Review: Various Artistes – Jock’s Juke Joint

Posted on: Friday, Nov 9, 2012

Various Artistes – Jock’s Juke Joint
Contemporary Blues From Scotland Vol 1
(Lewis Hamilton Music LHMSBC12012)

The album is a showcase of the contemporary blues scene in Scotland and is dedicated to the fond memory of Billy ‘Blindman’ Allardyce – a Blues Hall Of Fame Inductee and a long time champion of Scottish blues. It contains 17 tracks of original material, each one featuring a different band or solo artiste.

The compilation springs superbly into action with “Shake Rag Boogie” by Stevie Hay’s Shades Of Blue, followed by Albany Down’s “South Of The City”, which is expertly driven by Paul Turley’s slashing slide guitar. Laura-May Gibson & The Bel-Airs deliver the upbeat shuffle “You Can’t Hang” while The Jenson Interceptors provide some gentle country blues with “Walk Away”. The blues-rock trio, Lewis Hamilton and the Boogie Brothers, bring “Empty Roads” to the party before The Bare Bones Boogie Band’s Helen Turner gives the slow and sultry “Fallin’ For Foolin’” the full hit with her sharp-edged vocals.

Gus Munro offers the first solo performance on the album with his own composition, “Fever”, giving way to Gerry Jablonski & The Electric Band” and the high octane rocker, “Higher They Climb”. Willie Logan’s excellent vocals are backed by himself on guitar and bass and by drummer Ashley MacMillan on “Nodully” in advance of the second solo appearance on the album in the shape of Sleepy Eyes Nelson with “Blonde Snapper”. The Yahs chip in with the slow, heavy-beating rocker, “Keep On Going” before two hard-hitting,-in-your-face rockers, Missing Cat’s “For The Rock Of It” and Ruff Cutt’s “My Friend My 44”, raise the tempo.

The mood is eased by the Dana Dixon Band’s gentle ballad, “Let You People Know”, which is followed by The Frank O’Hagan Band’s slow-burning rocker, “School For The Blues”, with Frank’s vocals admirably backed by an impressively high calibre ensemble. “The Traveller” by Dead Men’s Shoes shuffles along very pleasantly with Craig Arnott’s vocals and keyboard to the fore as a fitting prelude to the final track, Lovat Houndog Fraser’s whistful instrumental, “The Kingdoms Empty Halls”.

Scotland has produced some of the finest British blues exponents, not least The Nimmo Brothers, Tam White, Rev Doc and Blues ‘N’ Trouble. This album demonstrates that the production line remains in very good order right across the blues spectrum, a view that is fully endorsed on the album cover by another of the country’s iconic performers, Dave Arcari.

LIONEL ROSS

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