If you do not already know them, then you should definitely get to know this great Carvoeiro based rhythm band, especially if you are a fan of the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Van Morrison and they even cover the Proclaimers, with the full intention of getting you dancing!
Gary Steel and John Corrigan became childhood friends in the 60’s and were always passionate about music but John was really the driving force as Gary told me that “he was a very good guitarist and still is to this day”. John said: “My uncle was a jazz guitarist and when I was just 11 years old and he taught me how to play guitar”. Gary told me he started playing guitar later when he saw how good John was at guitar and wanted to get into it as well. From this, the duo formed the original Poor Man’s Band which originated in Ayr in Scotland and had a local following in the town. Once they started working, John and Gary kept the band going by having local musicians join the band from the eight or nine countries they moved to, throughout their working careers.
They went on to form the Algarve version of the band five years ago, with four of the members of the band being Portugal based. “It’s brilliant playing here as we can play outside. Whether they are Portuguese nationals or expats, everyone is here for a good time and they can get up and dance to our music.”
Poor Man’s Band play in the Algarve at a variety of different events and it is comprised of seven wonderfully talented members: John Corrigan, the lead guitarist, Gary Steel on vocals, Bob Beatson on keyboards, Keith Roberts on bass guitar, Ulf Baggstrom who is the bands drummer, Euan Pyper who is the bands percussionist and the final member of their band is Gary Bristow, who is their deputy drummer and also a valuable member of the group when Ulf goes back to Sweden in the year.
In terms of who inspires the band musically, John told me: “I am a guitar player so the usual suspects inspired me like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Hendrix and more recently Mark Knopfler. Pretty early on Poor Man’s Band was playing heavily guitar-based songs, so it is very much guitarists that have influenced me.”
“If you spoke to our keyboard player it would be pianists or organ players for him and similarly our drummer is a huge fan of Dave Matthews and I think our bass player is driven by more modern songs so we do a number of Snow Patrol numbers influenced by Keith.
“Everything is played live and we do not use any backings so what you see is what you get”.
They play at big golf events, dances, dinners and private parties and anywhere with a lot of space. “Our standard size of gig is 80 to 100 people but we have done smaller gigs of 20 to 30 people at private parties.” Additionally, they do not take a fee which is one of the principles the band adheres to as they ask the organisers to make a donation to a charity of their choice instead. Poor Man’s Band play for the sheer fun of it and not for financial gain.
The other principle that they have established as a band is that they avoid regular spots where bands make their money, as they do not want to take money out of working bands pockets. For example, “where there is an existing regular band at a venue, we will turn down to play there as that would be totally unfair to the working musicians, as we do not want to deprive them of their livelihood.” In regards to the future of the band, they are happy playing in the Algarve and we said “there is scope to play at other places that they have not played yet such as Faro, Tavira and Val de Lobo and we may go further afield as we have accepted some gigs in the UK and northern Europe.”
For booking enquiries please kindly contact John Corrigan on 967 243 303 or if you are interested in keeping up to date with the latest from the band, please check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/poormansbnd/.