BLUESMAN Paul Jones and his band return to Wirral later this year for the 25th International Guitar Festival.

Also featuring Dave Kelly, Tom McGuinness, Rob Townsend and Gary Fletcher, The Blues Band - formed in 1979 - will perform at the Floral Pavilion Theatre on November 23.

The show features wall-to-wall hits from their 18 albums. 

Looking ahead to their Wirral return Paul told the Globe: "Blues is not miserable and the show is not going to be a pity party.

"As far as I’m concerned the blues is exciting as any other form of music.

"The last time we were in Wirral we played at Pacific Road, which was a great venue that has sadly closed. We played there a few times."

Paul was one of the young hopefuls who frequently 'sat in' with Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated in 1962.

It led to Brian Jones offering him the role of lead singer in the group he was forming.

Today Paul has no regrets about turning down The Rolling Stones. But the next time someone asked if he wanted to be in a group, he said "yes". It was as lead singer for Manfred Mann.

The group's many hits included 5-4-3-2-1.

Paul went solo in 1966 and had a few more including I’ve Been A Bad, Bad Boy.

He also enjoyed success as an actor with stage roles including Romeo, Hamlet and the odd musical such as Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

By 1979, he decided the time was right for a band playing blues – and his first call was to Tom McGuinness and the result was The Blues Band.

After 18 albums and more than a thirty years of touring the world, the band continues to attract new generations of blues fans.

During these years Paul's made several excursions back into acting. After a stint as one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats, he joined The Royal National Theatre to play MacHeath in The Beggar’s Opera. 

His musical efforts have earned Paul a Doctor of  Music from the University Of Portsmouth and he is president of The National Harmonica League.

His weekly blues show on BBC Radio 2 is a must-listen on Monday evenings. He has also written specialist questions for “Mastermind”.

In 2001, Paul was honoured by the TV show “This Is Your Life” and more recently voted ‘Harmonica Player Of The Year’ in the British Blues awards.

Paul continued: "When you've been going in a band like ours for 34 years and someone shouts out during a concert a song what they want to hear, it’s nice to know that there's a wealth of great material to use.

"I always thought I’d end up doing what I always wanted to for a very long time. Music is my life and I’m happy with the way the career has gone.

“Bluesmen tend to die in harness and become greater as the get older. Some of the oldest have died in their 90s. So, hopefully, we’ll be entertaining our fans for a long time yet.”

Taking place from November 6-28, the festival will be staged at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton, the historic Birkenhead Priory and Williamson Art Gallery in Oxton.

British rock and roll great Joe Brown will open the three-week celebration at the Floral Pavilion.

Also appearing are former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, Squeeze co-founder Glenn Tilbrool and Australian-born Grammy Award-winning classical guitarist John Williams.

Among the Wirral performers are Gerry Murphy, Phil Chisnall's band, Carl Chase and Gary Murphy.

Tickets and full programme details are from or 0151 666 0000.