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Pop Music on British Television 1955 - 1999

British TV gave plenty of coverage to the sixties blues boom with specials like Granada's Go Tell It On The Mountain, broadcast in July 1964 featuring the Yarbrirds, I Hear The Blues in December 1963 featuring Memphis Slim, Willie Dixon, Otis Spann among others, while Britain's own Alexis Korner got himself a regular gig on kid's favourite Five O'Cock Club.

After two specials featuring rockers Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis it was the turn of blues again with The Blues and Gospel Train, an outdoor special filmed at Wilbraham Road Station, renamed Chorltonville for the day. Muddy Waters (with Willie Smith and Ransome Knowling), Cousin Joe Pleasants, Otis Spann, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, all crammed into a fifty-minute show. The artists had been travelling Europe as a part of the 1964 American Folk Blues and Gospel Festival package tour.

The show was recorded 7th May 1964 with 200 fans on one platform, while the artists played live on the other platform. The entrance ticket requested those in attendance to be at Manchester's Central station at 7.30 pm for the short ride to the abandoned station.

The train station had been closed since 1958, so it was safe for Muddy Waters to be walking up the railway line with his suitcase for the opening number. Fittingly, Sister Rosetta Tharpe sang Didn't It Rain after a downpour which halted recording.

Granada would continue with its commitment to the blues with Nothing But The Blues in 1966.



19th August 1964