Review: Cry Baby & The Hoochie Coochie Boys – BBs Blues Club at Alexander’s, Chester – 09 Jun 2011

Posted on: Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011

CRY BABY & THE HOOCHIE COOCHIE BOYS
BBs Blues Club at Alexander’s, Rufus Court, Chester: 09.06.11

The latest BBs Blues Club gig at Alexander’s saw a first gig there for the high-energy rhythm and blues of The Potteries-based Cry Baby & The Hoochie Coochie Boys . .  . the six-piece outfit comprise of Graham Sells (lead vocals and guitar), Rob Wilkinson (harmonica and vocals), Vince Cutliffe (guitar), Freddie Pirotta (keyboards), Trevor Pinson (bass) and Andy Carr (drums) . . . and over two ‘foot to the pedal’ sets they delivered a mix of choice covers and some of their original songs.

British r&b giants Dr. Feelgood and Nine Below Zero loom large in the band’s repertoire, and they commenced with a Feelgood’s classic in “Back In The Night” and NBZ’s “Soft Touch” . . . both highlighting the band’s drive and musical prowess . . . from Graham Sell’s big gravelly vocals, Rob Wilkinson’s big-toned harmonica and some top guitar work, both on slide and lead, from Vince Cutliffe. J. B. Lenoir’s “Mama Talk To Your Daughter” was a first set highlight, and the band ‘doffed their caps’ to blues heroes on their own “Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues’, which features on their “Salt Glazed Blues” ep.

Other treats in the first set were a sprightly Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley-inspired medley which featured dips into the likes of “Mystery Train” and “Folsom Prison Blues”, and a powerful take on Roomful Of Blues “Turn It On, Turn It Up”. An excellent first set closed with another band original, “Burlesque Dancer”. The two front men of Sells and Wilkinson are prominent throughout, but the rest of the band pushed things along behind them, with Vince Cutliffe’s playing being off the highest calibre all night.

They returned to Nine Below Zero to tear through “Don’t Point Your Finger At The Guitar Man”, before Chester-based harmonica player, Ken Peace, was invited up to join the band for a three-song slot . . . the classic “I Sing The Blues”, then a Jimmy Reed medley, which also featured the band’s soundman Steve Robinson on guitar, and finally the extended eight-piece band ripped through a Elmore James tune in the shape of “Wild About You Baby” . .  .great stuff indeed, with Ken Peace’s big tone being ideally suited to Rob Wilkinson’s top of the range harp rig!

The band like to take a chance or two, and as unlikely a medley of “Hoochie Coochie Man” and Little Feat’s “Dixie Chicken” might sound, it definitely worked! Other second set standouts were the band’s “Don’t Lie To Me Baby” and the rockin’ “Zydeco Boogie”, where we were taken down to Louisiana, with Vince Cutliffe starring on mandolin and keyboard man Freddie Pirotta on accordion, to add that authentic touch . . . a most entertaining evening ended, as it had started, back on Canvey Island for more Dr. Feelgood in the shape of the great “Going Back Home”.

The band had definitely earned their encores after a pretty lengthy second set, and closed the evening with a double whammy of “Gimme One More Shot” and “Route 66” as the clock ticked around to the midnight hour. I don’t think I’ve seen a band in a long while who deliver such non-stop high energy and well done to them for that, and a nice bunch of guys to go with it . . . great night!

GRAHAME RHODES

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