Grahame’s Review of the 2009
Posted on: Friday, Dec 25, 2009
REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2009
A pretty good year for me, here’s a dozen releases I have really enjoyed and played more than most, in no particular order:
Jon Amor – Songs From The Crooked Room
The Soul Of John Black – Black John
JP Soars – Back Of My Mind
Missy Andersen – Missy Andersen
Fiona Boyes – Blues Woman
Paul Lamb & Johnny Dickinson – Playin’ With The Blues
Aaron Williams And The Hoodoo – It Ain’t Easy
Hill Country Revue – Make A Move
Davis Coen – Magnolia Land
Billy Walton Band – Neon City
Mike Zito – Pearl River
The Aces – No One Rides For Free
Here’s a few ‘bubbling under’, and well worth a mention:
The Insomniacs – At Least I’m Not With You
Woodbrain – Swimming In Turpentine
Jeff Healey – Songs From The Road
Joanne Shaw Taylor – White Sugar
Bullfrog Brown – Moon And Central
Jason Ricci And New Blood – Done With The Devil
The Soul Of John Black – The Good Girl Blues
Jay Tamkin Band – Sorted
I am really enjoying Tom Doughty’s “Have A Taste Of This”, but haven’t included it as it isn’t reviewed yet . . . also to come soon are several more cd reviews, including Joe Louis Walker, Maria Muldaur, Craig Hughes, Arthur Adams, Chaz Depaolo and Jeff Chapman . . . watch this space!
A couple of gigs jump straight out this year – a stupendous show at Overton-on-Dee organised by the ‘Going Up The Country’ boys (Pete, Paul and Ian) saw Mud Morganfield deliver two hours of classic Chicago blues, mainly his father’s tunes – with a simply great British band led by Big Joe Louis on guitar and the thrilling harmonica of Steve Weston; recently Ken and I caught Andy Fairweather Low at Pacific Road, in Birkenhead for a trip through his long and varied career, with lots of blues, some pop, gospel and more – again with a stunning band and the man himself showed what a fine guitarist and singer he is.
Festival-wise, the first Warrington Blues Festival at The Pyramid back in May, was a great day. Organised by Dave and Shirley Sawyer, we were treated to two of the North West’s finest bands in The Smokehouse Blues and The Stumble, and the UKs ultimate ‘feel good’ outfit, the stupendous Cadillac Kings, who are now simply outstanding. With the ideal combination of no driving and a real ale bar this made for a most memorable (well, bits of it) day. The annual Worthenbury Roots & Blues Festival in the North Wales countryside was again most enjoyable – the star of the day being Australian roots man Rory Ellis – with sterling performances on the main stage from the reformed Down At Antone’s, Oliver Darling’s fine outfit, The Dirty Robbers, and also reformed, The Producers, who were excellent, with The Stumble rounding off a top day. Also due a mention was the lovely Naomi Mather, who did two nice sets on the acoustic stage. As ever a doff of the cap to Pete, Paul and Ian, and their team of helpers.
It was also nice to see Manchester’s finest, The Harpbreakers, out and about again – managed to see them twice, including a double header at Warrington with Down At Antone’s. A change of venue for Ray and Barbara O’Hare saw them move to Burtonwood Catholic Club, and in April Geordie harmonica man Lyndon Anderson and his fine band played a great show. Also worth a mention were further great nights with The Cadillac Kings at Telford’s Warehouse in Chester, the fab venue, The Academy in Buckley and also at Worthenbury Village Hall. The International Guitar Festival of Great Britain was held again at various venues around Wirral, and Catfish Keith played a great show at Pacific Road.
We are blessed with some fine venues and clubs now in the North West, and I wish all promoters, bookers, friends, etc., a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year . . . special greetings to Ray & Barbara O’Hare; Lionel and Jean Ross; Pete, Paul and Ian; Raphael Callaghan and Christine Purnell; John and Lorraine; Jeremy Horrill at Telford’s Warehouse, and all at Wirral BC and The Liverpool Philharmonic . . . and also to Ken of course, if it wasn’t for him I would probably be going to gigs on my own, and for putting up with my scribblings!
In summing up, I would also like to thank any band or artiste that send a cd to www.bluesinthenorthwest.com for review . . . all greatly appreciated! Special thanks to Betsie Brown at Blind Raccoon in Memphis, Mike Powers at Yellow Dog Records in Memphis, Golly Gallagher at GFI Promotions, all the guys at Sneak Attack in NYC, Chip Schutzmman at Miles High Productions . . . wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year . . . and looking forward to a great 2010.