‘Journeyman Blues’

Following on from ‘Running Free’, this ‘Behind the Song’ is about another song I’ve recorded twice – ‘Journeyman Blues’.

The first recording of this song is on the album, ‘Have a Taste of This!’, released in November 2008. This is a solo recording, just voice and guitar, and is, perhaps, my favourite version of the song.

However, you must never look a gift horse in the mouth and, as so often happens, an opportunity came my way that was just too good to ignore. Bruce Dickinson of the band Little Angels and more recently Colour of Noise, was kind enough to contact me with a brilliant opportunity. He had heard the ‘Have a taste of This!’ recording and thought it might be fun for me to release some music with percussion and bass guitar to back me up.

Out of nothing less than altruism, Bruce arranged for me to spend a weekend at a Brighton recording studio with a couple of session musicians – Mike Sturgis on percussion (21 Guns, Wishbone Ash, Asia) and Nick Boyes on laid back bass. Over one and a half days, we recorded two tracks from scratch. One was a new version of ‘Journeyman Blues’ and the second was a cover of ‘Your Picture Has Faded’, originally performed by Blues Hall of Fame inductee Walter Davis in the 1940s. Both of these songs appear on the 2016 album ‘Can’t Teach An Old Dog’.

‘Journeyman Blues’ is musically a little unusual. For a start, it has six chords, which may seem minimal in a Prog Rock song but is almost extravagant in a Blues song. It comes out of a Dm7 tuning, for more about tunings click here, and there is the lovely sound of a Hammond organ rising to join the riff. I also overdubbed the lead break.

Lyrically it is a song about life and fate, ownership of our mostly irrelevant possessions and the value of getting your basic needs met. It is also an homage to those old blues players who travelled round America, playing their music for just a meal and a place to sleep.

One line draws attention to ‘canned heat’, which was basically a small spirit stove in the shape of a tin can. The stove used Sterno, a brand of jellied, denatured, alcohol sold in a can and generally known as ‘canned heat’ from its 1914 product name, ‘Sterno Canned Heat’. In times of need, several blues men were known to drink this spirit. A quick aside, the US rock band Canned Heat took their name from Tommy Johnson‘s 1928 song, “Canned Heat Blues”, a song about one such desperate alcoholic.

The final conclusion of the song is encompassed in the line, “Life is just a journey, and memories are all we own.“

To hear a section of ‘Journeyman Blues’ from the album ‘Have a Taste of This!’, click below:


To hear a section of ‘Journeyman Blues’ from the album ‘Can’t Teach an Old Dog’, click below:


‘Have a Taste of This!’ can be bought directly from me, here, or downloaded via iTunes and Amazon.

‘Can’t Teach An Old Dog’ can be purchased directly from me, here, or downloaded via iTunes and Amazon.

‘Journeyman Blues’ featuring Nick Boyes and Mike Sturgis was also released as a download single in 2012 and can be downloaded via iTunes and Amazon.

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