heavy weight sounds
Everybody's been to the Blues Room right? The music is cool, the menu is good and the spot has just got enough lounge-lizard talk to make it work. So whose cracking the whip? A mean New Yorker called George Worthmore with a considerable collection of tattoos on his arms and a hands-on sex, drugs and rock and roll talent to match. I conducted my interview with George from the passenger seat of a Mustang Cobra travelling at around 200km per hour. Luckily his club has picked up as much momentum as his car because the guy's got a lot of horsepower himself. When he's not on stage, he's putting together shows or doing the live thing on the Monday Unplugged Sessions with Highveld Radio. George has been in the country for two years. His band, the Divebombers, toured South Africa in 1995 and he's been here ever since. When I ask what keeps him here he drawls a reply in a New York accent that would make Fran Dresner sound plummy. "It was a decision based on stock market policy - buy when the prices are depressed." Well, that's one way of looking at it and it's great having this guy onboard. His experience and talent in the music industry can only galvanise some serious sound action.
George has played with the likes of Ben E King, Bo Diddley and The Platters and has an understanding of what is termed "roots" music - only the Americans could make soul sound like a turnip - which will go a long way to shaping future sounds. On local blues he's got this to say: "It's too English. South Africans are growing a style from second-generation music instead of drawing from the source. Everything's too Eric Clapton here. They should go back to the origins of American blues. "Another thing I noticed is that young musicians are trying too hard. The blues are like Shakespeare - everything is all there in the text, so you don't have to do a thing, just play it and all the intent and dynamics will happen.
"If you want to know who your best talent is," he offers, pre-empting my question, "it's Larry Amos from Baxstop. The guy's a genius. I bring out about three American bands a year as a sounding board for the industry, not because they're more talented. South Africa has real talent.
"So I decided I'm going to stay. Yeah. And if you wanna know why, I'll tell you straight I dig South African women. American women are too PC. Actually everything in the States, particularly in New York, is extremely PC and very conservative. It's got so bad it's even affecting the live music clubs in New York. A lot of them are just closing down. I got political correctness rammed down my throat so far I just wanted out."
His take on South Africa?
"Well," comes the response, "it ain't the only place in the world where the electorate is smarter than the government. But what's with the interest rate, currency control and crime thing? Sort that lot out and we're in business." Well, George Worthmore is definitely in business and so is the Blues Room. This month sees US import Michael Canfield doing his thing at the club. Watch this spot for groovy music and great vibes. And if you want to meet George look around for a guy who looks as if he's stepped straight off the set of Raging Bull.
The Blues Room, Village Walk, Maude Street, Sandown. Tel 784 5527.
Article by
taken from
November 1997