Blues in New Zealand

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The history of blues in New Zealand dates from the 1960s.[citation needed] The earliest blues influences on New Zealand musicians were indirect — not from the United States but from white British blues musicians: first the R&B styles of The Animals and The Rolling Stones, and later the blues-tinged rock of groups such as Led Zeppelin.[citation needed] The first American blues artist to make a big impact in New Zealand was Stevie Ray Vaughan in the early 1980s.[citation needed][dubious ] Other blues-related genres such as soul and gospel almost completely by-passed New Zealand audiences, except for a handful of hits from cross-over artists such as Ray Charles.


Midge Marsden[edit]

Midge Marsden is a blues and R&B guitarist, harmonica-player and singer with a career spanning four decades.

Darren Watson[edit]

Darren Watson is a singer and guitarist in a wide range of blues styles, as well as an international award-winning songwriter.[1] Watson led the very popular blues band Smoke Shop, which featured on the New Zealand charts and toured extensively throughout the country in the 1980s and 1990s, opening for several international blues artists including NZ tours with Koko Taylor, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and two tours with The Robert Cray Band. More recently Watson has recorded three successful albums: King Size, which was nominated for Best Roots Album at the 2003 NZ Music Awards, 2005's South Pacific Soul, and his latest Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy, which Wellington's Dominion Post named in their Top 5 albums of 2010.[2] And was recently favourably reviewed in prestigious US publication Blues Revue.[3]

The Windy City Strugglers[edit]

The Windy City Strugglers is a Wellington band whose music is based on the singing, songwriting and guitar playing of Bill Lake and the vocals of Rick Bryant. Long-serving band members are Andrew Delahunty on guitar, harmonica and mandolin and Nick Bollinger on double bass.

Hammond Gamble[edit]

Hammond Gamble is a singer and guitarist. He achieved fame in the late 1970s fronting one of the biggest bands on the New Zealand rock circuit at the time, Street Talk, and later the Hammond Gamble Band. He recorded two albums with Street Talk and three under his own name. Probably his best and most widely known recording is[opinion] the live 1995 album Plugged in and Blue.[citation needed] Gamble is also a songwriter. Joe Cocker recorded his song "If You’ve Got Love, Give Me Some", and Gamble composed rock classics such as "Leaving the Country" (1978), "Should I be Good or Should I be Evil" (1981) and "Midnight" (1983). In 1992 and 1993 he had a number-one hit with "You Make the Whole World Smile". Gamble has won a number of New Zealand awards, including Rock Performer of the Year, Album of the Year, APRA Silver Scroll and Film Soundtrack of the Year.[citation needed]

Blues Clubs[edit]

Capital Blues Inc.[edit]

Capital Blues Inc. is a Wellington blues club which runs the Roomfulla Blues live music nights every Thursday night at the Hotel Bristol, 131-133 Cuba Mall, Wellington. The idea for a Wellington blues club was formed in 1995 by musician Pip Payne along with local musos Dougal Speir and Dave Head. First venue was 'The Venue' (1996) followed by 'Bill Direen’s' (1997) and later the 'Hotel Bristol' where it continues. [4]

Musicians of note who performed in the early the years at the club include, Pip Payne And Rhythm Method, Midge Marsden, The Pauas, Hammond Gamble, Marg Layton, Brannigan Kaa, Kokomo Blues Band, The Whitireia Blues Experience, Mike Garner, Billy Tk Junior, Neil Billington Band, Julian Dixon And Matt Hay, Kayte And The Barflies, Jan Preston, Barry Saunders And Caroline Easther, Wayne Mason Band, Doug Macleod (USA), Pugsley Buzzard (AUS), The John O’connor Experiment, Shayn Hurricane Wills And The Zephyr Hunters, The Windy City Strugglers, Tin Pan Alley, Velox Brothers, The Behemoths, Darren Watson, Dave Murphy, Red Dog Saloon Band, Greeny And The Mac, Henpicked, Al Witham Band, London Underground, The Business, Laura Collins Band, Frankie And The Bee, Rodger Fox & The NZ School Of Music, Bullfrog Rata and The Alligators, The Legal Tender Band, The Pickups, Carol Bean & Blue Highways, Blues Buffet With Erna Ferry, Silverline, Adam Waldron & Friends, Bob Cooper-Grundy & Friends, Hutt River Ramble, Strange Brew, The Murray Brothers, El Bastardo Banditos!, Wellington Heads, The Cattlestops, The Kemptones.

The current Capital Blues Inc. committee (2015) comprises: President: Skye Anderson, Vice President: Damian Forlong, Treasurer & Membership officer: Julie Lamb, Booking Agent: Deryck Hope, Webmaster and BluzNuz editor: Geoff Head. Rob Hole, Phil McLaughlin, Jake Stokes. [5]


  1. ^ "International Songwriting Competition Winners Page". International Songwriting Competition. Retrieved 26 February 2011. 
  2. ^ "Stuff website". Retrieved 12 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "Blues Revue Digital Edition Nov/Dec 2011 website". [1]. Retrieved 7 Jan 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ THE HISTORY OF CAPITAL BLUES – Recollections from DOUGAL SPEIR Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  5. ^ Capital Blues website Retrieved 7 October 2015.