Architect, civil servant, lecturer and legal executive, Mick Kemp has been many things. But in Ladywell he is the local “blues legend”.
The Mick Kemp Blues Band has been playing a mix of jazz and blues at venues across London since the late sixties.
Mick, now 77, joined his first band at the age of 15. But after listening to early Lonnie Donegan in his youth club he was drawn to jazz and blues.
“I heard Lonnie Donegan singing ‘Long Gone. Lost John’ – and that was it. I was hooked.”
Mick, who has lived in Ladywell since the early seventies, became an accomplished harmonica and trombone player.
He drew his inspiration from the likes of American blues musician Taj Mahal, Chicago blues vocalist and harmonica player Junior Wells, Alexis Korner, one of the founding fathers of British blues, and Cyril Davies, one of the first blues harmonica players in the UK.
But his hero was Muddy Waters, the father of modern Chicago blues.
And one of his favourite musical moments – when Mick and his band were the support act at a Muddy Waters gig at Goldsmiths college.
Mick says he is first and foremost “a showman”.
“I like the performance. It’s important to entertain.”
So if you get the chance – go and listen to the throaty blues and harmonica playing of a longtime local entertainer and artist.