Review: The Cadillac Kings – The Academy, Buckley – 20 Nov 2009

Posted on: Monday, Nov 23, 2009


The Academy, Buckley: 20.11.09

The current, undisputed, ‘kings of blues and swing’, stopped off for the first time at the marvellous Buckley venue, The Academy – tailor-made for their intoxicating blend of goodtime blues, swing, and more – with the crowd on the dancefloor from the first song to last! The old-fashioned dance hall is a great place to catch live music, and here, The Cadillac Kings rose to the occasion.

A Cadillac Kings gig is just guaranteed to send you home with a smile on your face, and here they were on top form – indeed the current line-up is without doubt their best ever, and is Mike Thomas (lead vocals and guitar), Gary Potts (harmonica and vocals), Mal Barclay (guitar and vocals), Henri Herbert (piano), Paul Cuff (double bass) and ‘Uncle’ Roy Webber (drums and vocals) – they are formidable at the moment, and simply a great band and night-out!

Two sets contained a mix of their own songs – mainly penned by frontman Mike Thomas, one of the blues great lyric writers – and some vintage covers. They were down to business on “Mama, Talk To Your Daughter”, followed by a rousing “Sugar Rush”, and a Gary Potts vocal on his own “Hot Rod V8 Ford” – a rocking tune which had the dancefloor full.

With this band the spotlight is shared around, and also in the first set we were treated to a tremendous version of Brook Benton’s “Kiddio”, and guitarist Mal Barclay stepping forward for the instrumental, “Blue Cap Bounce” . . . . a tribute to Gene Vincent guitarist, Cliff Gallup – his hollow-bodied Gibson sounding just sweet.

The second set opened with the swinging “Lollipop Mama” and a romp through the great Nick Curran’s “Boogie With My Baby”, with harmonica player Gary Potts taking another vocal. Keyboard maestro Henri Herbert was let rip on his “Henri’s Boogie” instrumental, with Mal Barclay and Roy Webber taking vocals on, respecitively, “T-Bone Boogie” and “Tell Me Why” – the latter being a rocking Texas shuffle.

The band dipped back to their second album, “Highway 17”, for the hilarious “Who’s Bin Lickin’ My Chicken’”, as ever dedicated to Bernard Matthews, with the show ending on a high note with Jimmy Liggins “I Can’t Stop It” and the encore of Champion Jack Dupree’s “Shake Baby Shake” . . . . as Mike Thomas pointed out, the only American bluesman ever to live in Halifax . . . great stuff!

It was a pleasure to catch the band again – they are simply on top of their form, both musically and material wise, and are simply just great guys! Catch them soon at both Warrington and Worthenbury . . . . and well done to Ellie and Neil at The Academy for bringing them to Buckley!


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