Henrik Freischlader – Live 2014 (Night Train To Budapest Farewell Tour)

(Cable Car Records: CCR 0311-45

German ‘all-rounder’ Henrik Freischlader bowed out from a prolific ten year period of recording and touring with this mighty fine live album – “Live 2014 (Night Train To Budapest Farewell Tour)” – recorded in his home country last November. As well as being a sublime guitar player, he also sings, produces – both his own material and other artistes – as well as writing the songs!

This 10-track collection illustrates the broad spectrum of his music – from the melodic love songs, to out-and-out rockers, some funk, and of course a blues input. He is ably assisted by his road band, comprising of: Theofilos Fotiadis (bass), Dirk Sengotta (drums) and Moritz Fuhrop (keyboards) – a most skilled group of musicians and the perfect foil for Freischlader to weave his magic on top of.

Proceedings get under way with the funky “A Better Man”, with it’s cool groove and the prominent keys of Moritz Fuhrop; the following, lengthy “Too Cool For Me” again is beautifully performed by all present and never overstays its welcome over a leisurely 8:45, complete with trademark stinging, but very tasteful guitar solo.

The pace is taken up for the blues shuffle, “Disappointed Women”, which fairly rattles along to start with, driven by the rhythm section of Fotiadis and Sengotta, and again with telling contributions from Moritz Fuhrop – with Freischlader taking the music right down and building it up again . . . lovely indeed!

Elsewhere we have the reggae-groove of “Keep Playin'”, the funky rocker”Point of View” and the powerful “Gimme All You Got”. However for me, the best is saved for last – the gorgeous, self-explanatory “Guitar Intro”, which gives way to the stunning closer, “Desert Love”. At a combined 15-minutes plus it shows everything good about Freischlader and band. It’s a truly lovely song with more amazing guitar and the band again playing their part – with Fuhrop particularly embellishing the song, and heartfelt vocals – it’s a gem!

I’m sure this isn’t really farewell from this most talented of musicians – possibly just a ‘battery recharge’. One thing is for sure he has produced some mighty fine music over the last ten years, and this live album can be added to that list. Of course, highly recommended.




Left Lane Cruiser1

I love these guys.

Not the same old blues – genuine lo-fi rockers.

Left Lane Cruiser has a new album approaching. Dirty Spliff Blues.

You can here three tunes online here.


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The latest blues jam night at Alexander’s in Rufus Court, Chester, takes place this coming Sunday, 31st May.

Just £3 entry.


Mississippi mourns B.B. King

Posted on: Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mississippi mourns B.B. King

Here’s a lovely piece on B.B. King.


Review: Little Devils – The Storm Inside

Posted on: Wednesday, May 27, 2015

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Little Devils – The Storm Inside

(Krossborder Rekords: KBR2015/3)

This is the fourth album from a band that had its origins in various jam sessions that took place in 2010 at the London music bar of their Dutch lead vocalist and very formidable saxophone player Yoka Qureshi. She is joined by fellow founder and bassist Graeme Wheatley, completing the line-up are Big Ray on guitar, and Sara Leigh Shaw on drums and percussion.

The fourteen original numbers start and finish with instrumentals, the opener ‘Storm Warning,’ is a slow, heavy, foreboding Dobro and harmonica and closes with an equally melancholy ‘Heavy Rain,’ a loping mixture of floating flute, jangling guitar and heavy treading saxophone.

The numbers in-between possess a woven array of influences which evoke memories of seventies art, hard and progressive rock; the guitar work is tight, firm and solid, also, enmeshed within the overall sound is a very individual and contemporary English blues feel, while, circling above are cool jazz inflected tinges courtesy of Yoka’s infectiously dancing flute.

Such is the affirmation and confidence of the band that they were featured in “The Best of British Blues Vol 1″ released by Krossborder Rekords last year. Yoka has a commanding vocal presence, one that conjures up aural images of Dusty Springfield, Marianne Faithfull and Alison Moyet.

‘Wounded’, contains a strutting Roxy Music feel in its guitar and drumwork which is accompanied by some wonderful twirling, swirling flute passages, while the mixture of slide guitar and swinging violin courtesy of Diana Stone on ‘Cold’, emits the feel of a jolly twenties or thirties cocktail party.

‘Birth of The Blues’ is a guitar and bass led soul searching modern day story of love and violence swirling all around you, while you are a bewildered bystander. ‘A Long Time Ago’, is imbued with rockin’ blues guitar flourishes and a sixties style ‘oohing’ dancing flute (think of ‘The Saint’ theme tune) with de-rigueur girly vocal backing behind Graeme’s low gravel vocals.

‘I Still Want It Back’, is a present day solid, slow rocking guitar crunching blues, but on ‘Stand’,  we are taken back to the glorious early days of sixties soul with a thumping solid backbeat and a storming brass section that urges you onto the dance floor.

The Little Devils cannot be easily pigeon-holed, for they easily straddle a number of styles and certainly encompass a few generations of time. But they are certainly of today.



Nevis Blues

Posted on: Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What’s that you say – a blues festival on Nevis, a Caribbean Island?

Well yes – please sign me up.



Making their debut here at long last The Welsh T Band crossed the border from Yorkshire and performed some hot classic rock/blues along with some original material from their CD entitled “Where The Road Leads”.

John Terry, aka Welsh T, the founder of the band on lead vocal and guitar was superb, his contrasting vocals were fabulous and was the catalyst for the bands overall performance – it’s what front men do and he can.

On lead guitar was Kevin “Geetar”Ackroyd a musician of the highest order his skillful solos and riffs were brilliant, a cornerstone of the band. The rhythm section was well stocked with David Hoyle on bass guitar and on drums Greg Gallagher – all was faultless in the engine room.

The core of the band over the last 15 years have been up and down the country gigging on the pub circuit and have performed at many music festivals including the R&B festival at Colne.

This band has a lot more to offer I’m sure of that, with superb musicianship and a passion for performing to packed venues. The crowd enjoyed the music and danced the night away, as another great night for live music came to a close.

The original songs of the album performed by the band were “Lucky Man”, ” Sweet Shop”, “April Fool Blues”, “I Don’t Know”, “How Much”, “It’s Cold Outside”, “Place in my Heart”, and the title song “Where The Road Leads”.

The ‘bread and butter classics’ performed were “Got My Mojo Working”,  “Before You Accuse Me”, “If My Baby Quit Me”, “Albatross”, “Need Your Love So Bad”, “The Sky is Crying”, and many more.


National & international independent music reviewer


Micke Bjorklof CD Cover

Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip – Ain’t Bad Yet
(Hokahey Records: HHR 1501)

“Ain’t Bad Yet” is the sixth album of Finnish band Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip. The band was formed in 1991 and the current line-up has been together for more than fifteen years. The band members are Micke Bjorklof on lead vocals, harmonica and guitar, Lefty Leppanen on electric and National steel guitar and backing vocals, Teemu Vuorela on drums, Seppo Nuolikoski on bass and backing vocals and Timo Roiko-Jokela on percussion and MalletKAT. Additional backing vocals are provided by Lena Lindroos and Veera Railio. Tim Lewis plays Hammond organ/Rhodes on five of the tracks and John Porter plays guitar on one track.

“Last Train To Memphis” provides a fast moving opener to the album, complete with a large helping of slashing slide guitar. A couple of steady beating numbers follow, “Troublemaker” and “Rain In Jerusalem”, the latter with another dose of explosive slide. The next two numbers, “Get Ya In Da Mood” and “Hold Your Fire, Baby” are similarly paced but more bluesy and embellished with some tasty harpwork. The pace is then slowed down a further notch with the even bluesier title track before the upbeat and funky “Rat Chase” raises the ante, expertly driven by the rhythm section.

“Sweet Dream’s A Sweet Dream”, a funk-tinged ballad, boasts a tasty guitar solo and gives way to the catchy, Delta-infused “Today”. The album concludes with the hard rocking “Blame It On The Bright Lights” and the gently whistful and bluesy ballad “In Chains”, which features another fine helping of harp.

This is a very enjoyable, highly polished album, which produces a fine collection of well-crafted and tastefully delivered original compositions.



The second Church Stretton Blues ‘n’ Roots Festival will be held in the Shropshire town on Saturday, 30th May, 2015.

The festival, which will be supporting MacMillan Cancer Support, aims to showcase some of the best bands and singer-song writers on the blues and roots scene. The line-up features both national and international artists, as well as some fantastic homegrown Shropshire talent.

Headlining the festival will be blues singer Kaz Hawkins and her Band O’ Men. Described as a “A Vocal Force” on stage Kaz from Belfast looks set to become one the biggest singers ever to come out of Northern Ireland. On her recent American tour she attracted comparisons with Etta James, Mavis Staples and Janis Joplin.

Gary Hall, influential Americana musician and former front man with The Stormkeepers, will also be playing along with up and coming folk singer-songwriter Beth Prior and BBC Radio favourites Cooper and Davies.

More artists are currently being added to the bill.

As well as a full day of live music there will be musical workshops, circus workshops and activities for children. A fully stocked licensed bar, as well as food from around the world, will be available on site, at the Rectory Field, Church Stretton.


News: Larry McCray stricken by cancer

Posted on: Sunday, May 24, 2015


The very popular American blues guitarist Larry McCray – who has appeared locally in North Wales – is sadly stricken by prostrate cancer.

Here is a link to his GoFundme page to help raise money towards treatment.


Blues In The North West wish him well in his fight.

(Picture: Pete Evans)

YouTube: Blue Pills – High Class Woman

Posted on: Sunday, May 24, 2015

Blue Pills are coming to Liverpool on Wednesday, 29th July with support from Raven Eye.

This young American-Swedish-French quartet create a unique, intense and extraordinary rock atmosphere, whilst having a major mainstream appeal that takes you right back to a time of Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix and Fleetwood Mac.

Tickets available now from: http://bit.ly/BluesPillsLpool

News: Sean Taylor to release new album

Posted on: Saturday, May 23, 2015

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The excellent Sean Taylor releases his new album, “The Only Good Addiction Is Love” on 15th June.

Check out  this link for full details and video of “Bad Light”.


Like this . . . “Gotta Move Out To The Suburbs” is from The Cash Box Kings’ latest Blind Pig release, ‘Holding Court.’

For more info, visit: http://www.blindpigrecords.com/index….

Review: Scott Ellison – Elevator Man

Posted on: Thursday, May 21, 2015


Scott Ellison – Elevator Man

(Red Parlor)

Tulsa, Oklahoma born singer, guitarist and bandleader Scott played with Texas blues legend Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown very early in his career, and he has been recording since the 90s; he moved to Los Angeles in the mid-80s. I admit I am more than a little surprised Scott is not better known – this is a very accomplished set of modern blues, sometimes with a soul touch, but more frequently straight blues with hints of Stax era Albert King, or nodding towards a Chicago sound as on the opening, Howling Wolf tinged ‘Holler For Help’; Wolf can also be discerned in Scott’s vocals and the arrangement on the raucous ‘Put You Down’. ‘Arlene’ gives a first hint of the power that Scott can achieve, before ‘Behind That Smile’ slows the pace for a fine gospel-tinged blues-ballad and ‘Fishsticks And Jelly’ is an acoustic interlude.

The title track has a modern funky blues sound, ‘Jesus Loves Me (Baby Why Don’t You?)’ is a strong shuffle with some ringing guitar work, and ‘School Girl’ has a Latin-tinged Chicago sound, a little reminiscent of Otis Rush. ‘Hit It, Get It And Go’ is a real stormer, and the big-sounding ‘I Thought I’d Be Gone’ hits a wonderful groove, with some excellent slide guitar fills too. The set ends in wonderful fashion with the dirty sounding pounder ‘My Little Sheba’ (hints of a Hill Country groove) here and the churning “Freddy King plays the swamp-blues” approach of ‘She’s On My Trail’.

In short then, one to look out for…



YouTube: Mighty Mojos – White Lightning

Posted on: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Northern Ireland outfit, Mighty Mojos . . . White Lightning.


Review for the ‘STOURBRIDGE BLUES FESTIVAL’ – Saturday 16th May 2015 @ The Old Halesonians, Wassel Grove, Stourbridge, Worcestershire – http://www.stourbridgebluesfestival.co.uk/

This was the third ‘Stourbridge Blues Festival’ and a second visit for me. I would describe the festival as ‘small but beautifully formed’ , but with a marquee this year, it provided a great space to accommodate a healthy crowd. The sun did shine and even though there was a chilly wind, it didn’t take away the overwhelming support for, what was, a great full day festival. It was also a good opportunity for my husband and myself to meet up with some old friends from my Stourbridge Art College days.

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Kick starting the day, it was a great pleasure to listen to the accomplished young singer guitar player, ‘Sunjay Brayne’. Living locally, he came with acoustic guitar and stomp and gave us a mixed selection of blues and folk orientated covers, plus some original material from his new album ‘Sunjay’. He has an excellent voice and guitar style and also had great rapport with the audience. He finished off his set with a bit of Blind Willie McTell and a well performed ‘Dust My Broom’. http://www.sunjay.tv/

The next band, ‘Tunky Pig’, came in as a last minute replacement for the original festival line up and did a great job. They are a local and powerful 3 piece band from Oldbury , playing classic blues rock covers and some original material. With a repertoire, including numbers from Free, Hendrix and Led Zeppelin , they went down a storm with the audience. They finished their set with a brilliant take of ‘A Whole Lotta Love’. https://www.facebook.com/pages/TUNKY-PIG/1591762811042914?sk=timeline

Bringing in some great down-to-earth rhythm & blues, ’46th & Main’ did a good job of rockin’ it up with classic covers, plus some of their own material. Influenced by bands like Nine Below Zero and Dr Feelgood, their music was up tempo with some harmonica driven. They performed a great take of the classic ‘Riding On The L&N’ . https://www.facebook.com/pages/46th-Main/1743846599174729?sk=timeline

A great classic rock opener from the 3 piece blues rock band ‘Blacktop Deluxe’ from Cornwall. They played some mean tracks from their album ‘Turn Up, Be Nice, Play Hard’, released last year, rockin’ it up with some heavy slide guitar and classic guitar riffs and rollin’ with full on bass and drums from these proficient players. http://blacktopdeluxe.com/

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For me the ‘Rainbreakers’, from Shrewsbury, were the icing on the cake. As a young 4 piece blues rock band, they have all the professionalism and musical bent of the more established bands. Their influences are from a wide range of sources, from rock of the 60’s and 70’s to more contemporary bands of today. I could hear shades of Aynsley Lister and King King in their sound, but they have their own distinctive style, with class musicianship and vocal input. Their forthcoming EP ‘Blood Not Brass’ is a testament to what they are all about and all the tracks from the album were played brilliantly at the festival. Definitely a band to watch out for. http://www.therainbreakers.com/

Raising the tempo and a stalwart for playing good rhythm and blues music, the ‘Paul Stedman Band’, from Birmingham, have it cracked. As a 5 piece tonight, the band is fronted by the charismatic Paul Stedman on vocals, who had the ability to get everybody dancing! They are all seasoned musicians and played a great set of classic rhythm and blues. As a tribute to the late BB King they gave us a moving take of ‘The Thrill Has Gone’. http://stedman47.wix.com/paul-stedman-band-1

The ‘youth of blues’ is alive and kicking, as ‘The Mentulls’, from the North East, continue to wow audiences country wide. With a mix of sounds from 70’s prog rock to music from the guitar masters of today, they gave us a great performance with astounding guitar work from Andrew Pipe. The set highlighted tracks from their forthcoming album, ‘Reflections’ and also numbers from their previous CD, ‘Time Flies’. http://www.thementulls.com/


An amazing young lady, ‘Rebecca Downes’ from Birmingham, has been causing a minor storm within the blues fraternity of late. Her performance at Stourbridge Blues festival proved the point why. She has a powerful voice and was well supported by her band with a mix of blues , soul and jazz. She played many numbers from her current album ‘Back To The Start’, as well as some poignant covers including the great Etta James number ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’. Certainly a lady to watch out for. http://www.rebeccadownes.com/

Rockin’ it up as a 4 piece, the ‘Big Wolf Band’ have a ‘full on’ sound, playing a mix of blues rock covers and some of their own material. From Birmingham they have a wealth of experience between them. The band was fronted by Jonathan ‘Big Wolf’ Earp on great guitar and vocals. http://www.bigwolfband.com/

The final act of the evening, was the young ‘Tom Walker’. He is a force to be reckoned with as the front man of his band, on superb guitar and vocals. From Birmingham, the band went out as a 4 piece for the festival and played a mix of blues, funk and rock. Playing some great rockin’ blues and funked up numbers, the set included some class Hendrix numbers and a wonderful tribute to BB King. https://www.facebook.com/tomwalkertrio/timeline

It was yet another highly successful blues day, so many thanks go to Gary Child and the team of volunteers that made the festival possible. The aim of the festival was to promote live music and to give a platform to the many excellent performers from across the UK or locally. As a non profit making festival it also raised funds for the very worthy charity, ‘Acorns’. Roll on 2016!!!

ROSY GREER – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive