A VETERAN performer who started out 53 years ago is planning a gig with a difference – in a cow shed.

Al Boden, 74, of Bayton, will perform at an open day at Mawley Farm, Cleobury Mortimer.

“I’ve played some big theatres but I prefer smaller, different venues and this fits the bill perfectly,” he said.

Mr Boden regularly tours with his novelty band, the Organic Hillbillies, having begun performing at clubs and pubs in Kidderminster in the late 1950s after leaving the RAF. He said: “I never thought I would still be playing and singing at 74 years old. Lots of people stop me in Kidderminster when I‘m out shopping and ask me where I’m playing.

“I think I’m getting more bookings now than I did when I was in my 20s and I’m enjoying it more than ever.”

The former Harry Cheshire High School pupil, who also plays the harmonica and sings, learned to play the guitar aged 20, when he was serving in the RAF.

Since then, he has supported Ken Dodd, Karl Denver and the Bachelors and also performed at Birmingham Hippodrome on the same bill as the Jim Dale and the Vipers skiffle group. Mr Boden has raised thousands of pounds for charity with some eccentric stunts. In the late 1980s, he took to the roof of the Great Western pub in Bewdley to entertain the crowds in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind and seven years ago he played guitar from the top of a tree in Mamble to raise money for Comic Relief.

“If you do something silly, people will always come along with cameras,” he said.

Mr Boden said he had no plans to retire any time soon, adding: “I just love music. I’ve worked out that I’ve played in 101 pubs in Kidderminster over the years – there’s hardly any left now.”

His gig at Mawley Farm on Saturday, July 4 begins at 1pm.