DAVE Kelly traded in his Hornby Train set for a guitar, and then jumped on a magical mystery tour with blues legends Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker.

“I was always surrounded by music as a child, and that’s how it began, swapping my model trains for a four string guitar when I was 10,” said Kelly, whose guitar and vocals provide the backbone to the The Blues’ Band distinctive sound.

“Later on, when I went to America in the sixties, I was lucky enough to tour with Howlin Wolf.

“He was such a lovely man, no airs and graces at all. The first time we met him, he came in with his tour manager and said, ‘Howdy, I’m the Wolf’.

“We thought we were going to rehearse with him, but he said, ‘Play me something’.

“So we played a shuffle, and he went ‘Mmmmm. Very interesting man. Play me a blues song. That’s fine. See you tomorrow’.

“It was like that for the rest of the tour. He never told us what he was going to do, what key it was in and you just had to pick it up early.

“Wolf would sit at the front of the tour bus, playing his harmonica, laughing and joking.

“He was an incredible guy to be around, a legend of the blues.”

It was Kelly’s big sister, the late Jo-Ann Kelly, who first opened his ears to the blues, although his passion for rock and roll – especially the work of Buddy Holly – remains as fresh as ever.

“I remember Jo bought a little Richard album and I was just, ‘What the heck is that? What is this music?’ “I liked the edgy stuff and still do. The blues, though, is very subversive music, and it challenged the establishment. I always liked that about blues.”

Kelly, who formed the Blues Band in 1979, added: “As a teenager, we’d go down to the Swing Shop, a jazz record shop in Streatham and that was part of how it all developed.

“The Swing Shop used to get blues records in, and they’d come straight off the boat from America, so the owner never knew what he was going to get.

“It could be Elmore James, John Lee Hooker, anything really, and we’d hang around waiting to see what was coming.

“It was like an Aladdin’s Cave opening up in front of me.

“I was always fascinated by the whole thing of this music coming out of this box and the actual mechanism of transmitting that to an audience.

“My greatest joy in life is playing live, although we don’t usually have a set list with The Blues Band.

“We just turn up and the whole thing is fairly spontaneous - that’s how music should be.”

  • The Blues Band with Paul Jones, Clitheroe Grand, Friday, June 6. Details from 01200 421599.