GiddyUp Oxford at The Wheatsheaf – Celebrating Jimi Hendrix’s Birthday

The GiddyUp Music Show was in full swing last night in the downstairs bar at The Wheatsheaf, Oxford! We were celebrating Jimi Hendrix’s birthday – and had asked the acts if they would play a Hendrix song or some sort of acknowledgement as a way of appreciating him and his music. They delivered in their own unique ways and the musicians were good sports to oblige!

Ash Lewis and drummer Mitch played after our opening set. It was funny how it all happened. Ash was originally going to play “All Along The Watchtower” until he found out we were going to play that a few days before the show, so last minute he learned “Wind Cries Mary” and played a very interesting version, so interesting in fact that Dave from Purple May said he didn’t realise Ash was playing “Wind Cries Mary” until toward the end of the song…we can say that Ash certainly made the song his own! Hendrix was good at doing that with his covers!

Tom Ivey (Tom Ivey Music) went on next with his acoustic guitar in hand. Just before he took the stage he told me he was going to play “Wind Cries Mary” but since Ash played it he would play “Red House” instead which he was a little concerned Tony Batey and Sal might be playing that song, but went ahead with it and did a great version.

Just before Tony and Sal went on, Sal told me they were going to play “Red House” and she wasn’t sure what they would do since Tom was playing it! They adjusted, didn’t play “Red House” and instead, just after their John Hiatt cover Tony Batey played a few riffs, a subtle gesture on his guitar, undeniably Jimi. Slick!

Before the show, I was curious what was going to happen and there ended up being a bit of a domino effect with song choices but it was great to see how professional and up for a laugh everyone was. We like to keep the acts on their toes! It was a great party atmosphere with a lot of laughter. This could have been handled differently by everyone sharing which Hendrix song they were going to play before hand, but the acts seemed to want to keep the songs a surprise, it was more fun that way and worth the gamble!

We, Purple May, went on again after Tony and Sal. We played “All Along The Watchtower” not written by Hendrix, but his cover of the song was so good even Bob Dylan has been quoted as preferring Jimi’s version to his own original recording. It’s a fun song to sing, and there were quite a few people singing along who were also familiar with the lyrics.

To top off the night Osprey (Mark Osprey Obrien) played a blinding set – very Hendrix influenced and his guitar skills are top notch! His song choice was “Wild Thing”, a song that Hendrix also covered. It was good to see people dancing during Osprey’s set. You couldn’t help but dance!

There were guest musicians throughout the day/night, Kevin Busby on harmonica and Mike Abbot on bass sat in with Sal & Tony Batey and Osprey. Kevin also played some songs with Tom Ivey.

It was a great night jam packed with passionate playing and amazing musicianship by all the acts!

Thanks to all the musicians that played, to the Wheatsheaf staff and to everyone that could be there that helped to make it the party that it was!

—Jenny (Purple May)

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