Review: Cry Baby And The Hoochie Coochie Boys – Sweet Thing

Posted on: Wednesday, Feb 8, 2012

The Potteries-based Cry Baby And The Hoochie Coochie Boys announced themselves on the scene in 2009 with their four-track “Salt Glazed Blues” EP, and three of those tracks made an appearance on “Sweet Thing” . . . their first full length release. The 12 tracks capture the feel and excitement of their live show and are roughly half-and-half covers and band originals . . . their sound is inspired by British rhythm and blues stalwarts Dr. Feelgood and Nine Below Zero, and some classic American bluesmen.

The six piece comprise: Graham Sells (vocals & guitar), Rob Wilkinson (harmonica & vocals), Vince Cutcliffe (guitars, mandolin & backing vocals), Andy Carr (drums & backing vocals), Trevor Pinson (bass & backing vocals) and Freddie Pirotta (keyboards) – with Johnny Davies also featuring on keyboards on three tracks here. The band are hard driving, led by Sells strong gravelly voice, and the rest of the boys . . . all sounding like they are having a ball!

Proceedings kick-off with the title cut of “Sweet Thing”, a Graham Sells song with a John Lee Hooker boogie riff . . . it’s a fine opener that grabs the listeners attention. The band then turn their attention to a nice little Jimmy Reed medley, “Any Way You Want Me / Bright Lights”, before the original “Don’t Lie To Me Baby”, with its great guitar hook and fine harmonica from Rob Wilkinson. The timeless “I Sing The Blues”, closely associated with the sadly recently departed Etta James, is up next . . a nice, rolling blues take, with tough vocal from Graham Sells.

My favourite original here is the excellent “Burlesque Dancer”, with Andy Carr’s drums kicking it off, before the tune takes off with some snarling slide guitar from Vince Cutcliffe . . . and what a killer line in “purple feathers, fishnet stockings . . . man, that woman’s got me rockin’” . . . indeed! Cutcliffe is able to show off his slide playing again on a rousing romp through Elmore James “Wild About You Baby”. The band ‘doff the cap’ to the great bluesmen on Graham Sells’ “Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues” . . . harmonica man Rob Wilkinson featuring to fine effect again here, with customary tough Sells vocal.

Elsewhere the boys have a neat stroll through some classic Willie Dixon, in the shape of “I Want To Be Loved” and a breakneck version of J B Lenoir’s “Gimme One More Shot”, with piano man Johnny Davies tearing it up, and pushed along by the rhythm section of Trevor Pinson and Andy Carr. The mandolin-driven “Zydeco Boogie” changes the pace and feel a little . . . a tribute to the music of Louisiana. The album ends on a high note with a live tracks from one of the bands regular venues, The Terrace in Penkhull . . . a funky “Build Me A Woman”, written by the late harmonica player, Pat Ramsey.




Pete Evans

February 9th, 2012 at 08:40
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Agree with you Gra – indeed a cracking cd. The band are playing at the Bangor on Dee Blues & Real Festival on May 12th preceding headliners The Stumble. Also featuring are Robin Bibi Band, Guy Tortora Band, Blues Boy Dan and from the USA on his 1st UK tour, John Emil, a superb acoustic and lap steel guitarist – all for the princely sum of £15. Full details to follow.