Review: The Idle Hands – Ready For Business

Posted on: Friday, Jan 13, 2012

“Ready For Business”

Here’s a release that was almost swallowed up in last year’s backlog, but it certainly is worthy of a few words here, having been out for a good few months . . . . “Ready For Business”, a generous 16-track offering from the Chesterfield-based blues rockers, The Idle Hands . . . who present a classy, all self-penned collection of both driving and funky rockers, slide-drenched  tunes and some acoustic flavours.

The four-piece comprise: Phil Allen (vocals and harmonica), Dave Robinson (guitar), Jamie Burns (bass and backing vocals) and Paul Heydon (drums), with “Ready For Business” being recorded in their home town at The Foundry, with the band being assisted by Paul Hopkinson on the albums mixing.

The band have been around the live and recording scene for a good while now and are a pretty tight outfit, as evident on the uptempo “Drive” which kicks things off, with smooth vocal from Phil Allen and the fluid guitar of Dave Robinson, and pushed along by the rhythm section of Burns and Heydon; a tough slide riff drives the following “Weep And Moan” along; with the pace taken up for the driving “I Get The Blame”, with plenty more fine Dave Robinson guitar evident.

The acoustic, folky “Come Shake The Blues” sees a change in direction; with the rousing “Keep Up With The Jones'” following, a breakneck rocker, but again featuring acoustic guitar and electric too. The big ballad, “When Shadows Fall” is a delight, dominated by Robinson’s acoustic playing and big vocal from Phil Allen, and it is followed by the gospel-flavoured blues of “Lay My Burden Down”, a song about resting one’s ‘heavy load’ . . . mainly just Dave Robinson’s resonator slide guitar and Phil Allen’s ‘world weary’ vocal . . . a really nice stripped down track.

“When I First Met Chicago” is a slow blues extolling the feelings evoked by that great city of music, with plenty of guitar fireworks and impassioned vocal; it’s followed by the funky intro of “She’s Got The Sunshine”, which develops into a bluesy rocker, reminding me of early Whitesnake. The title cut, “Ready For Business” again has a funk feel and flows nicely, before another swerve for a sweet acoustic guitar instrumental, “Dirty Old Rag”.

Elsewhere “The Truth” sees Phil Allen blow some harmonica on this rootsy number, a sort of throwback to the vintage Rod Stewart material of the early 70s; “Take A Closer Look” is another pretty ballad, and the band groove on “A Place Like This”, with ‘snaky’ guitar work from Robinson, and pushed nicely along by Burns and Heydon, with the stop-time “Everybody Talkin'” closing the album.

A fine and most enjoyable release from the band, and I’m sure these tunes will come to life on stage . . . a nice mix of styles and kudos to the lads for that!


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