Review: The Cottonhouse Shakers – BJs Blues Club at The Hop Pocket, Chorley

Posted on: Sunday, Dec 16, 2012

Thursday, 6th December, 2012

The Cottonhouse Shakers travelled from the Blackburn area of the North West to entertain the enthusiastic crowd here at BJ’s. The strength of this band apart from them being top drawer musicians is in the way they take a popular cover and give it the” Cotton House Shakers treatment”. They cleverly rearrange the cover and lay a different groove to it be it Swing /Soul /Blues or an up tempo Jazz feel, clever stuff, and it creates a few surprises along the way.

Gary Ward, the band’s front man and lead guitarist and lead vocal is a fire cracker of a performer and the driving force behind the musical arrangements. Neil Canning on keyboards is a musician of the highest calibre and is the musical corner stone of the band, with fantastic fills, blends, and solos he just gives the band a base which they build upon, superb.

The rhythm section, on a funky bass was Derren Lee Poole, a player who is riddled with the vibe, animated to say the least, Derren just rocked it; and on the drums was Tim Jackson, a timekeeper who kept his mind on the job and his hand on the tiller. Julie Pilkington, lead female vocalist was just excellent she has a clear, smooth powerful range and did a brilliant version of “Valerie” and her backing vocals throughout the show were spot on; and to round off the personnel we have a guest musician and friend of the band saxophonist and flautist Steve Childs, a jazz / fusion influence here – he was outstanding.

The bands repertoire was extensive and stretched over the decades from the likes of Dylan, Miles Davis, Booker T, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Bill Withers, Hawkwind, Hank Williams and many more, something for everyone. This band entertains and gives value at every turn they are The Cotton House Shakers.

KEITH BLACKLEDGE

National and International Music Reviewer

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