Review: Ernie’s Rhythm Section at Warrington RnB Club: 15 February 2008

Posted on: Sunday, Feb 17, 2008

Hard on the heels of The Blues Blasters, another Stockport-based outfit, Ernie’s Rhythm Section, graced the stage of the Warrington RnB Club. The band was without its drummer, who was away on holiday, but the remaining quartet coped admirably and produced two entertaining and very different sets.

The first set was played in acoustic mode, with lead vocalist, William Pritchard on acoustic guitar, Gaz Batowski on steel guitar, Sam Buckley on double bass and RS Warren on ‘naked’ harp. William Pritchard sang the first two numbers, Tampa Red’s “You can’t Get That Stuff No More” and Jimmy Reed’s “Bright Lights, Big City”. “Good Mornin’, Little Schoolgirl” nestled between “The Sky Is Cryin’” with RS Warren on high-registered warble and another hokum-styled number featuring Sam Buckley’s gruff vocals. The set also included a couple of original songs and ended with a fine version of “Mystery Train”, complete with superb full-ensemble harmonies, and Bo Diddley’s “You Can’t Judge A Book By its Cover”.

In total contrast, the second set comprised electric blues, with Pritchard on electric guitar, Batowski on Roland keys and Warren on amplified harp. The set began in upbeat style with “I Just Keep Lovin’ Her” and “I Gotta Find My Kind Of Woman”. As in the first set, lead vocals were spread around the band. Among a variety of numbers, there was one by Honeyboy Edwards, whom the band had supported in Manchester in 2007. There were also several boogies, including an excellent rendition of “Boogie Chillun’: and a fast-moving instrumental, on which all four members of the band performed brilliantly. The programme was concluded with a rousing delivery of “Got My Mojo Working”, which prompted RS to discard his erstwhile cloak of modesty and gyrate unselfconsciously on the dance floor.

Ernie’s Rhythm Section is a talented group of young musicians whose enthusiasm, technical ability and variety of material substantially compensate for an as yet underdeveloped stage presence. They have considerable potential and represent a particularly attractive option for blues festivals – an area into which they have already made inroads. I look forward to witnessing their progress in what promises to be a very successful future.

Lionel Ross

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