The City Blues Jug Blowers
|1964 to 1966
My name is Phil Chugg and I was at Uni with Bryan in
Newcastle from 1964 to 1966, when I left the art school.
In 1964 we started a Blues group with Bryan called
"The City Blues Jug Blowers" playing clubs like the
"Manhole Club" at Wallsend, the "El Cubana" and "Blue
Note" club in Sunderland. I was the piano player. We also
played at the "Club a GoGo" which was owned by Mia
Thomas who had given The Animals their start. We
narrowly missed out on a recording chance there. Mia
told us that he would have sent us to London to do a
demo record because he thought we were good, but that
he had committed his money to another group he had
sent to London a week before. Such are the breaks!
|Bryan was always interested in the "Oldies" even back in the middle 60's, and we
resurrected songs like Fat's Domino's "Blueberry Hill", John Mayell Bluesbreakers'
"Crawling up a Hill" and "St James Infirmary". We also shocked a few with a blues
song performed by a singer called Alex Harvey, whom I had heard in the "Disc a
GoGo" in Bournemouth. It was called "The Doctor's Cure" and was pretty risky
even in those days.
|Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of my time at university with Bryan. I think
we thought ourselves too 'cool' to take photos of that sort. Also the clubs we played
were basically dark and smokey and we weren't famous so nobody took photos of us.
On some weekends when we didn't have 'Gigs' we would take our 'beat-up' old
VW Kombi over to the Lake District for a change of scenery. I have to say though
that even back then Bryan was putting on the 'Mr Suave' act.
|I can't remember any other trips we took, except the drives to Sunderland for Gigs.
Very often on the way back we would make the occasional diversion to
Marsden Grotto with some "Groupies".
|We went to Ambleside on Lake Windermere mainly, and also to Keswick. We drove
around through other parts as well, including Ullswater just past Penrith and Grassmere.
We all used to sleep in the Kombi when we went to the Lake District.
A bit of a squeeze to say the least, but we didn't have enough money to stay anywhere else.
I never visited Bryan's family. In fact I don't remember him ever mentioning them,
although I knew he was from Washington. We didn't talk about our families, too 'COOL'
if you know what I mean.
|We always loved to sing as we were driving along in the Kombi, and we always took a
guitar with us. Of course I couldn't take a piano!
|If you would like to hear my voice please visit my web page at
I remember my 4 years in Newcastle with great fondness as a very special part of my
life, and imagine Bryan would as well.
|The Kombi was a middle 50's model, which was considered old in 1964. As far as I
remember it was a faded nondescript light blue/grey. Unfortunately I don't remember
the numberplate. It belonged to our manager Colin.
There were four of us in the band proper, but I am hopeless, I can't remember the
names of the Bass player or Lead Guitar. When we went across to the Lake District I
think we just wanted to get out of Newcastle and have a bit of fun. Certainly the scenery
was beautiful but the Kombi was VERY slow up the hills.
|and lived there until I was 4. My Dad's job next moved us to Cardiff in South Wales
where I spent all of my primary schooling and one term of Grammar School. In 1958
we again moved; this time to the South of England near Bournemouth, in a place
called Barton on Sea. I attended Brockenhurst Grammar School, which is in the
middle of The New Forest.
I learned classical piano and had started my L.R.A.M. when I had to make a decision
to do Music or Art. I chose to go to Newcastle University to study Fine Art. Starting
the band led me to realise I could improvise on the piano and I still do. I'm very
lucky to be able to 'hear and play' and maybe I would never have realised this
without Bryan and the City Jug Blues Players. (Thanks Bryan.)
This is an old passport photo of me taken in 1962, which was two years before I went
to Uni. Hair was a bit buffi then, but was longer when I was at Uni.
|Bryan Ferry in Adelaide 2001
|The VW Kombi was a 1950s model.
|Lake Windermere at the Lake District
|Bryan's home was in
Gainsborough Avenue, Washington.
|The written recollections which Phil emailed to me
are reproduced here with his kind permission.
Copyright Phil Chugg 2004.
|Phil Chugg today.
|Web page design by Audrey Fletcher 2004
|Washington, the town where
Bryan Ferry grew up.
|I now live in Tasmania, Australia.
These days I do 'Voiceovers' for radio & TV ads, Graphic design for print ads &
teach keyboard. So even though I'm 58 I have an interesting life.
|Phil Chugg in 1962.
|I was living in Henderson Hall for the first year at Uni and as far as I can recall so
was Bryan. I remember us all arriving there after 'Gigs' at 2 and 3 in the morning.
We used to practice there in one of the small common rooms that had a piano.
I was doing the same course in Fine Art as Bryan and we shared the same lectures
and lessons under Richard Hamilton. He was the artist who having studied with
Marcel Duchamp in America brought the 'Pop Art' period to Britain. Bryan was very
influenced by this cultural move and it probably influenced his musical genre. I was
less influenced, perhaps not having enough focus in any one area and left Uni in
1966. In fact I was probably too staid.
There was another guy in the same art year with us who was a Geordie. His name is
Alun Armstrong and I have seen him on telly here in Australia in several British
dramas from the North. Most people will recognize him for his role in "New Tricks".
Bryan knew him too. Talented bunch eh!
(I'm not sure but I think that Alun Armstrong might be Bryan Ferry's cousin ...
I was born in Manchester on the 10th of April 1945
|Phil Chugg has Dinner with Bryan Ferry
Tuesday 17th February 2004
Kelley's Fish Restaurant, Hobart, Tasmania
|I had a fantastic evening with Bryan, his son Isaac and manager Chris.
We went to a delightful little fish restaurant called Kelley's in Battery Point.
|Bryan was just as I remembered him. He has aged well and is still quietly spoken.
In fact he is a total gentleman, very thoughtful and still as slim as he was in the 60's.
I was nervous before the dinner because it has been 38 years since I saw Bryan and
there's so much water under the bridge. ( Should that be the Tyne Bridge?)
Kelley's Fish Restaurant is just up from the famous Salamanca Place. It is small
and trendy with an excellent wine menu. However the fish is somewhat removed
from the fish and chips we used to have in newspaper when I was a kid in the UK!
The owner ( Mike Kelley who knew me from my Jean Shop days) told me that when
the Grand Ghancellor Hotel phoned and booked dinner for a Mr Ferry, Mike asked
if it was Bryan Ferry but they didn't answer.
We sat out in the courtyard surrounded by local and tourist diners.None of the
other diners seemed to notice us (it was darkish) and we had an uninterrupted
night out, which was great for Bryan.
Now Audrey you would know that we 'Guys' don't go overboard with excitement
even when we haven't met for 38 years, but I guess Bryan was relaxed at not having
to put on the public persona for me. After all when I was last in his life we were both
a couple of impoverished art students playing in a 'non famous' blues band.
Bryan did not remember the names of the other two members of the band either,
but did remind me that Colin was the manager because he had the Kombi!
No secrets on how he keeps young looking ... I think it's in the genes and the
healthy living these days.
All too soon the evening was over and I took Bryan, Isaac and Chris back to the
hotel in my car, which is the Mazda 6 in the background of the photo below.
|Kelley's Seafood Restaurant at Battery Point,
Hobart, Tasmania is housed in
the Old Sailmakers' Cottage.
|Bryan and Phil after dinner at Kelley's
|A very relaxed Bryan and Phil :
a happy reunion after 38 years
|A little bit about Phil Chugg
|Best viewed on a
15 inch screen
|Best viewed on a
15 inch screen
|An Update from Colin Ratcliffe (July 2014)
I'm the Colin that Phil refers to as being the Manager of "The City Blues Jug
The Kombi registration was CAR 633.
The lead guitarist was Martin H. and the drummer was Mark P. They both
reside in the USA now, Martin in Carmel and Mark in Silicon Valley.
The bass guitarist was possibly Bob Trattles, and he was, I believe, a Town and
Country Planning student.
As Phil says he and Bryan were Fine Art, Martin was Metallurgy, Mark was
Mechanical Engineering and I was Marine Engineering.