Review: Giles Robson and the Dirty Aces – Crooked Heart Of Mine

Posted on: Tuesday, Aug 30, 2011

GILES ROBSON & THE DIRTY ACES
“Crooked Heart Of Mine”
(Movinmusic Records – MMR003)

Giles Robson first came to my attention via some video clips of him and The Dirty Aces in their native Jersey backing Mud Morganfield . . . providing an authentic Chicago-sounding accompaniment to the youngest son of the late blues legend, Muddy Waters. Now, minus the band’s original rhythm section harmonica player and singer Robson, together with guitarist Filip Kozlowski have released “Crooked Heart Of Mine” in the company of the vastly experienced Ian Jennings (bass) and Mike Hellier (drums) – who is also the driving force behind Movinmusic.

The 13 songs on offer are mainly Robson/Kozlowski compositions which cover  a wide spread of blues flavours with a few variations along the way. The opening “The Mighty Incincerator”, which picked up a Radio 2 daytime play from Chris Evans after Paul Jones aired it on his blues show, kicks things off with a definite Canvey Island feel, with Robson’s tough harmonica and Kozlowski’s choppy guitar work; the uptempo “Twenty Gallons Of Muddy Water” rides on a nice harmonica hook’ the country edged “Keep On Diggin'” is driven along by the superb slap bass of Ian Jennings, who is without doubt one of our finest exponents of the ‘doghouse’ bass.

The stripped down “Some Kinda King” has more sweet harmonica; the following “Devil Led Evil” has its roots in gypsy jazz and swings nicely; Giles Robson’s solo composition, “Stick To The Promise” opens with another impressive harmonica salvo and is pushed along with a tough, grinding guitar riff from Filip Kozlowski. The title track, “Crooked Heart Of Mine” is a country blues, a tale of wandering the world, a gentle meander with the brush work of Mike Hellier and Ian Jennings bass work behind some tasteful acoustic harmonica from Robson.

The funky “Swindler For You” takes the tempo up again before the instrumental “Solidor”, a showcase for Robson’s harmonica work. The stomping “Cooling Board” is a highlight, with the traditional blues groove given a more contemporary edge to it, with maybe Tom Waits a vocal influence, and Kozlowski’s guitar impressive again. “Magic Tricks” recalls the legendary bluesman Slim Harpo, a nice boogie with Messrs. Kozlowski and Jennings taking the honours on guitar and bass. Filip Kozlowski’s solo composition is a lovely gentle acoustic instrumental with his fingerpicked guitar behind some inspired Robson harmonica.

The album closer, the tough and pounding “Ain’t Dead Yet” is pretty far removed from most of the rest of the songs here, with fierce guitar solo and driving rhythm section and dark vocal from Giles Robson.

GRAHAME RHODES

www.gilesrobson-thedirtyaces.com

www.movinmusic.co.uk

 

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