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The Wacky World of Barabbas

Onliest Smeg (David Richings)



Louis Barabbas is a writer, performer and label director, best known for caustic love songs and energetic live stage shows. Louis Barabbas and the Bedlam Six are one of my favourite acts seen at Ramsbottom Festival.


His performance career began in the Captive Audience Theatre Company, an influence captured in later live shows and videos. He later switched to music as harmonica player for a number of bands spread across the genre spectrum. For two years he was a fifth of rock outfit The Derelicts and earned the moniker “the hairy Bez of blues harp” for his unpredictable onstage antics. After the band split he moved to Philadelphia, recorded with Dr. Dog and subsequently returned to the UK with a headful of ideas drawn from the East Coast underground live scene.


In 2006 he turned front-man and formed Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six (transitioning from Louis Barabbas and the Black Velvet Band). The band was together until 2016 and released three studio albums, one live album, two EPs, a DVD and toured all over the world, sharing the stage with such disparate acts as Motorhead, Supergrass, The Blockheads and Sun Ra’s Arkestra.


Realising that unfashionable, genre-hopping groups such as his own could only achieve success through sheer stubbornness he formed the label Debt Records with bandmates Biff Roxby and Dan Watkins, an enterprise devoted to supporting exceptional touring artists that didn’t suit a traditional marketing approach (or indeed a comfortable lifestyle).


In 2012 he was nominated for the Independent Entrepreneur Award by the Association of Independent Music (AIM) for his work with Debt Records and Un-Convention.


Louis passionately believes in the unifying force of music – that good songs have the power to educate, entertain and console. One day he hopes to write one that does all three.


Unfortunately, disillusioned with the state of the music industry the band went their amicable separate ways. Louis is currently working as a fireman in Dunvegan on Skye.


Live – a truly entertaining and captivating act…


I Ain’t Done


Tell Tale Hound


Mother, live solo


Waiting for bad news


Writing My List for Christmas




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I enjoyed that lot. Just can't quite place a similar act, but there is a touch of Nick Cave, Matt Johnson and other left-of-fields in him.


The first video reminded me (in visual content) of this...


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