Review: Smokehouse + Tom Doughty at Lymm Golf Club – 19 March 2010

Posted on: Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010


This gig had Cheshire written all through it, combining the talents of Runcorn-based Smokehouse and Northwich’s own Tom Doughty in the palatial surroundings of Lymm Golf Club. The event was organised by Dave Sawyer as a fundraising Winter warmer for the Lymm Festival to be held in June/July.

Tom Doughty opened the proceedings with a delightful set of acoustic blues, accompanying his warm vocals with brilliant lap-steel guitar playing. Tom presented a lovely mix of his own compositions and a selection of covers, which included songs by Bobby Womack and Sleepy John Estes. His self-penned numbers included “Running Free”, a heartfelt tribute to his much lamented pet dog, and the magnificent “Zimbabwe”, which pulls no punches in condemning that country’s current regime. For an encore, he delivered his version of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” with embellishment from Johny Hewitt on harmonica.

Smokehouse then performed two exhilarating sets of Chicago and West Coast blues with Jonny Hewitt on vocals and harp and Barney Barnett on guitar superbly backed by Russ Williams on double bass and Mark Donaldson on drums. Both sets were impressively tight and blended a range of rhythms and tempi. Their first session included a rumba-rhythmed version of “Early In The Morning”, a fabulous rendition of “Nine Below Zero”, featuring some wonderful naked harp, Louis Jordan’s “Caledonia”, with Russ Williams on vocals, and a rousing Kim Wilson number.

The second set began in duo mode, with Johny’s harp augmenting Russ Williams’s vocals and double bass artistry on a fine version of “I Can’t Be Satisfied”. There was more magical harp on Rice Miller’s “Eyesight To The Blind” and some splendid guitar work from Barney Barnett on the fast-moving “Buzz Me, Baby”. The commendable variety of the programme continued with “Can’t Stop Loving Her”, Walter Horton’s slow blues “Hard Hearted Woman” and the swinging “Mellow Down Easy” before a rip-roaring encore brought matters to a vibrant climax. In short, it was a cracking night.

Tom Doughty

Lionel Ross

Note from Ken – neither of the pictures are from the actual gig.



March 24th, 2010 at 08:15
Permalink this comment


Superb stuff as ever Mr. Ross . . . and you can’t beat a good bit of ’embellishment’! Fine review as always!



March 24th, 2010 at 10:08
Permalink this comment


Thanks for the kind words, Grahame. Embellishment is all. It really was an excellent gig. You would have enjoyed it.



March 24th, 2010 at 19:02
Permalink this comment


Tom is really excellent, I love his last album. Was lucky to see Messrs. Hewitt and Barnett at the Malpas jam, and they were both on top form. Hope to see you guys soon, regards, Grahame