News: Mike Zito to leave Royal Southern Brotherhood

Posted on: Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014

Mike Zito 1.jpg

News just in is that Mike Zito is to leave the popular Royal Southern Brotherhood, and is to be replaced by Bart Walker:

Here’s the official news:

A heartfelt farewell from the Royal Southern Brotherhood to Mike Zito and a warm welcome to our new band member Bart Walker…

It’s bittersweet when your brother leaves home. It’s a time of sorrow and loneliness as well as a time of freedom for him. The love is strong and it doesn’t die, because he is always yours and Mike Zito will always be our brother. The memories and shared time will last forever.

We announce to you first, with joy-filled regret, that Mike Zito is rolling onward with his band Mike Zito & The Wheel. Mike will release a new live record and DVD on Ruf Records, SONGS FROM THE ROAD, which is due on Sept 9th. You’ll get to see him live, in action, as we did playing side by side with him every night.

Mike will play his last US dates with Royal Southern Brotherhood through Bedford Texas at the end of August, then Europe and the Blues Cruise in October.

As the band’s royal journey continues, we welcome guitarist/singer and Ruf Records mate Bart Walker to the band. Bart has led his own Nashville based group, which featured Reese Wynans of the Stevie Ray Vaughan band, as well as guitarist for lead singer Mike Farris of the Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies.

It is an exciting time for both Mike and Bart musically as one departs and one enters the wild world of the Royal Southern Brotherhood. Cyril, Devon, Charlie, and Yonrico send Mike Zito and his band best wishes. Catch Zito LIVE in October and for more RSB dates please visit

The Midnight Ramble

Posted on: Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

This morning I have been enjoying the band The Midnight Ramble.

Formed in October 2010 by singer/songwriter Paul Dunbar the 6-piece soul/rock/blues outfit is an award-nominated (‘Album of the Year’, Liverpool Music Awards 2012) and critically-acclaimed outfit from Liverpool, UK.

The band has featured on BBC Introducing, had consistent radio plays nationally and internationally, had tracks such as ‘Lions’ and ‘Black Dirt’ (taken from Sink The Pieces, 2012)  featured in UK feature films and US documentaries and has performed with Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, James Taylor Quartet, Big Country, BLEECH and Phantom Limb to name a few.

Having performed to consistent sell-out audiences on their own headline shows, The Midnight Ramble has gained a reputation as a highly energetic, original and powerhouse of a live act.

“I was blown away by The Midnight Ramble…a band that for me was the find of the festival…Paul Dunbar (singer/songwriter) is not only an assured singer of songs but he can write a mean lyric, he has the soul of a poet” at Blues On The Farm Festival 2014

***** 5 stars
“A thrilling, aural, rollercoaster ride”
Radio Clwyd

“Unpolished, Unashamed and ready to blow you away”

“One of the musical highlights of 2013”
Radio Caroline

“…a dirty, soul infused, bluesy rock sound…their single ‘Lions’ embodies what they’re all about!”
Liverpool’s finest purveyors of big, stomping rock & soul”
Bido Lito Music Magazine

“…fusing sounds and grooves of classic soul and rock combine with powerful songs and big voice of Paul Dunbar”

Review: King Size Slim – Milk Drunk

Posted on: Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

King Size Slim CD Cover

King Size Slim – Milk Drunk

(Tree House 44: TH44CD0101)

King Size Slim, aka Toby Barelli, hails from the Deep South – the south coast of England, that is – and his musical style is very much influenced by the heritage of the Delta blues region – in the United States, that is. The eleven original compositions that make up the album present a modern slant on the traditional roots of the old bluesmen, galvanised with a gripping, rhythmic energy.

The title track starts things off with a contemporary take on the seminal field holler with more than a hint of Adam Ant. The highly percussive “Wake Up The Town” is in similar vein but significantly faster with rhythmic shades of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, powered by the East Brighton Rhythm Section, while “Hard Way To Fall” provokes echoes of Lennon’s “Come Together”. “Roast Beef Blues” is in the style of Mississippi John Hurt with some tasty finger-picking and is followed by a couple of country blues – “Angel Dear” and “Leaving Portsmouth Town”.

The Latin-rhythmed “I Hope It’s You”, with Aimee Grinter guesting on vocals, is followed by the waltz tempo of the folksy ballad “”Rising Spring”, which features Roger Hubbard on mandolin. “Dark Soul” ups the pace again in advance of the hypnotically rhythmic “Monkey, Where Are You?”, splendidly driven by Andy Newmark on drums. The album is concluded with “She Lies”, on which King Size delivers superb Joe Cockeresque vocals.

This is a little gem of an album – the eleven tracks lasting only slightly more than thirty minutes, with five of them running for less than three minutes each. King Size Slim is a talented songwriter and guitarist and is capable of delivering a range of vocal styles. He is unsurprisingly in demand on the acoustic blues circuit and would certainly offer a very different and entertaining contribution to any blues festival.


Review: Red Butler – Freedom Bound

Posted on: Monday, Aug 25, 2014

Red Butler album cover by Jim Holder Photography.jpg

Red Butler – Freedom Bound

(Self-release: AJCS21UBFE14)

Here’s a  most promising full-length debut from young Sussex band, Red Butler. “Freedom Bound” features almost entirely all original material penned by the band, and a most interesting cover . . . more of which later. The band comprise: Alex Butler (guitar and backing vocals), Jane Chloe Pearce (vocals), Charlie  Simpson (drums and percussion) and Stephen Eveleigh (bass and backing vocals), with assistance from Maik Pehrsson (piano) and Darren Vassie (trumpet).

The band deliver a mainly uptempo rocky edge to the blues, but with plenty of ‘light and shade’ for good measure, and in guitarist Alex Butler have a very fine player who really has it all; together with Jane Chloe Pearce’s tough vocals and the tight rhythm section.

The music kicks off with the strutting “Jaywalker” – recently awarded a play on the prestigious Paul Jones Radio 2 blues show, with Butler’s guitar answering Pearce’s vocals before the pace is taken up with a swaggering riff and all the band kicking in; the following “Pension Blues” again rides on a lovely groove from the guitar of Alex Butler – it’s a curious tale of the perils of pensions and money from a young age to much older. The rocking “Danger Zone” reminds me a little of Free, with Charlie Simpson’s thunderous drums kicking it off, and a fine vocal from Jane Chloe Pearce.

A  highlight is the 2:52 of “Young And Free” – a bluesy shuffle that fairly rattles along – with confident performances from all, and a nice contribution from guest piano player, Maik Pehrsson. Next up is the cover of Johnny Kidd & The Pirates “Shakin’ All Over” – it is given a radical slowed-down reworking and doesn’t really work for me – although well done to the band for taking a different approach to a much-covered standard. “Hoodoo” features Alex Butler’s acoustic slide, giving a stripped-down Delta blues feel.

Another standout is the atmospheric slow blues of “River Of Smoke”, that shows the more delicate side of Butler’s guitar work; and it is followed by the very rocky “Hard Drivin’ Man” that again rides on a terrific hook and riff, with the almost duelling voice and guitar; “Last Page Of The Blues” was co-written by the band and a friend who had suffered a recent loss and it co-incided with the death of Gary Moore . . . and indeed the song has shades of the late guitar masters more mellow songs and playing. It now differs quite a lot from the version on their debut EP.

This enjoyable release ends with the title cut, “Freedom Bound”, a slow bluesy number with another rich vocal from Pearce and more guitar fireworks from Butler . . . inspired by the singers interest in the history of slavery . . . check this band out, with festival appearances and high-profile gigs they seem set to be firmly ‘on the rise’!


The British Blues Awards were handed out at Colne yesterday; here is the full list of winners:

The King Biscuit Blues Festival

Posted on: Sunday, Aug 24, 2014

Can anyone understand Dutch?

Anyway – unfortunately there will be no away team at the Biscuit this year  :-(

Neither can I read the article – however there are some cracking photos that make me pine for the Delta.

Friday 5th September, 2014
Danny Bryant
Tickets: £12, £10 Concessions
Doors: 7.30pm

Fresh off the plane after five weeks in the USA and Canada fronting Walter Trout’s band, national blues treasure Danny Bryant is coming to The Citadel for what promises to be a special night as he launches his new studio album ‘Temperature Rising’.

Bryant was always destined to be a road hardened blues-rock warrior, since being mentored by Trout and touring Europe in the company of Mick Taylor, Santana and Buddy Guy. He signed a deal with Rounder records in 2007 and a licensing deal with Virgin/EMI Asia which allowed Danny to feature on the hit blues compilation “The Best Blues Album In The World Ever”.

Danny was in illustrious company on this collection with several giants of the blues-rock genre, including Johnny Winter, Gary Moore, Albert Collins, and ZZ Top. Whilst each album has been like a chapter in an ever-evolving story, it’s since signing with the German based and ever dynamic Jazzhaus label that he’s enjoyed the kind of backing and focus needed to match his unquenchable thirst for making ever more exciting records, embarking on world tours and progressing his career into the upper echelons of the modern day blues-rock scene.

If you’re passionate about great British blues music, then you’ll have a fantastic evening with Danny Bryant here at The Citadel. Book early to avoid disappointment!

For further information or to book tickets call the Citadel Box Office on 01744 735436 or visit the Citadel website:

Review: Kaye Bohler – Handle The Curves

Posted on: Saturday, Aug 23, 2014


 Kaye Bohler – Handle The Curves

(Independent release)

This is a wonderful old school blues and soul album from California vocalist Kaye – she’s a big and brassy and sassy singer, aided on this set by some of the Golden State’s finest, including Rob Dzibula (as it says on the sleeve) on sax and the excellent Pete Anderson on guitar and bass.

The sound alternates between slow, deep, soulful blues and a full Stax type soul feel, and Kaye handles both with ease and skill – she also wrote all ten numbers herself and they have a honest and autobiographical feel to them, whether she is dealing with women’s inner strength , life’s trials and tribulations, or simply the double-entendre of the title track.

Well worth investigating this release, lovely packaging too- and I’m not just talking about the front sleeve photo…


Hans Theessink 01

(Doors: 8 pm, show: 8.45 pm)

Dutch master, Hans Theessink, is one of the finest European exponents of the blues. He complements his rich baritone vocals with top class finger-picking guitar work and binds his performances together with a warmly-presented selection of intriguing stories.

No stranger to Liverpool, Hans has already delighted Johnny’s Blues Club audiences and packed The Rodewald Suite at Tthe Philharmonic Hall with his legion of admirers.

This will be another world-class acoustic blues concert at the Marina, which the connoisseurs of that genre of music are eagerly anticipating.

Liverpool Marina is situated at Coburg Wharf, Sefton Street, Liverpool L3 4BP.

Tickets for the concert (£12 each in advance) are obtainable from John Welsh on 0151-428 2855 or from Please also visit for a fund of information on the region’s excellent blues scene.

(Pic: Lionel Ross)

New download-only track from Simon McBride

Posted on: Friday, Aug 22, 2014

New download-only track from Simon McBride

Incendiary blues-rocker Simon McBride has signalled work on a new album with the impending release (1st September) of a download-only track entitled IT’S NOT OVER. The album will release in 2015.

The Belfast-born guitarist grabbed attention with his CROSSING THE LINE album, prompting the USA magazine Performer to say “The holy trinity of Belfast Rock ‘n Roll – Van Morrison, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – might be on the verge of becoming a four-leaf clover.”

It’s Not Over (written and produced by McBride) delivers more of McBride’s riff-laden grooves, this time with an AC-DC meets Black Keys vibe.

To preview the track click on the link below.

Thanks to Barry Barnes of Sinnerboy for this . . . a must for all Rory fans . . .

Review: Royal Southern Brotherhood – heartsoulblood

Posted on: Thursday, Aug 21, 2014


Royal Southern Brotherhood – heartsoulblood

(Ruf Records: RUF 1204)

The second studio album from the Royal Southern Brotherhood, among a large number of solo releases, is again a ‘melting pot’ of all things from the southern states of the USA – a heady mix of rock, blues, funk, soul and more, and again of the highest quality . . . no surprise given the names in the band: Cyril Neville (percussion and vocals), Devon Allman (guitar and vocals), Mike Zito (guitar and vocals), Charlie Wooton (bass and backing vocals) and Yonrico Scott (drums and backing vocals) . . . with “heartsoulblood” being recorded at Dockside Studio, Maurice, Louisiana and produced by the award-winning Jim Gaines.

The 12 tracks here feature co-writes and individual song credits from the band members, who in true ‘collective’ style share lead vocals and solos throughout the songs. The album gets off to a tremendous start with the funky “World Blues”, driven by the twin guitars, and the percussion of Cyril Neville and of course the ‘top drawer’ rhythm section; Neville’s rousing “Rock And Roll” keeps the pace up – as the title would suggest it is an uptempo rocker that fairly tears along, with more guitar fireworks from Messrs Zito and Allman. The pace is taken down on the lovely Latin-flavoured “Groove On” from Devon Allman, with Santana-esque guitar and smooth engaging vocal . . . and as close to a title track.

Cyril Neville and Mike Zito’s “Callous” rides on a funky groove with stellar performances from all again; and it is followed by Zito’s own “Ritual”, a tale of voodoo, magic and more and, like all the songs on “heartsoulblood” is virtually flawless . . . from the singing, playing to Jim Gaines production prowess. The sweet soul of Devon Allman’s “Shoulda Known” is a gem – he is primarly known for his guitar work but is also a quite superb singer.

Elsewhere the whole band contribute to the strutting “Trapped”, and the smooth and soulful “She’s My Lady” features Cyril Neville on top form; this most enjoyable release ending with the tough and hook-laden “Love And Peace”. It’s easy to see how these guys have swept all before them over the last couple of years . . . great players, writers, top songs and a real history for the music from years of experience both in the studio and on the road . . . they seem destined to be around for a very, very long time!


Doors 7.30 for 8.30 show

From Pete Evans:

At long last I can confirm that we have been able to book 82 year old Leo for one of only two UK gigs. This wonderful old gentleman has been playing the blues and gospel since he was 15 years old and is a throw back to the days of the Mississippi delta when old blues men played on dusty old street corners for nickels and dimes.

It was a time of repression, cotton plantations, Jim Crow and many of the unsavoury aspects of being an African/American. However, it was at the Juke Joints, all over the Delta in those days, that the workers would enjoy themselves on a Saturday night with corn liquor, moonshine and fried fish listening and dancing to musicians like Leo.

He was recently discovered having played gospel in his church for 50+ years and recorded by the people at Fat Possum Records and has since become in very big demand in the USA appearing on main time tv and many of the prestigious festivals and so we are unbelievably lucky to have him appear for us.

This may be the last opportunity any of us may have to experience this truest of raw authentic blues played by this lovely man accompanied by his drummer Christina “Dixie ” Street ; for a couple of hours, you will be in a time warp.

There will be much demand for tickets at £15 so get back to me asap.

I just enjoyed this lovely interview with North East artist Pat McMahon.


Ray Fuller And The Bluesrockers – Live at Buddy Guy’s Legends Chicago

( Azuretone Records)

Ray is an old hand that has come up the hard way and mostly in the shadows; he grew up in New Albany, Ohio. He began strumming a guitar at the age of eight; his first exposure to the blues was from the British bands and musicians that arrived in America in the sixties, he played particular attention to the first album in his collection, a John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers release that featured a young Eric Clapton, from then on he was addicted to the music.

As time passed and he delved deeper into the music, he encountered the music of such now legendary artists as; John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, B.B. King and Elmore James.

After completing his studies at The Columbus College of Art he formed his first band in 1974 and over the next twenty years the music evolved, matured and distilled like fine wine by being played all across the state of Ohio, in due course he opened many a concert for artists such as; Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan as well as his aforementioned idols.

Apart from a brief respite for his divorce in 1995 he and the band continued to tour extensively across America. Whilst with the Rounder record label, he struck gold with two albums; one in 1989 and the other in 1992 with “Damn Guitars” and “Ray Fuller and the Bluesrockers Live”.

He continued performing in the same vein until 2010 when he began to focus more on his slide working skills which have over the last four years thrust him into the limelight and culminated in him and the band headlining at Buddy Guy’s Legends on the 27th April, 2013.

Joining Ray; vocals and guitars are; Keith Blair; keyboards and piano, Glen ‘Manny’ Manuel; bass, Mark Ward; drums and Richard ’Doc’ Malone; harmonica, together they gloriously rip and tear through twelve originals and standards.

The approach of Ray and the band is simple take the music by the scruff of the neck, shake and stir until ready to serve to a hungry and panting audience, then deliver a raucous addictive mixture of blues, r&b and rock’n’roll.

The first number, the Elmore James “Wild About You Baby”, roars out of the speakers with a searing and barking slide that is relentlessly chased by a duo of gnashing, biting harmonica and Hammond organ. Rays’ blasting, supercharged twangin’ guitar work on “Rock n Roll Cowboy”, drives the audience into a frenzy and without giving anybody a chance to breathe, his ferocious slide work combined with a scowling, prowling harmonica and Hammond, hammers John Lee Hooker’s “Boom, Boom”, into the hungry but, reeling audience.

A chance to rest and recuperate is given with the slow burning “Love and Alcohol”, a somewhat tinkling, dreamy piano and sozzled twangin’ guitar tell the familiar tale of woe, a mean spirited harmonica only adds to the sadness. The tramping, slowburning “Feelin’ Evil”, pairs a haunting, wailing harmonica with a searing finger burning slide while in the background a rolling, tumbling barroom piano only adds to the ache. This is a very fine goodtime toe tapper.



This is an interesting read. Some of the information is dated now as further developments and business launches continue the transformation of Clarksdale and Hopson.

Thanks to Scott Duncan for posting on Facebook.

Sadly, I won’t be going to the Delta this year – man, I’m gonna miss it.