2 Shades of Grey

Songs from the soundtrack of your life

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Stan the Man

No not Stan the Man of Burnley FC fame but Stan Wolarz.

He’s an Edinburgh-born blues guitarist who lives in the Czech Republic.

sc0002b990I was in Prague on a conference in May 2001, it was late and a group of us had done the obligatory Czech cultural experience ie sampling a range of local beers, and wanted something a bit more adventurous.

We were walking around the town centre and could hear music. It seemed to be coming from an underground public toilet with the white tiles in the entrance and down the curving stairs.

The women in the party weren’t too sure so they sent a couple of the men down to check it out. We went down to the kiosk at the bottom, checked out the entry price and the price of beer and conformed it was a club.

So we all piled into this darkened basement room with a spotlight in one corner, just in time to catch the end of Stan the Man and his Bohemian Blues Duo’s set  on stage.

The duo comprised Stan playing a Fender telecaster (a Thinline from memory) and his band colleague Anton Duratny playing an upright double bass. It was a great sound, played in a smokey cellar drinking czech lager. What could be better (apart from the smoke)? Classic songs like “Bright Lights, Big City” and “Rock me Baby“.

We asked him to play some more but the licensing laws were strict and the management just pulled the plug and put  on all the lights!

sc0000ab46I chatted with him about guitars and blues and bought one of his CDs, “Two Sides to Every Story” while one of my colleagues made a bee-line for the double-bass player and shared a smoke.

sc0000ab46 - Version 2He told me he’d been touring round Eastern Europe for years including during soviet times.

He was an interesting person and a great blues player and is still going strong over there.

He’s about 63 now so if he can still do it so can I!