BBO Sidebar Paul Hart Johnny Mars Helen Hardy Alan Edwards Howie Casey Mick Taylor Steve Smith Pete Bettle Alan Jenkins Sax Gren Fraser Clive Ashley Dave Burgess
The Barrelhouse Blues Orchestra

Put together by Paul Hart in January 2003, it has grown from a 22 piece band with an exciting pedigree and the musicians have played or written for many star acts including Wings, Cream, Deacon Jones, Vandergraf Generator, Sphere/ Andy Sheppard, Lion (Be Bop Delux), The Who, 200 fingers, Robbie MacIntosh, Kenny Jones Band, Roger Chapman, Clarence "Big" Miller, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and James Last to name but a few!
The whole outfit is conducted by the enormously talented Marcus Marriot, who with Chaz Dickie and Dave Burgess are largely responsible for the smooth and exciting arrangements. The band and Johnny released the album "On My Mind" to coincide with a double feature on the Paul Jones Show for Radio 2.



This is an early incarnation of the orchestra which included strings, later to be replaced by a choir.

From the Left are Sheila McKinley (vocals), Gren Fraser (keys), Helen Hardy (vocals), Victoria Hardy (vocals), Steve Smith (keys), Chris Lonergan (bass), Alan Jenkins (trumpet), Alan Edwards (drums), Andy Urqart (trumpet), Paul Hart (guitar), Jon Dart (trumpet), Johnny Mars (vocals), Steve Hayes (trombone), Violin, Pete Bettle (sax), Lucy-Ann Allen (violin), Clive Ashley (sax), Violin, Marcus Marriot (conductor), Dave Burgess (sax), Chas Dickie (cello)

2003 was a busy year for the Orchestra with gigs stretching across the country from Dorset to Newcastle-upon-Tyne where the gigs were recorded for the Paul Jones Show for Radio 2.

25th January 2003 - Blandford
Coade Hall Blues night

Coinciding with the launch of their first single "Guess Who", a capacity audience swayed to such numbers as "Shakey Ground" sung by Helen Hardy later featured on the album "On My Mind".
This even sparked off a following by blues and big band lovers across the South, partly as a result of the energy and enthusiasm of the Orchestra members and the sheer charisma of Johnny Mars. As Paul Jones put it, "Big bands are definitely coming back." The event was supported by a refreshing new singer, Erin Rocha, with effortless style and power that was amazingly refreshing.

Johnny Mars

13th April 2003 - Birmingham
Pebble Mill Studios

Recorded for two following Radio 2 broadcasts of the Paul Jones Show on 12th June and 7th August.
This session included such favourites as : "Put It Where You Want It", "Evening", "Striking You Baby", "Everyday I Have The Blues", "Please Send Me Someone" and "Don't Give Me The Runaround" - some of which are featured on the album "On My Mind"

On My Mind Barrelhouse Blues Orchestra CD

18th May 2003 - Poole
Lighthouse Concert Hall

An incredibly successful concert featuring two major musicians, Andy Sheppard, celebrated saxophonist and Mick Taylor, ex Stones, Dylan and Bluestreaks. Andy Sheppard 'blew' the audience away with new renditions of "Woza Nazu".

Mick Taylor

Mick Taylor pleased the audience with some Stones' classics then joined the orchestra for the number "Someone To Love" moving him closer to his days with John Mayall.

Andy Sheppard

Andy Sheppard, Mick Taylor, Johnny Mars and the Orchestra played the encore, "Everyday I have The Blues" to a standing ovation with no less than 26 musicians on stage.

Must be a blues record! See an independent review



9th June 2003 - Oxford
Monday Blues Club

The orchestra played a stunning set of their usual repertoire plus some of Johnny Mars' favourites. An intimate evening.

12th July 2003 - Milford On Sea
Arts Festival

The orchestra closed this open-air event to another standing ovation with an invitation to return the following year.
The sound crew struggled to amplify this 20+ strong band, as many have since - not an easy task.

Mick Taylor, Paul Hart and Johnny Mars

26th September 2003
Fiddleford Festival

How did such a large band fit in the marquee?  Well it did take up the full width!
Again, classic performances of "Guess Who", "Everyday", "Forever On My Mind" and "Only In It For The Money". An adlibbed version of "Crossroads" turned out to be one of the best songs on the night!
A big sound that drew motorists from the highway.

6th October 2003 - Newcastle
The Opera House

The radio 2 Music Week kicked off that day with Jools Holland and the Paul Jones show in different venues.

The BBO wowed the Opera House with music that filled the three circles from the 'opera glass' distance assisted by some very new 'state of the art' sound equipment never seen before in this venue designed for the un-amplified voice.

Everybody standing, clapping and swaying again, to the voice and charisma of Johnny Mars. How does he do it.



9th October 2003 - Newcastle Paul Jones Show
The Orchestra enjoyed the company of the show's other guests : Michael Roach, Ray Stubbs and Bad Influence (a band to be heard).

The highlight of the show was "Only In It For The Money" with a strong solo from Steve Smith (keyboards).

An amazing live broadcast for the Paul Jones show on Radio 2.



6th March 2004 - Blandford
Dick Heckstall-Smith Memorial Concert

The Orchestra supported a massive gathering of stars including John Etheridge, Chris Jagger, Gary Fletcher, Andy Sheppard, Ben Waters, Pete Brown, Art Theman, Johnny Mars, and James Litherland at Coade Hall Bryanston.


13th May 2004 - Bournemouth
Bournemouth AFC Dean Court

Launch of Jumping Jack Flash

January 2005 - Blandford
Tsunami Gig - Crown Hotel

September 2007 - The Exchange, Sturminster Newton

28th June 2008 - Blandford
Paul's Memorial Concert - The Exchange, Sturminster Newton