Review : Hitman Blues Band – Warrington – 08 Sep

Posted on: Tuesday, Sep 12, 2006

The Hitman Blues Band at the Warrington RnB Club, Friday, 8th September 2006

The line-up for the Hitman’s latest UK tour comprised the man himself on guitar and vocals, Ian Salisbury on keyboards, Derek White on bass guitar and Chris Sharley on drums. It was a repeat visit to Warrington by Russell ‘Hitman’ Alexander, and the substantial audience was testament to the considerable impact of his first appearance.

The show was opened with the airing of a brand new composition, the upbeat “Your Blues”, which set the tone for the rest of the evening. An array of fine, original material was delivered with the New Yorker’s customary panache, with a generous helping of observational humour. The pick of the first set were the splendid slow blues, “Raining Up In Harlem”, a great version of “Boom Boom” and the jazz-tinged “Drinking My Blues Away”.

The even better second set contained many more self-penned gems. The fast shuffling “Slither” and the rumba-rhythmed “Fine Piece Of Merchandise” epitomised the Hitman’s whimsical streak. “The blues ain’t dead,” he reassured us at one point. “It just smells funny.” However, there was nothing funny about the poignant slow shuffle, “Whiskey Bottom Road”, which inspired some lovely guitar work, while the upbeat rocker, “Calamity’s Child”, was blessed with a terrific keyboard solo from Ian Salisbury. The highlight of the evening was left to the end – a fabulous version of Son House’s “Death Letter”, which showcased the Hitman’s excellent, rasping vocals.

It was another highly entertaining performance from Russell Alexander, who overlays his musical talent with a laid-back, engaging personality that invariably creates a comfortable rapport with the audience. It is good time blues at its best.

Lionel Ross

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