place. After a long run up – Boogie Me had finally arrived! The photo below of the ‘Band on the Stairs’ marked that occasion. Slightly smaller, tighter and a lot more experienced. The following New Year’s Eve was a smash hit and we were properly on track.
My original idea for the Boogie-Me sound was firmly based on putting something together that sounded like Jools Holland’s band. It is only when you write his music out, and then begin to play it that you realise how difficult some if it is, and when you play it live – only a few of his arrangements go down well. So early on we picked a few Motown numbers to add into the set – mainly to get enough material together. Songs like ‘Nowhere to Run To’ and ‘Chain of Fools’ were easy to write, great to play – and got an immediate, good audience response. Adding in a bunch of Ray Charles songs started to bring our sound together.
That marked the start of us growing and developing, building the set, changing it over the years, and rotating through many singers, brass players and the occasional bassist. Trying to keep our character through maintaining the Boogie Me style - which has now evolved to be such a mix of influences that I think we can now call it our own style that comes through in most of what we play – whether that be original material from the 50’s and 60’s, or a much more modern piece that we have put our own twist to.
We continue to rotate the set – it keeps us interested, and hopefully means that you don’t always hear the same stuff when you come to see us!
Jon Lane 2012
Boogie Me are a 15 piece Rhythm, Blues and Boogie band based in Faringdon, Oxfordshire, 20 miles from Oxford and 11 miles from Swindon.
Formed in 2005 by Jon Lane, the band comprises experienced players who have cut their teeth with numerous bands and orchestras. Drawn together with a collective love of R&B, Soul, Blues and obviously, Boogie, the band continues to grow from strength to strength.
With a set list that includes songs recorded by Ray Charles, Solomon Burke, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Paulo Nutini, Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone, Sam Brown, The Commitments, Blues Brothers, James Brown, Jools Holland and others, there really is something for everyone…
If you like your Blues swinging then this is a band you’re going to want to see more of…
Great evening at La Bobina tapas bar in Faringdon just before Easter. This was a fundraiser for Follyfest and a packed house had a great time. The full band was there, packed into the Minstrels Gallery. Very cool!
The next dates for 2016 are on the gig list NOW and more will be added as soon as they are confirmed.
Click here for all gig details.
Go to "Live Samples" to listen to or view "live" recordings.