Review: Junkhouse Dog Blues Band – BB’s Blues at Alexander’s, Chester – 20 Jan 2011

Posted on: Monday, Jan 24, 2011

‘BBs Blues Club’ at Alexander’s, Rufus Court, Chester: 20.01.11

The first gig of the new ‘BBs Blues Club’ kicked off with a high-energy start from the Manchester-based Junkhouse Dog Blues Band, fronted by the larger-than-life harmonica player Luke Shaw – with him and the band delivering two rocking sets of mainly classic blues covers, in front of a great crowd on a misty and cold January night at Alexander’s.

The gigs will be every other Thursday and are promoted by Mike Bowden, of Dr. Truth and Bowden & Williamson fame, who also runs a book shop a stone’s throw away from the venue, on Chester’s historic walls – and he was delighted with how the first gig panned out!

Luke Shaw and the band were down to business with a rousing Robert Johnson tune in “Walking Blues” and a lesser-known Muddy Waters gem, “Sail On” . . . . his lusty vocals and harmonica commanding the room. Others highlights of the first set included a stomping “Smokestack Lightning”, and the swing tune, “Kansas City”, both delivered at full throttle by Shaw and the band. The pace was taken down on their own “Hell Of A World” . . . a jazzy number with some less frenetic harmonica from Luke Shaw and some tasteful guitar work . . . . very nice indeed!

Elmore James’s “Shake Your Moneymaker” saw some slashing slide work from guitarist, Dick, and the band dipped into the Sun Records back catalogue for Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right”, which I believe a young guy named Elvis Presley had some success with. The first set closer saw a nice take on Sonny Boy Williamson’s immortal “Help Me”.

After a short break the band returned and continued with the relentless pace, kicking off with a double whammy of Nick Gravenites “Born In Chicago” . . . a standard of the late, great Paul Butterfield, whom I would suggest has been a major influence on Luke Shaw; and The Red Devils oft-covered “Automatic”. Shaw and the band returned to Sun material for a country-flavoured “Mystery Train” and a rumba through “Mellow Down Easy”.

The band invited Mike Bowden up to deliver his big gravelly voice to a storming “Hoochie Coochie Man” and tore through another ‘copper-bottomed’ classic in “I’ve Got My Mojo Working”. I took my leave here due to an early start for work, but pleased to see that the return of regular blues to Chester had a great start, and long may it continue . . . well done to all involved! Apologies too for not catching the rest of the band names.


Next up at ‘BBs Blues Club’ at Alexander’s, Rufus Court, Chester, is Kent DuChaine on Thursday, 3rd February. Tickets £7 advance / £8 on the door.

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