A Tribute To ‘Coop’ – Orkney Blues Fest. 2019

By Bernie Bell

When I heard of Coop’s passing, it knocked me.  We didn’t know him well, but we knew him, got on fine with him, and very much appreciated his music.  Coop didn’t just play guitar, and play music – he took you into the guitar, and into the music, with him.

We first came across Coop, about 12 years ago, playing in Blue Rooster, with John Adams and Pete Philips.  The launch party for the Blue Rooster c.d., in what used to be Matchies in the Albert Hotel, Kirkwall, was a reet good do, and is still a very good memory.

Blue Rooster CD Bell

Then he turned up with The Fastliners – a motley crew of excellent musicians – then in his own band, The Ian Cooper Experience. Could seem a little arrogant – borrowing the name from Jimi, but, well, Coop really was very good indeed, so, I, for one, didn’t quibble about that.

The last time we saw The Ian Cooper Experience, was in the Stromness Legion. It was supposed to be a one hour set, but they just kept going. I was dancing for three hours, hit a wall of tiredness, and had to go home, but, they were still playing, when we left!

We still have some most excellent guitarists on Orkney and they have what Coop had, but Coop had that, plus about 50 years…Experience………The Ian Cooper Experience!

I’m just glad that I have the Blue Rooster c.d., which I put on, and sing along to Coop, to what could be my anthem “Can’t help it ‘bout the shape I’m in, I can’t sing, I ain’t pretty , and my legs are thin. But don’t ask me what I think of you, I might not give the answer that you want me to.”

Ian Cooper Bell

And so, when I heard that there is to be a tribute to Coop at this year’s Blues Fest – Sunday  – from 5 p.m.  – The Royal – Stromness – I knew I’ll have to go to it – I might not dance for three hours, but I’ll immerse myself in the music, again.

The Orkney Blues Festival 2019 – to quote the Blue Rooster cd cover…….”Trust the Blues – Rock & Roll Baby.”


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