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Dave Jeffs (1945-2013)

Tony Rees 25 Nov 21 - 12:52 AM
Tony Rees 25 Nov 21 - 12:59 PM
Tony Rees 25 Nov 21 - 04:50 PM
Tony Rees 29 Nov 21 - 12:48 PM
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Subject: Dave Jeffs 1945-2013
From: Tony Rees
Date: 25 Nov 21 - 12:52 AM

Just starting this thread in case there are any reminiscences of Dave Jeffs, UK blues performer (singer-guitar-harmonica), prompted by my post today on another thread (Live recordings - Tony Rees archive) regarding a live tape I made of Dave performing in Oxford (his then home town) in 1975 (see As per my notes accompanying that YouTube post, I only came across Dave in 1974-5 when I resided in Oxford for a short while, but he had clearly been playing since the mid 60s, having appeared on an ultra-rare 1965 charity EP for Oxfam entitled "Folk at Fennario", playing harmonica with another guitarist, Pete Warner. Later (1986?) Dave moved to live in Ibiza where by all accounts he became a prominent and much loved musician on the local scene; after his early passing in 2013, a series of annual concerts in his name entitled "Dave On My Mind" were convened by his friends and fellow performers, maybe still continuing...

I am just putting up this thread in case any other 'catters would like to chime in with their memories of Dave (who also performed at that time with his wife Sue, possibly a teacher??) doing a well worn mix of Bessie Smith, Jelly Roll Morton, and Leadbelly tunes, among others, but certainly breathing life into them with his excellent guitar and harmonica playing, pus of course highly authentic voice (for a British bluesman...). On the tape I have he chats amiably between numbers in what I take to be a London accent, but I could of course be wrong - certainly does not sound like he spent his upbringing in Oxford!

Cheers and looking forward to any additional information others can supply - Tony Rees (Australia since 1986, UK before that).

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Subject: RE: Dave Jeffs (1945-2013)
From: Tony Rees
Date: 25 Nov 21 - 12:59 PM

There is some scattered but moderately extensive information about Dave on the 2 FaceBook pages maintained in his memory, "Dave Jeffs ACMS" and "DAVE on MY MIND".

I found a good entry for the 1965 charity EP on which he featured (on 1 track) at 45cat - including a photo of a 21 year old Dave on the cover with harmonica - but not much more as yet. According to that page, the EP featured musicians from the Fennario club which was in the basement of the Mitre pub in the centre of Oxford at the time, and came out just before Christmas 1965... you can hear the Pete Warman + Dave Jeffs track "My Babe" on YouTube here, sounding great!

- Tony

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Subject: RE: Dave Jeffs (1945-2013)
From: Tony Rees
Date: 25 Nov 21 - 04:50 PM

There is a local, Spanish language 2013 obituary for Dave at ... Google translate makes an 80% decent job of it. Says he was born in Oxford (about which I have my doubts) however the remainder is of interest. Here is a portion, Google Translate version:

[quote]Jeffs always lived close to his harmonica, to his harmonicas, because he had a great collection. He always carried one in his pocket to put in his mouth at any time. Last year he recounted when his love for this instrument was born, in an interview in this newspaper on the occasion of his participation in the Ibiza Jazz 2012: "At the age of eleven I was ill with tetanus. The leg injury was the perfect excuse to tell my mother that I couldn't go to piano lessons anymore because it was far away. I did not like them. The teacher was strict and you had to walk a lot. In summer, on vacation, I was looking for something in a toy store. I saw a harmonica, I had enough money, and I bought it. I would go out to the field and spend the day playing. But nobody knew. They didn't know until I was 15 years old."

He learned on his own and as a teenager he started playing in his older brother's band. He said that he was surprised the first time he was paid to play: "I was shocked because I wasn't expecting it. It was at a club in Oxford, for folk and blues, they paid me two pounds. I rejected them, but they told me that I had earned them."

Little by little they began to call him and he accompanied different groups and artists of the 60s and 70s, such as Duffy Power, Jack Dupree, Ian Anderson Country Blues Band or Alexis Corner, one of the fathers of British blues.

In the 80s he found his paradise in Ibiza and only left the island for tours with his group.
When Dave Jeffs was asked about the concert of his life, he remembered a festival his brother took him to when he was 17, in 1963. On the bill were Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, Big Joe Williams, Willie Dickson and Victoria Spivey. Today he already plays the harmonica with them.
[end quote]

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Subject: RE: Dave Jeffs (1945-2013)
From: Tony Rees
Date: 29 Nov 21 - 12:48 PM

Still singing and playing in 2011(?), see this video:

Dave Jeffs Blues Band & Norberto Rodriguez

I presume that it is Norberto on lead guitar, Dave on rhythm guitar and vocals...

- Tony

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