Automatic Slim
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Automatic Slim

St Anne’s Castle


2008,2009 & 2010 




If anyone has seen that masterpiece of televisual magic on Sunday nights “The only way is Essex,” well an Automatic Slim is nothing like that load of rubbish. This is true Essex at the oldest pub in the country (possibly). I have been watching them from the early 80’s and I know they have their own bands & projects but an Auto Slim gig is well worth a watch. Blistering rhythm and blues, great musicianship, wonderful tunes, all done with a fantastic sense of humour. The pub was as full as I have ever seen it and for the princely sum of £5, I am not surprised. The Slim went through their normal repertoire of Blues, sometimes with extra songs added into the mix, just proving that most of the old blues singers were ripped off by groups like Led Zep and the Stones. My particular favourites are House Rent Blues and Ford Cortina. The Cortina song is great taking you on Essex’s own route66, down the A127 from Gallows corner to Shoebury Ness. After watching the turgid Blues Band a couple of weeks ago, it was really refreshing to see Tim and the boys playing with fun. Highlight of the night has to be Howard J Bills and his werewolf of London.

A great night, lots of laughs and a few beers, some things should never change.

Duncan October 2010





Automatic Slim

St Annes Castle



Back to our annual dose of Rhythm and Blues, at St Anne’s Castle, with the evergreen, Automatic Slim. This is the third year in a row we have seen them there and to be truthful I can’t wait for next year. I can’t really remember the set list as I had been working nights all the week before and it seemed as though the beer hit me a bit harder than normal, not drunk just mellow and forgetful. We started off at our usual watering hole for such occasions, the Plough. Here we treated ourselves to some beer from the Brains brewery, I can’t remember what it was, but it had a pleasant nutty taste and certainly went down well. A quick taxi for the 6 miles to the reputed oldest pub in England (I’m sure I’ve been in some other pubs that have claimed the same), St Anne’s Castle. This is a proper music pub, which has bands on several nights of the week. The landlord also keeps a good cellar. I started on one of my favourite ales Woodfords Wherry and caught the end of the support act. I am sorry I didn’t catch his name but he played proper blues on his own, very good but you had to be in the mood.


Automatic Slim hit the stage and the tempo increased straight away, as I said I can’t remember the set list to well but I can definitely remember “Going back home” “down at the doctors” “house rent blues” “beat box billy” “I drink alone” “bad to the bone” “little red rooster” “switchboard susan” “highway 61 revisited” “I’m a man” “doctor feelgood” “who do you love” and it wouldn’t be a Slim gig without “werewolves of London.” They played a lot more than this and not in this order. The band always give it their all and are great entertainers and showmen, I would recommend to anyone who has not seen them before to have a look, if they are lucky enough to catch them playing one of their rare gigs. You won’t be disappointed plenty of energy, great songs and very good musicians. They have a great knack of rolling songs into one. You can always catch snippets of other songs or riffs played into whatever they are playing. For example werewolves has a pop music and no woman, no cry intertwined into it. Led Zeps rock and roll and Frees the Hunter always turn up as well. I would like to say it was a pleasure to be there. The only downside was that the Wherry ran out, so we had to drink Youngs instead, that’s not to sad though. Great night had by all.

Duncan December 09





The band of brothers, Mo, Ash, Paul, Nick and myself met at that fine hostelry, the Woolpack. You get a fine selection of beers here and I enjoyed a pint of St Edmunds from the Green King brewery. Then once again we boarded Nicks Taxi service to make the ride out to the oldest pub in the country (so the landlord says) at Great Leighs. St Anne’s Castle as I have said before is a great pub to see bands in. It’s friendly, intimate and has a great selection of beers, including one my faves, Deuchars (It was one of my favourites until I spoke to a bloke at work yesterday, he is in City and East London CAMRA. He told me Deuchars was the beer that they give to nancy boy Lager drinkers at beer festivals). As we arrived we just caught solo bluesman, Chris Dollinger. He is just one man and a guitar who uses a uses his feet for percussion. Tapping his feet on a wooden box (it probably has a proper name) and a tambourine. I have seen Chris a couple of times before and he is ever so good and if you get the chance, I recommend that you see him.

After this came the main event Automatic Slim. I saw them at this same venue, at the same time last year. They were good then and I didn’t really expect them to live up to last years glories. I was wrong and they were probably better than last time. They started of with the Feelgood classic "Looking Back." This year there were more Wilko Johnson tracks in the set, like "Neighbour Neighbour," "Walking on the edge" and "20 Yards Behind," sung by Ian Cundy. There were also great versions of Led Zeps "Rock and Roll," Bob Dylans "Highway 61 revisited," Mickey Jupps "Switchboard Susan," All of the songs are done in good humour and there are lots of Essex influences. One of my favourites is the one about a Ford Cortina, brings back many happy memories about a car that was always breaking down. Towards the end of the set there came the usual "Werewolves of London," a great version with "Pop music" and "No woman no cry," integrated into it. The encore was another favourite "Cat flap," and "Route 66." If you get a chance too see Chris Dollinger or Automatic Slim, do it as you won’t be disappointed. This was a great night and can’t wait for the next one.


Duncan December 2008




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