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It would be impossible to have grown up in the multicultural melting pot of Birmingham and not have your very soul steeped in music. I was born between Balsall Heath and Moseley;  home of Ocean Colour Scene, UB40, The Beat, the drummer Bev Bevan,  the “Mostly Jazz Festival”  and for a short while,  the writer J.R.R Tolkien. My local high street, Ladypool road, now famous for it’s Balti restaurants,  had at one end of it one of the most renowned Reggae record shops in Britain; “Don Christie’s”. Halfway down was “The Red Lion” pub where live jazz was played three nights a week. It’s claim to fame was infact, having been the location for the UB40 video “Red, Red Wine” a few years earlier but for me,  it was a  wonderful new world into which I snuck (all at a much too early age and of course unbeknown to my parents) and where I absorbed not only jazz,  but a bohemian, slightly naughty and thrilling world where grown ups drank and partied (mine didn’t)  and where there was something exciting in the air that I couldn’t  quite  fathom or quite put a name to yet but… I think it began with S. Further down this same road led to Moseley Village,  an area known for being creative, cosmopolitan and the focus of artistic and student activities with plenty of pubs, restaurants and live music, home of The Moseley Folk Festival and of the aforementioned “Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul” Festival. Home life and childhood was a  happy, secular haven of love and kindness with parents from a generation where people were considered to be more important than money and the pursuit of it, that once you’d taken care of your own family, you’d then look to see what you could do for your neighbours and for the rest of society.

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Esther Bennett
There Ain't Nothin' like the Blues
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Esther Bennett
End of Summer
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