A LEGENDARY R'n'B club boss who has been keeping music live in the Black Country for more than a quarter of a century has launched a book looking back at all the bands that have rocked at The Robin over the years.

Mike Hamblett, who grew up in Quarry Bank, was a former GKN apprentice and drummer in Black Country bands who started his own PA company before plunging his life savings into launching The Robin R'n'B Club at Merry Hill 26 years ago.

The unassuming venue, adjoining the old Robin Hood Inn, became a roaring success - giving artists from across the world the chance to play intense and intimate shows in front of passionate music fans.

In 2003 - however - the much-loved music hang out which had welcomed some of the biggest names in rock closed its doors and was later demolished to make way for expansions planned at the neighbouring Merry Hill Shopping Centre.

Mike, however, had already launched a new venue - The Robin 2, in Mount Pleasant, Bilston, in 1998 and it was already well established by the time the original club was knocked down in 2005.

The new venture was bigger and also included a restaurant, hotel and bar - and gave Mike and his team the chance to come back stronger than ever.

Hollywood star Steven Seagal, legendary blues rock singer/songwriter Joe Bonamassa, glam rockers Slade, former 80s chart star Belinda Carlisle are just some of the big names to have graced the stage at the Robin 2, which has scooped a number of best music venue awards.

But Mike has documented each and every one and his book 'Keepin' Music Live - My Story by Mike Hamblett' chronicles them all.

He said: "It mentions every band that's ever played at both venues."

The book was launched at an event at The Robin 2 on Saturday November 24 with Slade's Jim Lea (pictured below with Mike) and a special acoustic set from Spike and The Quireboys.

Stourbridge News:

Mike said: "It was a really nice afternoon."

Priced £20, the book tells Mike's story and a host of anecdotes about memorable gigs over the years.

Music fans can order a copy by calling 01902 401211 or via the website www.therobin.co.uk. It is also available to buy on Amazon.