Kent DuChaine at the Allerton Manor Club, Liverpool – Thursday, 25th January 2007

Posted on: Sunday, Jan 28, 2007


This was the first blues gig at the Allerton Manor Club, which is set in the grounds of the Allerton Golf Centre in Liverpool. The gig was arranged in conjunction with Brian Roberts by John and Lorraine Welsh, who organise the marvellous blues nights at The Harbourside Club. Many of those present are regulars at the Harbourside, but it was also good to see new faces among the tightly packed throng.

The booking of Kent DuChaine was an inspired choice. He is the epitome of the latter day blues troubadour from the United States, spending a major part of each year touring a wide variety of venues to keep the blues tradition alive. With his tales of meeting and playing alongside some of the all-time greats of the American blues heritage, his proud ownership of Leadbessie, his 73 year old steel guitar, and his superb guitar playing skills, he is a beguiling performer.

The first set contained tributes to two of Kent’s major influences, Muddy Waters and Bukka White, including a terrific version of the latter’s “Aberdeen Mississippi Blues”, complete with White’s mesmerising ‘pattin’ the baby’ rhythm. The set also featured a travelogue to and around the DuChaine homestead on the Georgia/Alabama border, where the moonshine is kept in the freezer ‘to stop it exploding’. Other highlights were “16 Gauge Steel”, in fond memory of Johnny Shines, a lovely slow version of Little Willie John’s “Fever” and “Rock Island Line”, a firm favourite of Kent’s young son, Miles.

The tributes delivered in the second set recalled ex-wives, paradoxically including “I’ve Been True To You”, an excellent love song. It also featured two classics that never fail to raise goosebumps when performed by DuChaine: “St James Infirmary Blues” and Bertha ‘Chippie’ Hill’s wonderful “Trouble In Mind”. A tremendous evening was brought to a close with some enthusiastic audience participation on “Yeah, Yeah”, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and the encore, “When The Saints Go Marching In”. Such was the success of the occasion that it seems almost superfluous to make two predictions: this will not be the last blues night at the Allerton Manor Club and Kent DuChaine will once again attract a full house when he is next in town.

Lionel Ross

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