The Groundhogs with John Lee Hooker

Critically acknowledged as Britain’s finest blues and boogie pianist, Bob Hall’s distinctive and original piano style has influenced generations of piano players and left a lasting legacy.  He first came to fame in the rhythm ‘n’ blues explosion of the sixties, as a founder member of The Groundhogs and later Savoy Brown.  Other blues stars he played and recorded with at that time included Alexis Korner, Peter Green (in the Sunflower Blues Band) and Spencer Davis.       

        Savoy Brown  1966                                                    

 

Bob with Alexis Korner                                          

              Bob with Chuck Berry

Whilst many of his contemporaries went on to international fame, Bob preferred to stay at home in London, pursuing his passion for the blues and from 1966 to 1985 acting as accompanist to a host of touring bluesmen including:

 John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Jimmy Witherspoon, Chuck Berry, Homesick James, Lightnin’ Slim, Lowell Fulsom, Charlie Musselwhite, Snooky Prior, J B Hutto, Lazy Lester, Baby Boy Warren, Eddie Burns, Eddie Taylor, Big John Wrencher, Mickey Baker, Cousin Joe Pleasants, Sonny Terry and Eddie Clearwater.

    

Bob with Lightnin' Slim

                                   



 Bob with Cousin Joe Pleasants

         Bob with Paul Jones

In the 1970s and 80s Bob led head-lining bands Tramp and Rocket 88,  whose sidemen included Jack Bruce of Cream, Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones and Mick Fleetwood and Danny Kirwan of Fleetwood Mac. Rocket 88 recorded a classic album for Atlantic in 1981. From 1979 he has also been a  featured guest with The Blues Band, an all star line-up including Paul Jones, Dave Kelly, Tom McGuinness, Gary Fletcher and Rob Townsend.

In 1991 and 1993 he won the British Blues Connection Instrumentalist of the Year award.

As an acknowledged authority on blues and boogie woogie piano, Bob has contributed to a number of magazines and books and was the sleeve-note writer for Yazoo Records acclaimed piano blues series.  He also worked on the piano sections of The Routledge Encyclopaedia of the Blues (2006).

 

              

Starting in 1991, Bob formed The Bob Hall Show with his long-time partner, Hilary Blythe, whose crystal-clear harmony vocals and rock-steady bass playing underpin all their performances.  A diminutive dynamo, Hilary’s own moving treatment of blues and gospel classics are highlights of their show. 

Bob and Hilary’s concerts, as well as their self-penned musical shows “Good Liquor! Hard Times” and “Nobody Knows You When You're Down & Out”, have been widely applauded both in the UK and around the world, by audiences at festivals, clubs and arts venues. 

In 2003/5 Bob and Hilary joined the European Blues Association as tutors on its Exeter University Blues Week.

Bob & Hilary's current ventures have included the formation of Bob Hall's Last Chance Saloon, a formidable trio with award-winning guitarist Dave Peabody, and highly successful European tours with the Louisiana blues legend Lil' Jimmy Reed.

 

Last Chance Saloon

Hilary Blythe & Bob Hall

Lil' Jimmy Reed

Bob has established a permanent place on the festival circuit, having performed at most major European blues and jazz Festivals as well as the prestigious
Chicago and San Francisco blues festivals.  From 2004-7 he was the leader of the head-lining British Blues All Stars, which brought together many of the top
names in British blues (see All Stars page).

In recent years Bob’s restless spirit has taken him in new directions, writing original songs and performing a wide range of music culled from blues, boogie,
gospel, folk and country sources.  He is now recognised as a composer of considerable distinction, with a catalogue of finely crafted songs to his credit. 
Each song tells a story - often with a humorous sting in the tail, always delivered in Bob’s disarming, understated vocal style and invariably accompanied by his
electrifying keyboard wizardry.

No Bob Hall show would be complete, however, without the anecdotes: a lifetime of music, together with a passion for the minutiae of American folk and blues history, has left Bob with a host of yarns, some true and some apocryphal, which can be guaranteed to raise a smile.  

Over the years Bob has made (literally) hundreds of recordings, many of which are still available on CD.  His solo albums include two classic boogie woogie piano collections and many others featuring his wry, down-home vocals and original compositions.