Review: Thomas Ford – Breaking Everything But Even

Posted on: Saturday, Nov 30, 2013

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Thomas Ford – Breaking Everything But Even

(OUF Records: OUFCD02)

Really like this album from South West-based bluesman Thomas Ford, who with the cream of the Plymouth area musicians has produced a high-energy stomping and energetic release in the wryly-titled, “Breaking Everything But Even”, with him featuring on vocals, guitars, harmonica, banjo and percussion . . . as befits someone who has plied his trade solo as a ‘one-man band’, but also in larger combos.

The album is co-produced by Ford with Doc Collins and Vince Lee, and consists all originals, bar a cover of the traditional “Bottle Up And Go”. Helping out are Vince Lee (guitars, double bass, ukulele, vocals and percussion), Tim Langsford (drums), Bomber Harris (organ), Al Wallis (electric bass), Ian Petit (trumpets and clarinet), Andy Williamson (saxophones), Martin Cleave (tuba), Patrick James Pearson (piano), Becca Langsford (vocals and percussion), Aude Richer-Langsford (backing vocals and percussion) and Jo Horsey (vocals and percussion).

The proceedings start with the slide-driven intro on the rousing “You Ain’t What You Used To Be”, with some nice harmonica too; the afore-mentioned “Bottle Up And Go” has fine piano from Patrick James Pearson, and more sweet harmonica. Ford ‘doffs his cap’ to a  blues legend on the menacing “Mississippi Fred McDowell Blues”, and also name-checking several others along the way – it is again dominated by some excellent slide guitar.

Elsewhere the ‘old-time’ flavoured “Peace Inside Blues” takes the pace down, with the brass vying with Ford’s banjo, and featuring the horns of the brass section. The riveting blues of “The Things I Used To Do” is a standout . . . it fairly rattles along, with crashing cymbals, slide guitar and lusty harmonica . . . great stuff! A co-write with Vince Lee, the super “I’m Set On You” swings along nicely, with driving horns and the female backing vocals, plus ‘killer’ guitar solo, that I am guessing, is Vince Lee.

One of the best ‘under the radar’ British blues releases this year, and highly recommended.

GRAHAME RHODES

www.thomasfordblues.com

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