An IT consultant from Derbyshire has written the biography of one of the finest rhythm and blues pianists in the world, after being inspired by a cassette given to him by his mum.
Michael Madden, who lives in Whaley Bridge, first played the cassette in the 1990s. His favourite track was by American rockabilly star Sleepy LaBeef and when Sleepy played in Reading in 2009 Michael went along.
“My mum gave me that tape in the mid 90s can’t remember exactly when but I vividly recall playing Sleepy’s ‘Nothin’ But the Truth’ for the first time which I ordered after hearing the tape. It instantly went to number one in my collection, above T.Rex, The Stranglers, and Chuck Berry,” said Michael.
The supporting act that night was Mike Sanchez “… our Little Richard, with a bit of Jerry Lee Lewis thrown in,” according to Jeff Beck.
From that night Michael Madden was hooked on Mike Sanchez. He and his wife, Sally, travelled to a host of small venues across the north to watch his unique performance. One night, following a gig at the Greystones pub in Sheffield, Sally got chatting to the man himself as he enjoyed a post gig signing session with his fans.
“Mike devotes a huge amount of time to his fans, staying behind until the last one has gone, signing CDs and other merchandise. After the gig my wife got him to sign a CD and asked him straight out if he wanted his biography written. That started the ball rolling.
“Then we saw him at the same venue the following year (2012) and he gave me some information about his time with the Big Town Playboys and from then we started working seriously on the book,” said Michael.
Two years later and Mike Sanchez: Big Town Playboy by Michael Madden is about to be published. Michael has been given full access to a vast archive of material that documents Sanchez’s journey from growing up in London and Bewdley in the West Midlands to playing the Royal Albert Hall and so much more.
On May 14, Mike Sanchez will once again appear at the Royal Albert Hall, opening for Jeff Beck on the UK leg of his world tour that takes in the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on May 19. Beck and The Big Town Playboys recorded the1993 album Crazy Legs together.
The biography features a handwritten foreword from Robert Plant, who first came across Mike when the Led Zeppelin frontman was having Sunday lunch in the George Hotel at Bewdley. Robert heard Mike’s band, The Rockets, practising upstairs and went to see who was making the noise. They have been friends ever since.
Mike Sanchez and his band will be live at Level Two, Buxton, on Sunday, June 1, where the audience will be treated to the kind of show that has made Sanchez a hit all over Europe, an intoxicating mixture of rhythm & blues, boogie-woogie and rock and roll.
Michael Madden, a father of three, runs his own company, Legacy IT Consultants Limited, with clients on both sides of the Atlantic. During one of his recent trips to the US he took time out to catch Sleepy again at Bethesda Jazz & Blues Club in Bethesda Maryland.