What is Hokum?

Hokum is "blues with a smile on its face"

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Jim Murray

Sharing the stage with such greats as Johnny Shines, Larry Johnson, Long John Baldry, Jo Ann Kelly, Eric Bibb

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Pete Mason

Sharing the stage with such greats as Mississippi Fred McDowell, Johnny Shines, Diz Disley

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The Hokum Hotshots are an acoustic duo based in the North East of England.

They play a wide variety of 30’s, 40’s and 50’s country blues, west coast swing, jazz and vaudeville – and they play it very well indeed. They have been in the business over thirty years now as a duo, and also as solo artists.

The Hokums are almost house-trained and would make agreat addition to any blues club or festival.


Jim Murray - Hokum Hotshots

Jim Murray

Peter Mason - Hokum Hotshots

Peter Mason

The Hokum Hotshots met in short pants (they’ve always been excitable) in the late ‘60s at the legendary South Tyne Folk and Blues club, and have been playing together, on and off, ever since. Pigmeat, Mr. Charlie, and The Shinola Boys are names that have adorned their guitar cases in the years since that memorable meeting, but Jim Murray and Pete Mason are happy to be – The Hokum Hotshots...

Hokum is ‘blues with a smile on its face’ and the Hotshots do it very well...

Instruments played include vocals (2), Steel National and Dobro Horizontal Guitars, Mandolin, Tiple (a 10 stringed South American instrument), ukulele, and acoustic 6 stringed guitars.

That makes a total of over 50 available strings, of which most are hit in the right order.

Ralph Bown, York luthier extraordinaire, has been responsible for either building or repairing (and in some cases, both) these fine instruments. The musical influences range from field hollers, through ragtime, vaudeville, country blues, jazz and swing, through to the urban blues of the 1940s. Add to this compositions sympathetic to the tradition and a large dash of humour and you get close to defining the music that is The Hokum Hotshots.

Over the years the Hokums have shared the stage with such greats as Mississippi Fred McDowell, Johnny Shines, Diz Disley, Martin Carthy, Larry Johnson, Long John Baldry, Jo Ann Kelly, Eric Bibb, Aurora Block, Kieran Halpin, Martin Simpson and many more. They have played Dublin, Cork, Banbury, Burnley, Aberdeen and Wrexham Blues Festivals, Trowbridge, Wath, Penicuik, Crawley and Gatehouse of Fleet Folk Festivals, from the Highland Festival in Inverness to a forestry festival in Holland, Paul Jones Blues programme on BBC Radio 2 and various other radio and television spots, in addition to many appearances at clubs, pubs and arts centres throughout the UK, Ireland and the Continent...

We Play:

Jim and Pete play a wide variety of instruments, you will regularly see an assortment of the following gracing the stage.

Our Guitars

Made by expert Luthier Ralph Bown, faithful replicas of:

  • Gibson L00
  • Gibson L1
  • Martin 00028HK
  • Martin Tiple
  • Stella 12 string

Vintage instruments:

  • Gibson Cromwell
  • Gibson L3
  • Gibson A mandolin
  • Dayton B mandola
  • National Style 0
  • National Triolian
  • National Tricone style 2
  • National Tricone style 3
  • La Foley boxneck lapsteel
  • Dobro style 27 lapsteel

Not to mention a Beltona Tricone, National M2, plus the odd washboard or two maybe we will put some pictures up someday, or better still come to a gig and see them for yourselves! More inforamtion about The Martin Tiple.


Gig Dates. These will also be posted on Facebook, including invites, directions, start times, no excuse not to go then!

  • 11/2/2017 -  Concert appearance at Appleton Thorn Village Hall, Stretton Rd, WA4 4 Warrington, England, doors 7.30pm. Good stretch out after our winter hibernation, come along and shake yer booties
  • 05/05/2017 - Blues at the Cleveland Bay - Eaglescliffe, 8.30pm
  • 26/05/2017 - Blues and Bourbon evening, Glass Centre, Sunderland 8.30pm, still some tickets left, look sharp though!
  • 25/06/2017 - Billy Bootleggers Newcastle  (web https://www.facebook.com/billybootleggers/) Sunday evening blues
  • 09/07/2017 - Hartlepool United Supporters Club Sandringham Rd, ts268ps - 5.00pm in the Lounge
  • 30/07/2017 - Monkey Junk Blues Club - The Cluny, Newcastle with Lee Bates and Billy Newton. 4.00 - 7.00 free
  • 12/08/2017 - Hokums with Lee Bates and Billy Newton at the Almasy Brewery. Unit 11, Algernon Industrial Estate, Newcastle upon Tyne NE27 0NB 4pm onwards. Free and fun! 
  • 26/08/2017 - The Railway - Berry Brow - Huddersfield  9.00pm
  • 27/08/2017 - Congleton Jazz and Blues Festival. The Beartown Cock, 88 Lawton St, Congleton CW12 1RS - 5pm - 8pm
  • 01/09/2017 - Storming the Castle rally at Witton Castle 2.30 - 5.00pm in the Hobgobllin bar. Info https://storminthecastle.co.uk/
  • 6,7,8/10/2017 - Dalbeattie Folk Festival. Back in Bonny Scotland
  • 20/10/2017 - Hookers Blues Club, Worthenbury Village Hall - Church Rd, Worthenbury, Wrexham LL13 0AW, UK Really looking forward to returning here, a fabulous gig. Website http://www.hookerblues.co.uk/#gigs
  • 9/11/2017 -  Hokum Hotshots at the Magnesia Bank Acoustic sessions. North Shields 8-11pm 
  • 24/11/2017 - New Roots Club. at the New Headingley Club. 56 St Michaels Road Headingley, Leeds LS6 3BG with old buddy Dave Speight 8.30p 
  • GIGS 2018
  • 20/4/2018 - Bedlington Community Centre, 60 West End Front St, Bedlington NE22 5UB, UK. Doors 8pm
  • 11/5/2018 -  Keswick Jazz and Blues Festival. The Loft. Kings Arms Hotel Courtyard, Main Street, Keswick CA12 5BL  12 noon - 2pm
  • 11/5/2018 -  As the Last Gasp Spasm Band  with the rest of the mad folks at Keswick Jazz and Blues Festival. The Loft. Kings Arms Hotel Courtyard, Main Street, Keswick CA12 5BL  3pm - 5pm
  • 1/7/2018 - LGSB at the Cluny Newcastle 4-7pm
  • 17/7/2018 - The Lightship LV50 - Hokums all at sea again, 7pm Blyth Harbour Commission South Harbour Blyth NE24 3PB UK   £10 tickets
  • 10/8/2018 - The Hearth, Main Road Horsley Newcastle Upon Tyne NE15 0NT. 8pm
  • 18/09/2018 - Private party, we best behave then!
  • 09/10/2018 - Little big weekend, Blue Funk Blues, Poynton 4-5.30 pm
  • 19/10/2018 - Blues at the Bay, The Cleveland Bays, Eaglescliffe 8pm
GIGS 2019
  • 04/05/2019 - Ripley Blues Club  https://ripleylive.com/index.php/upcoming-events Doors 8.30pm
  • 01/06/2019 - Diggle Blues Festival Oldham. https://www.digglebluesfestival.co.uk/ Doors 4.45pm 
  • 09/06/2019 - The Railway Berry Brow https://www.facebook.com/railway.berrybrow Doors 6.00pm
  • 14/07/2019 - South hields Folk Club  Customs House Mill Dam South Shields. www.southshieldsfolkclub.co.uk   The club we helped to run all those years ago, playing unplugged  8.30pm, may be a special guest! 
  • 06/09/2019 - Blind Pig Blues club, The Prohibition bar, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle. https://www.facebook.com/BlindPigNCL/ 50th anniversarry gig for us! Doors 8.30pm
  • 15/09/2019 - Darlington R&B Festival  Boot and Shoe Doors 2.30 pm.
  • 14/12/2019 - The Cluny 2 Newcastle, Gig in memory of the late and wonderful Jonny Dickinson, us and loads of others, all day jobbie I think
In case anyone is wondering where we have gone too. We took a decision last year to "hibernate" over the winter months where it is cold and travel is a pain in the arse. The intention is to rehearse some new material and allows us time to pursue other individual projects.  In future the Hokum season will be March through till October with the winters off. Watch this space for next seasons gigs soon.

  GIGS 2020

26/4/2020    Sunday     New one for us. The Spinners Arms  Cummersdale, near Carlisle  Afternoon gig 3pm till 5pm
15/5/2020    Friday        Return gig at the Hearth  Arts Centre  Main Road    Horsley  NE15 0NT   8pm
19/6/2020    Friday       Return gig at the Cleveland Bay Blues  8pm
05/7/2020    Sunday     South Shields Folk Club  now at Jack Clark Park  8pm
17/7/2020    Friday       Summertime Festival, outside at the Sage  1pm



Guitar Swing

Guitar Swing by Hokum Hotshots

Track Listing

  • Larry (the Lardy Man)
  • Papa wants a Cookie
  • Another Year
  • Hawaiian Stormy Weather
  • Some Cold Rainy Day
  • Downtown Blues
  • Guitar Swing
  • Everyboby Oughta Make a Change
  • Coalman Blues
  • John The Revelator
  • You May Leave, but this'll Bring You Back
  • On the Far Side
  • Mojo Hand
  • (Hey Lawdy Mama,) France Blues
  • Wayayan Wonders

Old Hat

Old Hat by Hokum Hotshots

Track Listing

  • Broken Levee Blues
  • Railroad Blues
  • Oh Death
  • Dallas Rag
  • Red Hot Blues
  • When I Been Drinking
  • Second Hand Woman
  • Iron Horse
  • Trouble In Mind
  • WPA Blues
  • Travelling Shoes
  • You Just As Well Let Her Go
  • Preacher Blues
  • You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone
  • Morning Blues
  • How Come You Ain't Rich?
  • Winnie The Wailer
  • Palakiko Blues
  • Darktown Poker Club

Still In The Game

Still In The Game Hokum Hotshots

Track Listing

  • Southern Woopee Blues
  • New K.C. Railroad Blues
  • Indian Girl
  • What You're Sitting On
  • Travelling BLues
  • You Do Me Anyway
  • Unknown Blues
  • (You Don't Need) No Religion
  • Badmouth
  • Cat's Whisker (Dog's Bollox)
  • Canned Heat
  • New Maybe It's The Blues
  • Seminole Blues
  • Tear It Down


Walking Blues

Travellin' Song

Don't You Lie To Me

Big Bill's Blues

Kind words from real people!

"Music that brightens the dullest day"

Bob Johnston (Tyne Tees Television weather man)

"Absolute magic"

Mike Neville (Tyne Tees Television presenter)

"‘One of the country’s best and most experienced guitar duos’"

Newcastle Evening Chronicle

"The interplay between the two is at times breathtaking"

Wolves Weekly (Aberdeen gig guide)

"(They are) both highly skilled acoustic multi-instumentalists."

Blues and Rhythm

"A good and varied set from probably the most accessible of the acoustic acts"


"Highly entertaining"

Riffs Magazine

"The Hokums were, as ever, wonderful"

Scots Blues News