Review: Blues Boy Kings – self-titled

Posted on: Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

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Review for BLUES BOY KINGS – CD – ‘Blues Boy Kings’ – re-release 2014 http://bluesboykings.wix.com/bbk Self release

From Lincolnshire, the Blues Boy Kings are a blues band of high calibre and are active on the festival circuit. Their debut album, ‘Blues Boy Kings’ was initially released to a small audience in 2011 and it was decided, as the bands popularity has grown, to re release to a wider audience.

Although the line up is slightly different from today, it is a well put together and professional album, recorded at Tabby Road Studios, Swinderby, Lincs.

The line up on the album is Jase North on vocals, guitar and harmonica, Sam North on bass and vocals, Rich Taylor on rhythm guitar, Phil Aldridge on organ and Mark Barrett on drums and percussion. All the tracks on the album are self penned.

A great opener and beautifully put together track, ‘Trouble Come To My Back Door’ . A slow sultry blues with superb Hammond input and penetrating bass. Following was ‘So Alone’, leaning more towards southern rock, it had some great harmonies.

Loved the slide guitar on the 12 bar blues classic ‘Love That Woman’, with some great blues harp input. ‘East Shore’ has shades of Pink Floyd and is a pleasant melodic listen with acoustic guitar strumming in the background and heavyweight fuzzed guitar in the forefront, with superb vocals from Jase and Sam and a great guitar solo. A change again with a funky number, ‘Thing About Love’. There is some class guitar work and interesting backing vocals.

Rockin’ it up with a pounding Feelgood beat on ’21 Days’ , then back to some funky rhythms with Sam taking the lead vocals on ‘Make It Right’. For the next track, ‘Can’t Get Any Worse’, think Z Z Top, what a great number. ‘You Said You Love Me’ has Santana rhythms but what an epic track and amazing guitar. The final number on this exceptional album, ‘No Trains Coming’, gives us some funky blues and as with all the tracks on the CD, it is well performed and well put together.

The album has been beautifully produced and mastered and I wish Blues Boy Kings success ‘second time around’

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer http://www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

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Martin Harley (supported by Sam Lewis)

at Fogherty’s Function Room

Friday, 14th November, 2014 (doors: 7.30 pm, show: 8.30 pm)

A lifelong devotee of acoustic guitar music, especially the ageless blues/roots sounds, Martin Harley has travelled the globe absorbing a plethora of diverse influences and honing his craft into the classic songwriting style he possesses today.

Renowned for his prowess as a slide guitarist, Martin is almost unique in the UK in his playing lap slide. In other areas and styles, however, he has proved himself a master guitarist and a consistently astounding songwriter. Not only very popular in the UK, he has also earned a huge following in the US.

As in November last year, Martin will be supported by East Nashville rising star Sam Lewis, who plays a modern style of blues infused with the influences of Ray Charles and Van Morrison, in what is guaranteed to be another evening of genuine quality.

www.martinharleyband.com and www.samlewistunes.com

Fogherty’s Function Room is situated at 1 Blenheim Road (just off Smithdown Road) Liverpool L18 1EH. Tickets for the concert (£11 each in advance and £12 on the door) are obtainable from John Welsh on 0151 428 2855 or from www.johnnysbluesclub.co.uk. A fund of information on the region’s excellent blues scene can also be found at www.bluesinthenorthwest.com

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Something a little bit ‘off topic’ but Nashville trio, The Howlin’ Brothers performed a memorable show at The Compass in City Road, Chester . . . and all for free!

The band mix pure country and bluegrass . . . with the necessary touches of heartache  . . . which all made for a lovely, enjoyable evening to a healthy Monday evening crowd, in the intimate surroundings of the venue. They performed some of their own songs with a few covers, notably from the late John Hartford.

Well done to all involved in organising the gig . . . and from what I hear, they will be back over next year.

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www.thehowlinbrothers.com

www.thecompasschester.com

Words: Grahame Rhodes – Pictures: Ken Peace

Review: Liz Mandeville – Heart ‘O’ Chicago

Posted on: Monday, Oct 20, 2014

Liz Mandeville – Heart ‘O’ Chicago

(Blue Kitty Music)

Singer and guitarist Liz Mandeville was born in Wisconsin and grew up with music around her. She first recorded with Chicago bass player Aron Burton in 1996, after performing live with him over the preceding couple of years, and has gone on to record her own material for Earwig and behind several other Chicago blues artists. This set consists of songs she wrote for Shirley Johnson – she was asked to supply nine but wrote 19, and her band helped her work out these tracks.

She has strong supporting musicians, including a three piece horn section, and she also drafts in guests Billy Branch for fine harp blowing on two tracks, veteran Eddie Shaw with his customary gutsy sax on another two, and the under-valued Charlie Love duetting with Liz on the classic 60s R&B sound of ‘Don’t Doubt My Love’ and a romping ‘Smart Women Foolish Choices’.

The approach is varied but always blues-based, with some funky material such as the opening ‘Cloud Of Love’, a cool, jazzy style on ‘These Blues (these two should make any listener appreciate just what a good singer Liz is right from the off), ‘So Called Best Friend’ is a tough blues, ‘Quit Me On A Voice Mail’ sounds like classic Muscle Shoals (think ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’), and it is followed by two rather distinctive blues in ‘Party At The End Of Time’ and ‘Silver Lining (Shirley’s Blues)’.

The organ progression on ‘Tik Tok’ reminds me of Joe Cocker’s version of ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ – though the song itself is nothing like that! This leads into ‘Why Would A Woman Sing The Blues’ a first rate gender transformation of BB King’s hit, ‘Why I Sing The Blues’ and sporting a particularly fierce guitar solo from Liz herself. This highly recommended album closes out with a fine, Chicago club blues styled item ‘(Life Is Like A) Wave’, embellished with some notable harmonica work by Dizzy Bolinski.

NORMAN DARWEN

www.lizmandeville.com

Last-minute fears that the first Chester Blues Festival would be poorly attended were thankfully wide of the mark.  Saturday’s crowd at The Live Rooms grew steadily as the day progressed until an exuberant stage-front gathering greeted the bill-topping appearance of legendary Stax main man Steve Cropper.

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‘The Colonel’ though had some hard acts to follow. Billy Walton’s ferocious performance of soulful blues and rock was augmented in true ‘Jersey style’ with sax and trombone within a truly polished ensemble.  Walton is an explosive player but does it with real soul in a near jaw-dropping exploration of the versatility of guitar and its master.

Walton finally taunted the audience with the intro to several classics before always switching groove. The panache he displayed tempting us with a few bars of ‘Waiting For The Bus’ made me want the whole Billy Gibbons.  But the whole Billy Walton is more than good enough.  Highlight was a tremendous thumping ‘Walking Blues’.

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The bar had already been raised by Russell ‘Hitman’ Alexander and his wonderful band featuring the New York City Horns.  The Hitman shoots from the hip and his group is the real deal. There’s wit aplenty in compositions such as ‘(Ain’t That) Blues Enough’ and ‘Better Class of Bums’ and his determination to relocate Ralph McTell’s best-known song to the ‘Streets of Downtown’ actually works well.  But the real tour de force is when the soulful stuff gets the full treatment with trumpet, baritone and tenor sax (the wonderfully understated Michael Snyder).  ‘Every Piece of Me’ is classy soulful heartache.

You Tube-ing acts you don’t know doesn’t always paint the right picture. So it was with the afternoon’s main act, MaKuini.  A quick chat at the bar afterwards revealed the Maori ‘White Queen’ was happy to be considered an Etta James tribute act.  But ‘tribute act’ doesn’t cover the real wealth of diverse talent here as she and The Hoo Doo Men, an outfit of seasoned rock stalwarts led by The Escape Committee guitarist Sarge Frampton, certainly pushed the excitement level up. Anyway, after a career which has included singing the NZ national anthem at rugby internationals and playing alongside Yul Brynner in The King and I, she is obviously a dab hand at this versatility game.

She phrased suitably well as Etta on a storming ‘Come to Mama’ but her own ‘Down on Their Luck -‘ written when she was touring South America and referencing the jungle city of Manaus – is just as convincing a showcase of her talents.  Is this the first blues from the Amazon delta? ‘Corporate Man’ offered a chance for Frampton to stand in the spotlight.  The finale ‘I Just Want to Make Love To You’ featured a riff heavy enough for an easy segue into ‘Born To Be Wild.’

MaKuini has been likened to Tina Turner, Billie Holliday, Janis Joplin and Etta James. But she’s simply a great voice in her own right.

Late on parade, I arrived as engaging singer-songwriter Lucy Zirins was near to completing her set. A newish song ‘Mercy’ was a subtle delight with a splendid slow blues slide show ‘Hours To Waste’ from her Chasing Clocks debut album an excellent finale.

A quick chat with the lass from Burnley revealed she was taught guitar by a member of another of the day’s headliners, Danny Handley of The Animals (and Friends) who actually had the job of following the effervescent Walton.

They slowly pulled it off with straight and convincing versions of most of the original outfit’s hits (with Handley doubling as both Eric Burdon and Hilton Valentine!). As Steve Cropper said later “I wanted to play with these guys when I was back stage listening to them and I heard hit, after hit, after hit.” And these are  good enough songs to have not aged a jot.

A neat guitar solo from Handley came as surprise, being so used to the originals in which Valentine’s guitar contributions were memorable and crucial but effectively acting as second keyboard.  ‘I’m Crying’ was a real highlight as well as ‘Baby, Let Me Take You Home’ and ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place.’   ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ perhaps missed the fuzz of the original but ‘House of the Rising Sun’ went down a storm.

Keyboard man Micky Gallagher squeezed in a stint with the original band in 1965, sitting in between founder Alan Price and replacement Dave Rowberry, before going on to playing with all bands Tyneside and The Blockheads and The Clash.  But the real stalwart is original drummer John Steele, still  laying down the beat as a sprightly 72-year-old, and it was he who took centre stage to do the introductory honours  as The Animals became backing band to the day’s headliner.

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Legend he may be but it was still unabashed nostalgia time as Cropper delved into the deep, deep  well of Stax classics, most of which, of course, he co-wrote. “Flashing little stabs” is how he describes his strident, understated delayed backbeat on such as ‘In The Midnight Hour’ and ‘Soul Man.’ He sounds like absolutely no-one else.  ‘Time is Tight’ and ‘Hip Huge-Her’ missed the chunkiness of Booker T and the MGs originals but they were still great versions while ‘Green Onions’ (“not the blues side, the dance side”)  saw Cropper hit overdrive.

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The hits just kept on coming. This was no singalong but the crowd couldn’t stop themselves singing the whole of ‘Sitting On The Dock of The Bay”  – -but there was a warning from Cropper “you’d better get it right or Otis will come down and kick your butt.”

My night was complete when I met the main man and he signed the booklet of my ‘The Stax Story’ box set. Mission accomplished.

JOHN BOTTOMLEY (Words & pictures)

YouTube: JW-Jones – Love Times Ten

Posted on: Sunday, Oct 19, 2014

Blind Pig Records has released “Love Times Ten,” a video of the first track from JW-Jones‘ album entitled Belmont Boulevard.

JW-Jones is a red-hot young Canadian guitar slinger/songwriter, is set to break out in the U.S. and worldwide music scenes.  Blues Revue said that “Jones’ style is a fluid amalgam of T-Bone Walker’s big, bright chords, Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson’s slashing leads, and Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown’s jazzy sting.”

Belmont Boulevard was produced by Grammy-winning producer Tom Hambridge, who’s helmed projects for Buddy Guy, George Thorogood, and Susan Tedeschi.  Jones chose Hambridge to produce because “This CD is all about getting out of my comfort zone musically and lyrically, working with a big producer and creating a high-energy experience that matches our live show, and I knew Tom was the man to make that happen.”

Jones has worked with an impressive list of high-profile blues artists – Charlie Musselwhite, Hubert Sumlin, Kim Wilson, David “Fathead” Newman, and Jimmie Vaughan (about whom he penned a song on the album entitled “What Would Jimmie Do?”).  Known as a high-energy crowd-pleaser, Jones is set to embark on an extensive U.S. tour in support of the album.

Review: Willie & The Bandits – Live At Gouvy

Posted on: Saturday, Oct 18, 2014

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Review for WILLE & THE BANDITS – CD – ‘Live At Gouvy’ – 2014 http://www.willeandthebandits.com/ Self release

Wille & The Bandits are a unique three piece roots, rock and blues band. Their music is difficult to categorize, as they have their own individual sound and a ‘new view’ to songwriting. Their album, ‘Live At Gouvy’, is at present, only available at gigs on their current tour.

Fronting the band on vocals, electric lap slide and guitar is the amazing Wille Edwards, with superb bass man Matt Brooks on electric six string, electric upright bass and backing vocal. The power man Andrew Naumann, is on drums, percussion and backing vocals. The album was recorded live in Gouvy, Begium and most of the tracks are taken from previous albums, Grow, Breakfree, New Breed and Samsara. All tracks are self penned bar one.

Live albums always give the ‘true’ feel to a band and on this album it is no exception. The first track is ‘Keep Your Head Up’, a raw slide driven track with finger picking magic, superb. Following ‘Trouble Down The Line ‘, this was previously released as a single and has high speed blues overtones. ‘Mammon’ is a beautifully put together slow melodic track. Then raising the tempo with ‘Absence’ with great percussion. Some full on slide with some nice harmonies on ‘Keep Moving On’, then with great rootsy rock on ‘Gypsy Woman’, a fabulous track.

The performing Robert Johnson classic number ‘Crossroads’ was done in the bands own individual style, a great take. A change with a brilliant heavy rock number, ‘Virgin Eyes’ with great gravelly vocals. Next ,with solid reggae rhythms and superb drums on ‘Why D’ You Do It?’ One of my favourites, ‘Little Miss Pretty’, has a bass lead intro. It is a magnificent and haunting track leading into some great finger picking guitar and has a bluesy leaning.

‘Chill Out’ is another great track with superb percussion, then onto ‘Galloping Horses’, an up tempo number with ZZ Top rhythms and a rockin’ blues. ‘Running With The Stars’ has an Eastern influence and is a magic track which leads into reggae rhythms.

‘Jack The Lad’ the penultimate track on this class album, is a raw, get down and dirty pure earthy blues with sonic slide. The final track, ‘Angel’ is mysterious, with a jazz influence and a sprinkle of arabic input, giving a great end to a great performance.

The whole album ‘Live At Gouvy’ was buzzin’, taking us on the ‘live’ journey and bringing Wille & The Bandits classic tracks to life on stage with a big sound. Just excellent!

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

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DEBORAH BONHAM & BAND – ‘LIVE’

Fri 7th NOVEMBER – ULVERSTON Sports Club, Priory Road, Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 9HT

T:01229 582258  £10   http://www.ulverstonlivemusic.co.uk

“ Deborah Bonham and  her band are from and for the heart, soul and feet. No one does what they do. We need them” (BBC)

A regular festival favourite (Fairport Convention’s Cropredy Festival; Cambridge Rock Festival; Donington, The Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival; The Great British Rock & Blues Festival and Great British Folk Festival), Deborah Bonham &  her band began 2014 in the UK by taking the Giants of Rock festival by storm with an ecstatic crowd and an enthusiastic Classic Rock Magazine review together with a UK tour to coincide with the release of her new album ‘Spirit’.

In Europe, the band have performed at the Czech Republic’s first Rock festival alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Korn and Nazareth,  toured the Czech Republic as a result of the success of the festival, performed by invitation at the Harley-Davidson Festival in Austria, France and Portugal and 2013 saw her breaking into France with two very successful tours culminating with a magnificent performance at The Festival of Women Singers at La Traverse, Cleon.

2014 has seen the band return to Europe by popular demand for two further tours of France with the French Press calling Deborah ‘Princess of Rock’.  It has also seen a return to Harley Davidson Festival in Austria and a debut at Belgium’s ‘Spirit of 66′ club.

Deborah Bonham and her band have toured and performed with Paul Rodgers as well as Robert Plant, Van Halen, Ann Peebles, Humble Pie, Foreigner, Nazareth, Jools Holland and Stax label legend Steve Cropper. Her stunning band have also backed Paul Rodgers for several UK shows, which in 2103 featured Deborah in a stunning duet with Paul on the Free classic, ‘Oh I Wept’ to the delight of the sold out audience. Bad Company also invited Deborah to open for them in USA on their 40th Anniversary Tour.  Deborah has now been invited by Paul Rodgers to perform at The Royal Albert Hall November 3rd 2014 as his Special Guest

Her new album ‘Spirit’ hosts a classic mix of Country, Blues, Rock, and Soul and has met with critical acclaim and such superlatives as ‘simply stunning’. Mixed and mastered in Nashville, it features Marco Giovino on drums (Robert Plant’s Band of Joy, Norah Jones) and her long standing Live band of Peter Bullick on guitar, Ian Rowley on bass and Gerard Louis on keyboards. The album also features a very special guest appearance from Robert Plant and pedal steel supremo BJ Cole.

2015 is now being booked with French, UK, Swiss and Scandinavian dates already in place.

YouTube: Igor Prado Band feat. Raphael Wressnig

Posted on: Saturday, Oct 18, 2014

Absolutely tremendous . . . Brazil meets Austria . . . Igor Prado Band with Raphael Wressnig.

Doghouse Sam & His Magnatones – Knock Knock

(Music Avenue/ Blues Boulevard: 250366)

This European trio makes a big, big noise with just a guitar, upright bass and a drum kit! There are some tough blues here, even a Papa Lightfoot flavoured piece (leader, singer and guitarist Doghouse Sam – a.k.a. Wouter Celis – also plays some mean blues harp here) and the power of his vocals is also demonstrated in no uncertain terms with a couple of almost a cappella numbers… but good though these are, what these guys do best is rocking the blues, as on the opening ‘Something Wrong’, with its hints of rockabilly along with the driving slide guitar in front of the powerhouse rhythm section of Jack O’Roonie on bass and Franky Gomez on drums.

‘Kings & Queens’ has more traditional rock and roll sound, lurching rhythm and hiccoughy vocals, whilst the title track is a little akin to Dale Hawkins’ Southern hit ‘Suzie-Q’ and the catchy ‘Road’ has hints of country – or is it called Americana these days? – before it is back to a 50s sound for ‘All It Takes’. ‘All I Need Outta You’ is a fine rocking blues, with some tough slide guitar, ‘Time Takes Care’ has a spooky bayou sound, whilst ‘Ce Qui Est Fait Est Fait’ (“what’s done is done”) is mostly in English and has a strong vocal over dustbin lid drumming.

‘Scratch A Lie’ has a rocking Memphis sound and ‘You Snooze You Lose’ a 50s R&B sound, not quite preparation for the 60s styled Indian-flavoured intro to the immense rocker ‘Fine Ain’t Good Enough’ (and how many blues tracks do you have that reference Star Trek’s Captain Kirk?) before the proceedings close out with Sam’s solo vocal ‘Tell A Tale’.

The only reservation I have is the short playing time – just 35 minutes – although in one sense that only adds to the authenticity of this release. Those familiar with the one-time Alligator act The Paladins will have an idea of how this album sounds, and if you like your blues to rock, check it out.

NORMAN DARWEN

www.doghousesam.info

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The Jon Casey Blues Band travelled from the Liverpool area to debut here in Chorley and what a show they gave. The band that has been together for about 2 to 3 years are a breath of fresh air, they are a blues band of the highest calibre, and the BJ’s faithful enjoyed every minute.

Jon Casey who is only 24 years of age, played and performed like a veteran bluesman, he is a new talent and we will hear a lot more of him in the coming years, his vocals were clear and concise, and the bands mix of sound was spot on, an enjoyable experience from the beginning.

Steve Faulkner on bass guitar and vocals, a gentleman and a veteran of the Liverpool music scene and has played with some great bands over the years, Ocean being one, and he has been on the charity circuit for many years, a true professional.

David Goldberg on keys and vocals – another stalwart of Liverpool’s musical history, he plays with Liverpool Express and Rumours of Fleetwood Mac. David and Steve have an association going back longer than they liked to admit. Lastly Jimmy Mac on drums – one of the leading lights in the percussion department, just terrific.

The bands ever growing repertoire of blues classics reaches the young as well as the mature, they gave us covers from Eric Clapton, Cream, John Mayall, and Peter Green, Fleetwood Mac, Rory Gallagher, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joe Bonamassa. The band also gave their rearranged blues version of the Bill Withers hit ‘Ain’ No Sunshine’, it was brilliant, the whole show was.

KEITH BLACKLEDGE
National & international music reviewer

Gigs: Stark – Upcoming North West dates

Posted on: Thursday, Oct 16, 2014

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Highly acclaimed young blues band Stark are coming up north to play two very special gigs.

The first will be on Friday, 24th October, at the Bluefunk Rhythm and Blues Club’s new venue, Ronnie’s Bar (formerly known as the Kiva Club), in Macclesfield:
www.ronnies-bar.co.uk

Promoter Garry White is putting on some top-class gigs at this venue. Stark will be following hot on the heels of Jim Kirkpatrick’s Heavy Weather, with special guest appearance from Bernie Marsden, on 16th October. Check out the programme on:
http://bluefunkclub.wix.com/blues#!gig-list/c6h4

Garry thinks very highly of Stark and makes the following comment:
‘Every now and again (not often enough), out of a clear blue sky a gift falls right in my lap. STARK is such a gift. Fresh, talented, innate charisma, and hungry. Hungry means hardworking and no-one can accuse these young men of sitting around waiting for things to happen. They are out there, everywhere; anywhere that will have them, and once you grab a listen you would be a fool not to snap at the chance to see them live.

Most importantly they are young, anything but formulaic with a very clever pen and a super intelligent eye for music to cover as well. With a strong thread of blues in the cut of their cloth, the promise contained within this band is irresistible. Catch them now while they are cheap.’

Stark’s version of ‘Death Letter’ by Son House: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQgez4QKsE4

Stark cover ‘Crash on the Levee’ by Bob Dylan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-BsSIlZqlo

The second gig will be on Sunday, 26th October, at the Kirkgate Arts Centre, Cockermouth, when Stark will open for Ian Parker, presented by Top Table Promotions

Brilliant bluesman Ian Parker needs no introduction and this will be his first Cumbrian gig since his electrifying performance at Carlisle Blues Festival in 2013.

This is a rare opportunity to see a supremely talented musician, supported by one of the most exciting young bands on the circuit.

Tickets £12, from: http://www.toptablepromotions.co.uk/events/Ian-Parker

Don’t know who or what time.

mockingbirdtaproom.co.uk

https://twitter.com/MockingbirdCH1

https://twitter.com/MockingbirdCH1

YouTube: Joanne Shaw Taylor

Posted on: Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014

Joanne Shaw Taylor has released a second video that goes behind the scenes of fourth album The Dirty Truth.

http://youtu.be/f8cbzua9lcY

Review: B.B. & The Blues Shacks – Businessmen

Posted on: Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014

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B.B. & The Blues Shacks – Businessmen

(CrossCut Records: CCD 11108)

Although it has been out a few months now it would be amiss not to say a few words about the seventh release on CrossCut Records from Germany’s B.B. & The Blues Shacks – as one of Europe’s finest blues bands hits 25 years, and some 3,000 gigs! The band are still led by founder members, the Arlt brothers – Michael on harmonica and vocals, and Andreas on guitar – accompanied by long-time bass player Henning Hauerken; the line-up completed by Dennis Koeckstadt (keyboards) and Jochen Reich (drums).

“Businessmen” is well up to the band’s usual high standard and was recorded in Vienna towards the end of last year, with the 15 tracks featuring all originals, bar one cover . . . and as ever comprising of a broad span from roadhouse blues, soulful struts, and some funky edges and more . . . all making for a most enjoyable ‘journey’. Fleshing out the sound are the tremendous three piece horn section, The No Blow No Show Horns, who are present on all tracks bar two. They comprise: Tom Muller (tenor & baritone saxophone), Stefan Gossinger (trumpet) and Martin Grunzweig – with all the arrangements by Muller.

A swirl of organ from Dennis Koeckstadt kicks off the chunky opener, “Out Of Tears”, with the punch horns to the fore; the soulful groove of “Take My Name” is another early treat with lovely clipped guitar from Andreas Arlt and the rhythm section of Hauerken and Reich right ‘on the money’. The title cut, “Businessmen”, again rides on a nice funky vibe with some tasteful harmonica from Michael Arlt and trademark class vocal performance.

The jazzy swing of the instrumental “Buckle Up” contains some nice sparring between Koeckstadt’s organ playing and the guitar of Andreas Arlt, and the number recalls the work of the Hammond greats such as Brother Jack McDuff and Jimmy Smith; the whole band hit a Texas roadhouse shuffle for the rousing “Pardon Me”, led by some tough harmonica and the driving rhythm section – a standout amongst many tracks here, with the band absolutely cooking – Dennis Koeckstadt with sparkling piano on this.

Elsewhere the sole cover, John Brim’s “It Was A Dream”, pays due reverence to the original; “Green Eye” is a soulful number with shades of the classic Booker T & The MGs. The pace is taken up for the penultimate track, “Blues Shadow”, with an acoustic guitar intro giving way to some lovely electric playing from Andreas Arlt and again it features the lovely punchy sound of The No Blow No Show Horns.

As previously noted B.B. & The Blues Shacks continue to one of the finest outfits in Europe and needless to say “Businessmen” has class written all over it, and comes highly recommended.

GRAHAME RHODES

www.bluesshacks.de

www.crosscut.de

Review: Red Dirt Skinners – Live In Aberdeen

Posted on: Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014

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Review for THE RED DIRT SKINNERS – CD – ‘Live In Aberdeen’ http://www.reddirtskinners.com/ Self release

The Red Dirt Skinners are an acoustic duo who give us rootsy country music with influences from folk, blues, bluegrass, Ragtime to Americana, Southern rock and more. This is evident in their excellent current live album, ‘ Live In Aberdeen’. They are Rob and Sarah Skinner.

With Rob on superb acoustic guitar, vocals and percussion and Sarah on super sexy soprano sax and vocals, they make a formative duo. They give us some great harmonies and class musicianship, (Sarah was voted ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ in the British Blues Awards 2014) Some tracks on the album are self penned.

The album kicks off with a country blues, ‘Cornbread Peas and Black Molasses’ setting the scene and giving a taste of what is to come. Plenty of country roots, interspersed with Ragtime with the likes of ‘Shreveport To New Orleans’ and folky input with ‘The Monkey And The Engineer’. Some super sax on the country blues ‘Pound Sign’ and a great take on the final number ‘Hot Tamales’ an up tempo ragtime number with exceptional jazzy sax.

The whole album is an easy listen and if you like rootsy acoustic music this will appeal to you. It is music that takes us away from the norm, but draws its influences from Texas and other southern states. A great duo that come to life on a live stage with a big sound and the excellent album ‘Live in Aberdeen’ gives you a taste of that!

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer http://www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

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