Just Like a Fish by Esther Phillips
Back in Ep3 when I introduced Redhand, I said I had played with them for 17-ish years. . .Part of the reason I don’t know exactly how long I played with them is that I left for a while to play with Chris James (Ep5). During that hiatus, I went to see Redhand play the Blues Room (Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa) for the first time. It was a pretty big deal and during their first set, I heard the owner of the venue say to the engineer “They sound good. Let’s see if they can keep it up.” They did, for two more sets.
A few years later, I was back with the band – this time for good – and the Blues Room was a pretty regular gig. George Worthmore, the owner and a great blues/rock guitarist in his own right, suggested that we record a live album at one of our gigs. We did. Just Like a Fish is track 5 off the Live at the Blues Room CD. It was always one of my favorite songs to play in the band and this is a good recording, but I was a little surprised to hear how different we played it back then. Later versions rocked a bit more and I added a drum thing. . .
It doesn’t really matter, but it’s interesting to note that the way we played songs evolved without us making a conscious decision to play them differently because. . .we almost never rehearsed. I guess some nights, depending upon the vibe, we would play the song differently, and if it was good, we would play it that way again.
Now that I think about it, I believe the Blues Room was one of the first gigs I played with the band once I had returned as drummer (not the gig we recorded). Redhand had added 2 sets worth of songs to their repertoire, so I had a lot to learn before the gig. I took notes during a couple of rehearsals that included which sticks and / or percussion I would use in the song and a crude sketch of the main rhythm I wanted to play. I remember referring to my notes at the Blues Room which was a stressful experience given the high profile of the venue. I played from those notes for a long time thereafter and was only ready to give them up once I was comfortable with the 50-ish songs in our repertoire!