Review: Blue On Black – Robert Johnson’s Door

Posted on: Thursday, Sep 13, 2012

RJD Front cover JPEG.jpg

Blue On Black – Robert Johnson’s Door

(self-release)

This may open with a 50-second long piece of delicate acoustic slide guitar blues but don’t be fooled by either that or the CD title. This Cornish three-piece – Keith Howe, guitar and vocals; Paul Arnott, bass; Nigel Masters, drums – are out-and-out blues-rockers, very loud and very proud!

Although this is an all-original set, they wear their influences on their sleeves: Cream, Led Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher, Free (listen carefully and you’ll detect some definite Paul Kossoff licks on at least a couple of tracks), maybe even a little bit of Canned Heat – these guys do like to boogie – and certainly Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

In case you were wondering, not only does the band take its name from Shepherd’s big late 90s hit, but he is also the subject of the song ‘Louisiana State’ on this set. Many other blues and blues-rock performers get name-checks or references in the lyrics of these songs: Walter Trout’s “Empty Eyes” is one, but the majority occur in the tribute song ‘Man Down’.

The band set out their blues philosophy in ‘Blues Is…’, and if you like any of those names mentioned so far, do check this out. The guys even managed to procure Larry Miller to contribute a scintillating solo to ‘Black Smoke Blues’.

NORMAN DARWEN

www.blueonblack.co.uk

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