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In 1972, I joined my first band, called ‘The One Band’ with Brian Barnett, Chris Turner, Bob King and Bob Morgan.
In 1973 Brian and Chris teamed up with their harp playing friend from South London Bob ‘Smoothie Boy’ West to form the original HAVE MERCY. The summer of 1974 saw the break-up of The One Band and Brian and Bob going off on a busking tour of Europe.
Chris and I remained in London and thought we would carry on Have Mercy; all we needed was a guitarist. As luck would have it, an hour before we were due to do our first gig as a double harp singing duo Bob King, the drummer of the One Band and Jon Echols, a harp player and sometimes guitarist, turned up for a visit. They were immediately roped in for guitar duties and thus HAVE MERCY mark 2 was born.
This lasted a year until in 1975 Chris decided to emigrate to America with Rachel, his partner. A replacement was needed. I knew RORY MCLEOD from my circle of friends as a fantastic singer and harp player. Chris knew STEVE BAKER from his school and the London blues scene. Both were asked to join and both accepted; HAVE MERCY mark 3.
The summer of 1975 came and went, Brian was now living in Bristol and Bob King wanted to get back to being the incredible drummer that he was so Steve asked his guitarist friend DICK BIRD to join and he did; HAVE MERCY 4.
On harps, Steve, Rory , Jon and sometimes me, and on guitar Dick and rarely Jon. This is the version of Have Mercy that came on tour to Germany in the summer of 1976. Dick thought about going back to England after the band had decided to stay in Hamburg and we asked Brian to come over from England which he did in October. The sound of the two guitars together persuaded Dick to stay.
Hundreds of gigs and one LP later, the band split up in 1978. Brian and I carried on in the same vein as a duo called The Blammers; Dick and Rory became ‘Ham n Eggs’. Rory went to Mexico in 1980 and started his solo career. Jon left to sail his self-built boat around the Mediterranean before returning to the US. Bob West sadly died in 1980. Brian went back to England in 1984 and Dick and I became the Blammers.
In 1993, Steve got us (me, Dick, Rory, Brian) back for a reunion which lasted about 4 years, hundreds of gigs and a CD.
Early in 2013 Micha was looking for some acts to fit the Hippy Blues concept of his Blue Wave Festival when he asked Brian and I about a Have Mercy Reunion. We thought it would be interesting to get back to the very roots of the band and Brian had seen and played with Chris a lot in England over the preceeding years when he came over from the States to visit, so we asked Chris if he was up for it. He accepted.
So its Brian Barnett, Chris Turner and me back together after 40 years !!
HENRY HEGGEN 2014