Review: The White Knuckle Blues Band – It Might Just Be Too Late

Posted on: Thursday, Oct 25, 2012


The White Knuckle Blues Band – It Might Just Be Too Late

(KrossBorder Rekords: KBR20122)

Here’s a classy offering from the South Coast-based outfit, The White Knuckle Blues Band, who in the summer delivered a fine set at the Worthenbury Blues & Roots Festival and were greatly enjoyed by the crowd, including yours truly! The core trio of the band consist of Steve Roux (guitar and vocals), Rob Vick (bass) and Bernie Fox (drums and percussion), aided and abetted on “It Might Just Be Too Late” by Matt Beckwith (harmonica), Steve Grainger (alto saxophone) and Josh Philips (piano and Hammond organ).

Brighton- based Steve Roux first came to be known with an album on Virgin’s Pointblank blues label, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Albert Collins, Johnny Winter and John Hammond on the label, and he has led this band for the last 15 years with his tasteful guitar playing, smooth vocals and songwriting.

However most of the 12 tracks here are covers, with just two originals . . . albeit a well chosen and crafted set of songs in a variety of blues and soulful stylings. Proceedings open with a funky Delbert McClinton tune, “Gotta Get It Worked On”, with a tasty groove from the rhythm section of Vick and Fox, some lovely harmonica from Matt Beckwith and nice vocal with stinging solo from Steve Roux; the following “It All Went Down The Drain” is in a similar mode – this song most often connected with the great Boz Scaggs.

Matt Beckwith gets to show his prowess on a belting version of Junior Wells “Little By Little” that fairly tears along . . . with a tightness that shows the three main musicians 15 year association. Jimmy Hall’s smooth “Rendezvous With The Blues” is a soulful ballad, perfectly suited to Roux’s clean guitar lines and clear and pure vocals. The title cut, “It Might Just Be Too Late”, penned by Steve Roux and Bernie Fox is a modern blues tune with a political lyric and edge, and more snarling, but ever-tasteful, guitar from Steve Roux.

Elsewhere, the band radically rework Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Good Mornin’ Little Schoolgirl” into a quite sparse arrangement, pushed by Rob Vick’s bass playing and Bernie Fox on drums; the classic blues “Early In The Morning” sees more glorious guitar from Roux, and a tougher vocal – Steve Grainger adding some alto saxophone to the track. Keb Mo’s “Am I Wrong” sees some nice Dobro from Roux, with more telling contributions from Matt Beckwith on harmonica.

To end this fine release the band reprise a song from Roux’s Pointblank days, a lovely slow blues called “Can’t Change The Time” – that was recorded in one take at the end of a session – that captures some quite beautiful guitar – it’s a fitting end to a most enjoyable collection indeed!



(Pic by Grahame: Worthenbury Blues & Roots Festival 2012)

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