The Newcastle Blues

Sharing the Jonesboro’s Alley label with the Esquires, the Newcastle Blues cut a cool cover of Rufus Thomas’ “Walkin’ the Dog”, but I prefer the flip, the funky “Cotton’s Mama”, an original by Mike Downing.

4 thoughts on “The Newcastle Blues”

  1. I played guitar in the group. It was an outgrowth of a college group we had at Arkansas State University called Saturday’s Children. Van Enderson was the keyboard player and singer. Mike Downing played guitar, bass, and sang. He and Van did the vocals on Cotton’s Mama and Walkin’ the Dog. They had tight vocals because we played gigs every week and worked together constantly. The horn players, Van, and I were music majors, so planning parts was fairly easy. Joe Lee suggested we record the Rufus Thomas tune, and Mike threw in Cotton’s Mama just for the fun of it. We also had a bass player named Coy Hurd. Coy, Van, and I are currently playing blues with a vocalist by the name of Ocie Fisher in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

    1. Does anyone know what became of Mike Downing? After his Arkansas days chronicled above, he sang in a group in which I played trumpet called the Brass Menagerie around 1968-1970 made up partly of Univ. of Tenn. at Martin Music Majors… which later evolved into “The Mudd.”
      Bob Luton

  2. I was brought in to audition for the group I was in my freshman year. Jim Mirabella who now lives in Jonesboro was playing guitar in the group and was leaving.Jim, Mike smith then bass player for the band and I were high school friends from Brinkley, Ike mixon Vanmeter from marvell ark was then leader and spokesman for the group. the horn players were all regional band directors and boy could they play. The day I auditioned we played chicago Bloodsweet and tears songs. It was all a lot different then the soul music we grew up on. This was one of the best bands I,ve ever played with over 35 years of professional music . I guess time, and commitmints led to its eventual demise . I didnt get the job that day, the bassplayer and the drummer were also fired as I understand it , I was told they hired a rhythum section who played with a band out of Memphis Named Helicopter. the band broke up the next year after most of the players graduated asu by the way the audition took place at alley recording studios In Jonesboro were the band recorded.

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