Review: Paul Lamb & Chad Strentz – ‘After 8’ at The Rodewald Suite, The Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Posted on: Saturday, Mar 9, 2013

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Paul Lamb & Chad Strentz: ‘After 8’ at The Rodewald Suite, The Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

Friday, 1st March

The latest show in the regularly sold-out ‘After 8’ series of gigs in the intimate surroundings of The Rodewald Suite saw a marvellously enjoyable evening from Paul Lamb – a true master of the harmonica, and a ‘torch bearer’ for all that is good in the blues; accompanied by long-time band member Chad Strentz, on acoustic guitar and his mightily soulful voice. The packed room were regally entertained from the first note to last, over two great sets.

Paul Lamb & The King Snakes have been prominent on the UK and European scene now for decades . . . touring relentlessly and remaining a top attraction . . . here the duo format worked a treat, with the sets featuring a mix of reworked band numbers and also some choice covers, with Messrs. Lamb and Strentz totally relaxed and just having a good time, which was certainly mirrored by the very appreciative Liverpool audience.

Paul Lamb grew up in his native North East embracing the country blues of America, with the great Sonny Terry being his first and longest lasting influence, before he was inspired by the likes of George Smith, Rod Piazza and William Clarke; Chad Strentz comes from a more soulful and rockabilly background, with the likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Ray Charles being amongst his ‘main men’.

Over the two sets a fair sprinkling of songs from the last band album, the live “Games People Play”, were given the duo ‘makeover’ . . . and they all worked a treat! The Charles/Cash medley of “I Got A Woman/Folsom Prison Blues” was a showcase for Strentz; with more Ray Charles in his classic “Black Jack Game”, and another treat was the rockabilly-edged “The Pillow”, from a little further back in the band discography.

It goes without saying that Paul Lamb’s harmonica playing was as brilliant as ever – he is a true master of the instrument! He took an occasional vocal over the course of the show – notably on the New Orleans ‘chestnut’ “Ya Ya Blues”, and the Roosevelt Sykes song, “Ida Mae”. The opening of the second set saw a delicious interpretation of the Gershwin number, “Summertime” . . . featuring some amazing chromatic harmonica, and retitled “Summertyne”, as a nod to his North East roots.

No Paul Lamb show is complete without some Sonny Terry and he delivered a stunning “Whoopin’ And Hollerin'” in his own inimitable ‘from the heart’ style – great stuff indeed! Other treats were a very soulful “Careless Love”, and a rollicking “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”, both fine vocal performances from Chad Strentz – without a doubt one of our best blues and soul vocalists.

It’s a pleasure to report that the duo will be releasing a first album together soon, and also Chad Strentz should have his first solo release out in about a month – I would suggest both will be very worthy of investigation. A brilliant night from two top musicians and performers – catch them if you can!

GRAHAME RHODES



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Ken

March 9th, 2013 at 11:01
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Aye! Echoed by me. Two lovely hours.