Review: The 4th Bangor-on-Dee Blues & Real Ale Festival – The Buck Hotel, Saturday, 10th May

Posted on: Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The second part of the 4th Bangor-on-Dee Blues & Real Festival saw a superb and varied bill put together by Pete Evans, Paul Taylor and Ian Williams from the Goin’ Up The Country blues and roots club . . . not to mention a host of fine ales and food, organised by The Buck Hotel, in a large marquee at picturesque Bangor-on-Dee, North Wales.

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An excellent audience was already in attendance as the rootsy US duo Swampcandy – from Maryland – opened proceedings with an hour plus of their driving blues. They comprise of Ruben Dodds on guitars and vocal, and the double bass and bass drum of Joey Mitchell. They featured songs from their various CDs, including “Drink Whisky With Me” and they won the crowd over with their dry humour and fine playing. The duo were a bit hit at the festival last year and again were warmly received.

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Next up were the Lyndon Anderson Band from the North East; featuring the man himself Lyndon Anderson on vocals, harmonica and guitar; Davey Dormand (guitar), Christine Wilson (bass) and Michael Southern (drums). They really are one of the top outfits around, with Lyndon Anderson’s superb-toned harmonica playing and immense voice . . . which was perfectly highlighted on possibly the best performance of the day, on the lengthy slow blues of “Cast The First Stone”, with sublime guitar work from Dave Dormand. The band set featured mainly original songs, but another treat was a rousing version of The Red Devils “Automatic”. Special mention also to the top rhythm section of Christine Wilson and Michael Southern.

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The fast-rising David Midgen & The Twisted Roots changed the direction of the music again. The Kent-based band, fronted by Arkansas-born Migden, bring a melting pot of funk, rock, blues and New Orleans influences to the table, and again delivered a hugely enjoyable set. They featured songs from both their CDs – the latest, “Animal & Man”, and its predecessor, “Killin’ It”, when they were known as The Dirty Words. Highlights were the funky “Top Of The Mountain” and also the ‘second line’ New Orleans groove of “Rougarou”. The band are as tight as it comes and David Migden possesses a quite superb voice.

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Also making the journey up from Kent were the rocking Rosco Levee & The Southern Slide whose brand of country-tinged rocking, with flavours of the likes of The Allman Brothers and with a great 70s feel, was also warmly received by a growing crowd. The five-piece are fronted by Rosco Levee’s gritty vocals and fluent guitar work, and they played songs from the new “Get It While You Can” release, and their first album, “Final Approach To Home” . . . with the great “Goldrush” from that being a standout, alongside new songs such as “Some Angels Fall” and “Howitzer Eyes”.

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Almost veterans on the UK blues scene, The Ian Parker Band, delighted the guitar fans in the crowd with a polished set that drew on many years of material – Ian Parkers long-time foil, ‘Morg’ Morgan was on keyboards, with the rhythm section of David Jenkins (bass) and Chris Finn (drums). Parker showed his masterful guitar prowess and the lengthy, showstopper, the classic song “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” and the title cut form his Ruf Records album, “Where I Belong”.

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Rounding off a quite superb day were The Blues Duo – namely Tommy Allen (guitar, drum and vocals) and Johnny Hewitt (harmonica and vocals). They delived their customary high-energy set, and were joined by the rhythm section of John Potter (double bass) and Damon Clarridge (drums), with a guest spot featuring a return to the stage for Lyndon Anderson as him and Johnny Hewitt blew up a storm on a lengthy Robert Johnson number – without doubt two of the best harmonica players anywhere on the same stage! The outfit rocked out on favourites such as “Had My Fun” and “Back Door Boogie” to end the festival on a rousing note.

Special mention must go to Pete Evans and his team; and also all the staff at The Buck Hotel for their hard work all day. A splendid event, and definitely one to pencil in for 2015 – cracking ales and food and great bands all day!

GRAHAME RHODES

(Pics courtesy of Ian Williams: www.ianwilliamsphotography.co.uk)

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