Alexis Korner, John Mayall, Cyril Davies, and Long John Baldry are the founding fathers of blue-rock. In 1961, Korner and Davies formed a band called Blues Incorporated. Musicians who performed with Blues Incorporated, at various times, include Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Graham Bond, and Dick Heckstall-Smith, and most of the Rolling Stones.

One of the best concerts I ever attended was Alexis Korner opening for Humble Pie. It must have been around 1971 or 1972 (I know that Dave “Clem” Clempson had already replaced Peter Frampton in Humble Pie), and both bands ROCKED. When the show ended and the crowd was leaving out the front doors, my friends Roger Bolen, Bruce Showalter, Mike Lancaster, my brother Jeff, and I all gravitated toward a backstage entrance. The cop at the door knew Roger, whose dad was also a police officer. He let us pass. Not only did we meet all the members of Humble Pie (Steve Mariott, Greg Ridley, Jerry Shirley, Clem Clempson) and the legendary Alexis Korner, we chatted with them excitedly for about twenty minutes and they were all extremely cool. Korner said, “There comes a time when you have to follow your heart and do what you want to do.” As an afterthought, we got all their autographs, and I’m glad we did.

Note the numbers in the upper right corner of the card. This was the combination to my wall safe – a little post office box door that my father brought home and helped me install in the wall behind a row of books on my bookshelf. Dad’s regular job involved repairing typewriters and adding machines, but he did locksmithing on the side. The Post Office paid him to open post office boxes that were stuck, and for some reason they gave him one of the doors. He knew secret doors were right up my alley!

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