Review: The Cadillac Kings – Gonna Tell Your Momma

Posted on: Monday, Sep 17, 2012

Cad Kings new cd cover.jpg

The Cadillac Kings – Gonna Tell Your Momma

(33 Records: 33WM147)


Firstly, I’m probably the wrong person to review this . . . . as I absolutely love The Cadillac Kings! They are without doubt, as I’ve often said, ‘national treasures’ with few equals on the scene. For their fourth release, and the third on Luton-based 33 Records, they have issued a live album recorded at two gigs in their beloved stronghold of Norway – “Gonna Tell Your Momma” – at the Rica Hotel in Hamar, almost exactly 12 months apart.

The 14-track release contains six originals and eight covers and is the perfect snapshot of the band’s live set . . . with some tunes that have been around a while and others recently added . . . together they make up the perfect ‘blues party’, with a mix of swing, classic blues and zydeco – performed with their usual quote of fun and skill, and not many outfits boast four different vocalists!

The band comprise of Mike Thomas (lead vocals and percussion), Gary Potts (harmonica, lead and backing vocals), Mal Barclay (guitar and lead vocals), Paul Cuff (double bass) and Roy Webber (drums, lead and backing vocals) – with the early gig featuring the now departed from the band ‘boogie woogie’ piano maestro Henri Herbert, on 10 tracks, and the long-serving Mike Adcock adding piano and accordion on the later show, on four tracks.

They tear out of the blocks on the title track, Jimmy McCracklin’s “Gonna Tell Your Momma”, with sparkling solo from Henri Herbert; next up is a gem here, the absolutely stonking groove of Earl King’s “A Man Needs His Loving”, which rides on some brilliant guitar from the always impressive Mal Barclay. Gary Potts steps up for his first vocal, on one of two Rod Piazza tunes here – the driving “Somebody”, and contributes some of his big-toned excellent harmonica work.

A three-song interlude takes us ‘down south’ – that’s the USA, not Essex – with a strong Louisiana segment and feel. The fun “Ding Dong Daddy” from the late Jerry McCain, with Mike Adcock showing his accordion chops; the N’Awlins classic “Sick And Tired” sees a fine vocal from drummer Roy Webber; with the ‘trilogy’ rounded off with a Thomas/Adcock original, the self-explanatory “Zydeco Cadillac”, that can’t fail to set feet and toes tapping.

Mike Thomas’s wry “Just A Matter Of Time” has been in the set a good while now, and it’s an amusing look at the question of the onset of old age, with his fantastic lyrics – he is without doubt one of the finest writers we have! Next up Mal Barclay steps up for a vocal turn and lovely toned guitar on “Mean Old Frisco”, with Henri Herbert positively tearing it up on the rousing “Boogie Hamar”.

The band dip back to 1957 for the blast that is The Cadets “Stranded In The Jungle” – it’s a rollercoaster ride of a tune and again sees the band having great fun to accompany their top playing. Gary Potts turns to the Rod Piazza back-catalogue again for his “Bad Bad Boy”, complete with more lusty harmonica playing.

The closing couplet of songs features both sides of the band’s recent vinyl 7″ single – the swinging ‘B’ side, penned by Mike Thomas and Mal Barclay – “Eight Ball Jack”; and lastly the (very) fast version of the ‘A’ side, “Betty Lou”, which the band fairly rattle through, on this, the first time it was ever played live.

I’ve never seen these guys give a bad show, and they are simply a breath of fresh air on stage – great songs (both covers and original), fantastic musicians and above all top guys, who bring a smile to all in these tough times  – needless to say I can’t recommend this enough!




September 19th, 2012 at 23:20
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Have to say also that is is beautifully recorded. Great work by the engineers, producers and soundmen.


CK What

September 25th, 2012 at 19:41
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Will pass on your kind words to the engineers, producers and soundmen, in other words – Rune Nordal, who did it all solo. Having spent a few days wth him in his gold discs’ covered studio in Trondheim, Norway’s equivalent of Abbey Road, I can vouch for the fact that the guy is a quiet, unassuming genius.