Bluesman Keef Hartley 1944-2011 R.I.P.



Was a key member of
John Mayall’s group as well as a bandleader in his own right.


By Fred Mills and Rev. Keith Gordon


Longtime aficionados of the mid ‘60s British blues boom
received sad news last week: drummer Keef Hartley died on Saturday, Nov. 26,
from causes not yet disclosed. He was 67. Hartley had been a key player on the London scene as a member of the Artwords and later the
massively influential John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, later going on to for his
own Keef Hartley Band which over the years released five albums and also
performed at Woodstock
in 1969.


BLURT contributor Rev. Keith Gordon, of the popular
Blues.About.Com blog, picks up the story in his obituary of Hartley:


“After the Keef Hartley Band, the drummer put in a brief stint with British
rock ‘n’ soul band Vinegar Joe, appearing on their 1972 album Rock ‘n’ Roll
alongside singers Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer. In 1973, Hartley
would release his lone solo effort, Lancashire Hustler, with Palmer
and Brooks providing backing vocals behind singer Roden, and the drummer would
reunite with Anderson and former Artwoods bassist Derek Griffiths in the
ill-fated hard rock band Dog Soldier, which released a single eponymous album
in 1975. Hartley recorded and toured with Michael Chapman, and reportedly made
a nice chunk of change for his (uncredited) playing on the soundtrack to the
blockbuster movie Grease.


“Hartley disappeared from music in the 1980s, working as a cabinet maker and
refurbishing recording studios. He released a biography titled Halfbreed (A
Rock and Roll Journey That Happened Against All the Odds)
in 2007, writing
about his youth and career. In recent years, young blues-rock fans in both the U.S. and the U.K. have re-discovered the Keef
Hartley Band, and virtually all of the band’s albums have been re-issued. As
both a bandleader and as part of Mayall’s seminal Bluesbreakers, Keef Hartley’s
influence is inestimable.”



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