Review: CD Short Takes

Posted on: Thursday, Jun 17, 2010

CD short-takes


“Little City”


This is essentially a solo album from multi-instrumentalist Ray Palfreyman, but aided by fellow members of the Wirral / Liverpool-based blues rockers, Last Train Band – the title and music inspired by a band trip to ‘Music City’ itself – Austin, Texas.

Palfreyman has written all 11 songs on offer here, and as well as vocals, handles guitar, bass, saxophone and keyboards! The songs cover many different feels, from the opening funky sax and slide guitar on “Where Do I Go”, with feedback guitar solo from Ainsley Dunn; the country-flavoured “Dusty Rail” with a distinct feeling of The Eagles; the stripped-down acoustic “All I Am” and personal favourite, “Cold”, with that laidback JJ Cale vibe, complete with searing sax solo.

The rocking “Shame” is more back in the feel of the regular band material, with its nagging guitar riff; and the bossa nova groove of “Waiting Room is very appealing. Elsewhere the title cut, “Little City” rocks out with some searing guitar work, and tasty slide on the wry tale of “Window Shopping”.

This fine collection ends with the plaintive ballad of “When I Fall”, with just acoustic guitar and Ray Palfreyman’s heartfelt vocal . . . . a nice solo offering, with a little help from his friends!


“Blues Kerosene”

(Stable Records)

Even though I loathe the term ‘blues-rock’, you would have to say the hard-rocking trio, Egypt, are firmly in that camp, with the ten tracks on “Blues Kerosene” featuring a mix of band originals together with a few blues chestnuts.

The trio, who have vast experience, and initially formed in 1987, consist of Eric Chipulina (guitar and vocals), Alan Fish (bass and vocals) and Pete Correa (drums), indeed, all three have at one time been a member of the legendary British band, The Groundhogs.

The band are down to business on a fiercesome version of John Lee Hooker’s “Ride Till You Die”, before slowing it down for the band composition “Back To The Pack”, and then taking it up on the rocking “Bluesbelly” – all featuring Chipulina’s thick guitar tone and the driving rhythm section.

They doff their caps to classic blues on the very old Noah Lewis song, “Viola Lee Blues” with Eric Chipulina’s sparkling slide guitar prominent, and a dip into Tony McPhee’s material with the evergreen “Garden”. Robert Johnson’s timeless “Walking Blues” is given a somewhat reverential workout here, again highlighting Chipulina’s slide work. The album closer, “Rocking The Room” is a rousing chunky rocker that sort of captures and highlights the band’s sound.

The band appear to be based in East Anglia, with plenty of dates on the book . . . for those who like it rocky, check them out!


(Fat Hippy Records – FH49 gjCD)

From Aberdeen hail the hard, bluesy rocking Gerry Jablonski And The Electric Band, with a debut album, that is self-titled, on Fat Hippy Records. Jablonski himself has been on the scene for 30 years, and his gritty vocals and guitar work are joined by Peter Narojczyk (harmonica), Grigor Leslie (bass and vocals) and David Innes (drums and vocals).

The nine original tunes here kick off with the hard rocking “Breaking The Stones”, as the band thunder in after a scratch, retro intro, and features Jablonski’s powerful guitar playing and the appealing harmonica of Peter Narojczyk, who is prominent throughout. The following “Black Rain” is a mid-tempo bluesy tune that rides on a nice groove; with a soaring shuffle on “Two Time Lover” and the bouncy “Love”, which drives along in fine style.

Elsewhere, the slow blues of “Cold Outside” features some nice organ from co-producer Paul Emerson and Narojczyk’s thick-toned harmonica. Bass player Grigor Leslie kicks “Blues Power” into life on this strutting blues-rocker; while “Crime Of The Century” is in funk territory, and “Undercover” is a driving harmonica-led blues, with catch scat vocals on the chorus.

The closing “Every Dog Has It’s Day” is a mid-paced number with some delicate guitar work from Jablonski . . . who I would imagine are a blast to see live, with an appearance upcoming at the prestigious Colne Blues Festival in August.


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