Country Branch


Jim Ward 64 Ifield Road West Green  Crawley West Sussex RH11 7BQ 01293 513043


 Brixton Bert CD

Back in the 50’s/60’s I used to spend much of my time in the clubs and dives of Soho. In one of these establishments, probably the ’44’ in Gerrard Street (now a Chinese grocers), I often went to the Saturday all-night jazz club. While queuing to get in I’d pass a poster on the wall for the mid-week skiffle or folk club with the name ‘Brixton Bert’ as a regular. I imagined Bert to be London’s answer to ‘Memphis Minnie’, ‘Mississippi John Hurt’ or ‘Chicago Bill’. Some ten or so years later at a session at ‘The Wheatsheaf’, Marsh Green, the compere called for a song from Brixton Bert and I thought, ahh- the bloke on the poster. I ran into Bert many times after that at sessions at Elsie’s pub at Cowden Pound, The Black Horse at Nuthurst and many clubs and sessions around the Surrey / Sussex border and got to know him quite well and found him invaluable for livening up a dull session. 
In February 1985, Dave Toye invited Bert and Lesley round to his house for a recording session. In his living room he rigged up two mikes running into an ordinary domestic cassette recorder and after a few beers recorded the session that is on this CD. As you will hear Bert was in brilliant form, even his guitar was in tune! and the recording quality is quite exceptional under the circumstances. Nothing was done with the tape until quite recently when Dave edited it and ran off a few copies onto CD-R which he gave to Bert who was dead chuffed to be on CD.  
Now Bert is no longer with us Dave thought it would be a good idea to put a proper CD together, gave me the master tape and with a little help from modern digital technology here it is, a lasting memory of a one-off great entertainer. Bert always liked to put himself down as a singer and guitarist (as in his song on track 2) but as you listen to this CD I’m sure you’ll agree he was in fact, very underrated.

Jim Ward

Available from Country Branch £10.00 plus £1.00 p&p