Review of 2012 – Lionel Ross

Posted on: Sunday, Dec 23, 2012

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Review of 2012

2012 provided another fine helping of blues music in the form of gigs, festivals and recordings. As far as recordings are concerned, the pick of the crop for me were “Gonna Tell Your Momma” by The Cadillac Kings and “Brother To Brother” by The Nimmo Brothers, both providing a magnificent mix of top class original numbers and some superb cover versions. I also enjoyed “Jump Start” from Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials. Special mention is also due to some promising youngsters – in particular, Ben Poole and his excellent debut album, “Let’s Go Upstairs”, Laurence Jones (“Thunder In The Sky”) and Mitch Laddie (“Burning Bridges”).

Liverpool was once again blessed with a terrific programme of gigs by John and Lorraine Welsh, amongst which Rev Doc and The Congregation were at the forefront with a great performance at Fogherty’s Function Room in October, while Dale Storr and Kim Mayhew delighted the audience at Liverpool Marina in March. The surprise package was The Dave Raphael Band who backed the legendary blues shouter Norrie Burnett in fine style in November. In the same month, but somewhat further afield, The Nimmo Brothers were right at the top of their considerable game at the Rolls Royce Club in Barnoldswick.

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Sadly, I failed to attend most of the excellent gigs arranged by Pete Evans and his team in and around Worthenbury in North Wales, but I was delighted that I was able to catch the remarkable Lazy Lester, who showed that he had lost none of his whimsical charisma, as he held the audience in the palm of his hand, ably supported by Tommy Allen.

We attended three festivals in the region: the inaugural Theatre Of Blues Festival in Shrewsbury in February, the Warrington Blues Festival in September and the Carlisle Blues & Rock Festival in November. All three were most enjoyable. At Shrewsbury, the highly varied line-up included festival organisers, Rhythm Zoo, Dave Arcari, Northsyde, the Jon Amor Blues Group and headliner Big Joe Louis. At Warrington, the acoustic stage was graced by, amongst others, Blues Boy Dan and Tommy Allen and Johnny Hewitt, while the main stage acts included Forty4, The Producers and The Cadillac Kings. If anything, the Carlisle festival was even better than in previous years, with Ian Siegal and the Mississippi Mudbloods, Larry McCray, Geoff Achison, Paul Cox and Lisa Mills particularly impressive. In addition, a wonderfully laid-back acoustic nugget was provided by Mike Bowden and John Williamson. The festival was headlined by a very entertaining set from Andy Fairweather Low and The Lowriders.

Whilst praising the marvellous array of performers, we must not forget the unrewarded efforts of the organisers of blues music facilities and events in our region and thank them for their hugely-appreciated contributions to our enjoyment, not least Ken Peace and Grahame Rhodes, who ensure the continuation of this much-loved website.

LIONEL ROSS

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