After 13 years without a band and without a gig, JSL was dragged out of musical retirement in 2015 and began a second phase of his Blues career. The spur for this was the development of a close friendship between JSL and a remarkable woman named Gail McCallum. She became JSL's self-appointed PR Agent and Personal Driver.
'Phase 2' began with a one-off charity gig in support of NMO Spectrum-UK at The Granby Arms, Uppermill on March 28th, 2015. 'JSL and Friends' played to a packed pub, and began the fundraising effort that has now achieved a total of over £1500. He received valuable publicity from The Oldham Chronicle, The Saddleworth Independent, and from guest appearances on North Manchester FM's Blues Show. Legendary local DJ, Clarence Bennett, the Blues Show host, provided the end session of the Granby gig free of charge.
The musicians involved in the evening were old friends indeed! Ged Turner played guitar and bass and joined in on vocals. Paul 'Bart' Bartholomew played bass and slide guitar. Phil Barratt, who has appeared on JSL's recordings, played keyboards and accordion. Steve Murgatroyd played electronic drums - quietly. JSL played some (tentative) guitar, Blues Harp, and sang a mixture of Blues classics and his own compositions. The opening number and a speech may be seen on video in the 'News and Events' section of the charity's web site, which can be accessed from this site's home page.
The supporting act, Rogue Gene, comprised singer, songwriter and guitarist Phil MacDonald plus Bart on slide guitar and Geoff Sidebottom on percussion.
By the end of the evening, 'JSL and Friends' were joined by Raymond 'Raz' Lyness on guitar. He had just walked in off the street. JSL, Bart and Raz had not gigged together for over 25 years!
Playing the Sonny Boy Williamson II classic, 'Help Me' at the end of the evening was a poignant moment for JSL. The song had concluded Go The Hog's final performance in 2003 at Middleton's 'Bands on the Stand' festival. The surviving 60% of the band, JSL, Murg and Geoff were together once again...