Richard Smerin
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Richard Smerin

Band Blues Rock

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Music

The best kept secret in music

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Discography

Currently, eight CDs and one CD Single are available on Red Rose Records:

Q. - M. U. D. (RR2696) - Solo country blues, recorded in Berlin.

One-Off Chance (RR2777) - Tribute to singer /songwriter and close friend Les French, recorded in Boston, Mass.

This Body's Got To Go (RR2852) - Fifteen original songs recorded in southern Germany with a full rock band.

Still Living Off The Smerin Diamond (RR2853) - Solo, recorded live in Franconia.

Personal (RR2901) - Acoustic, contains brand new material with contributions from harmonica player, Bernd Kleinow.

Anywhere Else But In Clover (RR2974) - Another new collection of original songs, solo.

Ikh Vel Nisht Fargesn (CD Single RR2975) - Songs depicting the Jewish history of Fürth, Germany. Including two songs in Yiddish sung by Barry Smerin.

Right To Sing The Blues (RR3031) - More new songs with double-bass and blues harp.

Trouble With Me (RR3201) - First US release with full band featuring WC Handy Award Winners Paul Rishell & Annie Raines

A lot of this material has received radio airplay and mp3 examples from each CD are available at www.richardsmerin.com

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Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Richard Smerin was born in London, England in 1960. He first picked up a guitar at the age of seven, and within three years was playing competent folk and blues. His first public performances in 1974, saw him hailed as a child prodigy. In later teenage years he was described as the best young guitarist in the country.

In 1979, Richard Smerin moved to Copenhagen and quickly established himself on the Danish music scene. As well as numerous solo concerts, he found himself opening for many name acts, including Joan Armatrading, Alexis Korner and Bert Jansch. He has kept in contact with Jansch ever since, and describes him as his favourite folk guitarist.

1981 saw Smerin opening for, and playing with blues legends Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee on their last ever European tour - "just to hear Sonny warming up in the dressing room was enough for anyone!!"

A few months later, clearly inspired by his exposure to these boyhood heroes, Richard Smerin released an album of classic blues cuts. His sidemen included the excellent Danish slide guitarist Kim Gutman and world-class blues harp player Jorgen Lang.

Back in London, following an invitation from Alexis Korner to attend a concert by B. B. King, Bobby 'Blue' Bland and John Lee Hooker at the Hammersmith Odeon, Smerin was asked to open for B. B. King at the Carlton Theatre, Birmingham.

The years that follow saw Richard Smerin building on this solid foundation, playing a mountainload of gigs, large and small. In 1994, a collection of original material 'In Retrospect' was released, and the success of this was followed by the hugely acclaimed CD 'Q. - M.U.D.', recorded in Berlin in October 1996.

All of October and most of November 1997 was spent in the U.S.A. where Smerin played thirty gigs in six weeks, including the legendary 'House of Blues'. During this time, he was also busy in the studio in Boston, paying homage to his lifelong friend and much-admired singer-songwriter Les French, who tragically died on October 1st. With help from his friends Paul Rishell & Annie Raines (W. C. Handy award winners) and '2nd guitarist' Ken Selcer. Some people considered the resulting CD: 'One-Off Chance', to be his finest work thus far.

Now living in the south of Germany, 1999 saw two further CD releases from Richard Smerin.

'Still Living Off The Smerin Diamond' was recorded live and solo in Schlachthof, Fürth. The concert was heralded as a 'total triumph' by the local press and Smerin's performances of self-penned songs, (some over twenty years old) as well as his acoustic renditions of electric blues numbers left the audience 'exhausted but happy!'

'This Body's Got To Go' contains fifteen brand new original songs recorded with a full rock band. Including East German blues hero Bernd Kleinow on harmonica.

Not content with these last two efforts, September 1999 saw a further CD release from Richard Smerin. 'Personal' is an acoustic collection of new Smerin songs. Guitar, vocals and once again, a great contribution from Bernd Kleinow.

The year 2000 heralded a marked change in outlook. Original songs now took precedence. Although Richard Smerin remained and remains a devotee of blues music, his undoubted songwriting abilities became of paramount importance in his recorded work.

‘Anywhere Else But In Clover’, a thinly veiled attack on the accepted ‘normality’ of life in sleepy Middle Franconia, raised more than a few eyebrows; but worse was yet to come.

Following a visit to the newly opened Jewish Museum in Fürth, Smerin was horrified to find no proper mention or representation of the years 1933-45.

After consultation with the local Rabbi and many hours of study with Gisela Blume, (champion of Jewish History and genealogist honoured on both sides of the Atlantic) Richard Smerin embarked on his most difficult musical venture to date.

‘Ikh Vel Nisht Fargesn’ tells the story of the Jewish population of Fürth from November 9th 1938, to the deportations of 1942. Containing songs in English and in Yiddish, including vocals from Richard’s brother Barry Smerin, (Professor of Yiddish and Jewish History) this monumental work has been described as: “the first real musical composition in the English language, depicting a Bavarian town during the Shoa”.

‘Ikh Vel Nisht Fargesn’ is displayed in Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, the Imperial War Museum, London, the Holocaust Museum, Washington and many other notable locations, but NOT in the “Jewish” Museum of Fürth.

2001 saw Smerin back in the studio, with a new collection of songs. ‘Right To Sing The Blues’, an acoustic album with Katja Lachmann on double-bass, and blues harp from sometimes gigging partner Matt Walsh, has received air play in Europe and America.

In February and March of 2002, Richard Smerin once again toured America. Playing concerts in music venues, he also found time to lecture in schools and to give performances in Jewish Senior Homes. Significantly, he was booked to record in Somerville