Review: Paul Lamb – Warrington – 03 Oct 2008

Posted on: Monday, Oct 6, 2008

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PAUL LAMB & THE KING SNAKES
Warrington Blues Club at Warrington Town FC: 03/10/08

North West visits by Paul Lamb & The Kingsnakes have become rarer over the years, so a return to Warrington was not be missed. The son of the North East has long been heralded as the UK ‘guv’nor’ of the blues harmonica, and the band now contain the considerable talent of his son Ryan on guitar, his presence toughening up the band’s sound.

The King Snakes are completed by the long-standing trio of Chad Strentz (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Rod Demick (bass and vocals) and Sonny Below (drums) – making one of the tightest units on the European blues scene, as they have been for a very long time. Two varied sets ranged from some great swinging tunes, some slow blues, and of course many nods to Paul Lamb’s ‘main man’, the great Sonny Terry.

The band kicked off the evening with a couple of showcases for young Ryan Lamb with a killer shuffle instrumental and a slow blues, before Lamb senior hit the stage for the Bo Diddley  flavoured “Crazy For Me”, and the jaunty “Money World”. Ryan plays with great tone, but with a lovely touch, never overplaying – and the perfect foil for his father.

The epic “Adopted Child” contained some quite stunning harmonica work from Paul Lamb, and impassioned vocal from Chad Strentz, with a great cover of Big Joe Williams oft-covered “Baby Please Don’t Go” driven along in a more swinging style – great work from Sonny Below, as good a drummer as there is in the UK blues scene.

The second set opened with “The Blues Had A Baby (And They Named That Baby Rock & Roll)”, complete with some ad-libbed lyrics, before Rod Demick took the vocals on his own “More Than Alright” – with audience participation on the chorus. The pace was taken down on a stunning version of Ray Charles “The Blackjack Game” – another fine vocal from Strentz and great guitar from Ryan Lamb.

We were taken down to Louisiana for Guitar Slim’s “The Things I Used To Do”, before a personal favourite from way back in the band’s catalogue, the lovely “Sweet Sweet Woman”. The a capella (apart from harmonica!) version of Sonny Terry’s “You Got To Mind” saw more audience involvement, and some crazy dancing from Rod Demick!

Some much-demanded encores saw just Paul Lamb and Chad Strentz return initially for a stripped-down “Key To The Highway”, before some fun on a rockabilly style romp through a medley of “I Got A Woman” and “Folsom Prison Blues”, with the whole band bringing it home, to round off a quite superb evening.

GRAHAME RHODES

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