Review: The Cadillac Kings at Garston Royal British Legion – 6th December 2013

Posted on: Monday, Dec 9, 2013


The Cadillac Kings at Garston Royal British Legion – 6th December 2013

In the festivities leading to Christmas, there cannot be a better blues band for the occasion than the wonderful Cadillac Kings. Already firm favourites in Liverpool, the Essex and London-based ensemble returned to the city to resprinkle their magic. Fronted by charismatic singer/songwriter, Mike Thomas, the band also boasted the impressive talents of Mal Barclay on guitar and Tim Penn on keyboards, superbly underpinned by the top class rhythm section of Roy Webber on drums and Paul Cuff on bass.

They bounded into life from the very first number, Elmore James’s “Stranger Blues”, which they followed up with Professor Longhair’s “In The Night”, featuring Tim Penn with some lovely New Orleans style keyboard playing. Mal Barclay then took over lead vocals from Mike Thomas on T-Bone Walker’s fast-moving “Hard Ridin’ Woman” before delivering a superb guitar solo on Mike’s “Trick Of The Blues”. It was then Roy Webber’s turn on vocal duty on the Latin-rhythmned “Flatfoot Sam”, with another fine helping of rippling piano from Tim Penn.

Sugar Pie DeSanto’s “Soulful Dress” led the charge toward the excellent “Chain Gang Boogie”, with Mike adding some tasty slide guitar to the mix, and the light-hearted original “(I’m In Love With The) Chief Of Police”. Mal Barclay resumed lead vocals on “Zydeco Cadillac” before Tim Penn switched to accordion on Wynonie Harris’s “Down Boy Down” and the final number of the marvellous set, Kim Wilson’s “Tell Me”.

The second set opened in hand-jive fashion with “One Step Foward” and a terrific rendition of “Money”, followed by Mal Barclay’s delivery of Big Boy Crudup’s “Mean Old Frisco”. The jazzy “Everybody’s Out” was decorated with more instrumental magic from Barclay and Penn, the latter then taking over vocals on Fats Domino’s “Let The Four Winds Blow”, embellished by some scintillating piano-based artistry. Rockin’ Sidney’s slow blues, “No Good Woman”, benefitted from a sweet taste of blues harp from Mike Thomas, not for the first time in the evening, while the upbeat rocker, “Lovinest Girl” saw the accordion back in play. The climax of the set brought Roy Webber back on vocals for Kim Wilson’s “Learn To Treat Me Right” before a splendid version of Eddy Floyd’s “Bluecoat Man” and the upbeat encore, “Betty Lou”.

It was a magnificent evening’s entertainment, which excelled in respect of vocals, musicianship and presentation, thoroughly reinforcing the band’s already considerable reputation and posting broad smiles on the faces of the substantial audience.

Lionel Ross

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