Balham Alligators

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This UK roots band played a manic mix of rock ‘n’ roll, Cajun, country and R&B. The original line-up came together by accident at London’s Hare & Hounds pub in 1983, when accordionist and pianist…
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This UK roots band played a manic mix of rock ‘n’ roll, Cajun, country and R&B. The original line-up came together by accident at London’s Hare & Hounds pub in 1983, when accordionist and pianist Geraint Watkins (b. 5 February 1951, Abertridwr, South Wales) was joined by drummer Kieran O’Connor (d. 1991), guitarist Gary Rickard, fiddle player Robin McKidd, and bass player Arthur Kitchener (later replaced by Pete Dennis). They played inspired performances at pubs and festivals throughout Britain and Europe, although the onstage mayhem was largely fuelled by prodigious alcohol intake and barely contained friction between the band members. Following O’Connor’s drink-fuelled demise in 1991, the experienced session musician Bobby Irwin was brought into the line-up. ex-Chilli Willi And The Red Hot Peppers bass player Paul Riley (b. 3 October 1951, Islington, London, England) also gave fresh impetus to the band, who went on to record the more-focused Gateway To The South. Watkins is also an in-demand session musician who has played with many of the biggest names in UK rock music, including a stint in Mickey Jupp’s Cable Lawyers and Willie And The Poor Boys with Bill Wyman and Paul Rodgers.