Review: Blues in the Paddock, Antrobus, Cheshire – 7th June 2014

Posted on: Tuesday, Jun 17, 2014

Blues in the Paddock, Antrobus, Cheshire – 7th June 2014

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Set in the grounds of the home of a local philanthropic, Blues in the Paddock presented three acts over the afternoon and early evening. It was a private concert but it would be a shame if a brief review were not to be published, given the high quality of the performances and the splendour of the occasion.

With Ray O’Hare, best known as the organiser of the sadly missed Warrington blues nights, acting as MC, the afternoon kicked off with the wonderful Marcus Bonfanti in solo acoustic mode. He delighted the audience with a mixture of his own excellent compositions and a selection of astutely chosen cover versions. His self-penned gems included “What Good Am I To You?”, “Devil Girl” and “Give Me Your Cash”. The covers included superb versions of Leadbelly’s “Midnight Special”, “St James Infirmary Blues” and “Fishing Blues”. It was a brilliant performance by one of the UK’s very best acoustic blues exponents.

The Boozie Woozie Band then took to the stage, fronted by the highly talented Andy Stones on lead vocals and keyboards. Among his many projects, keyboard wizard Andy was a member of The Winchesters many years ago, an eccentric forerunner of The Swing Commanders. On this occasion, his fellow boozie woozies were guitarist Ricky Palooka, bass player Tom Shevchuck and drummer Alan Taylor. The band raced through a highly entertaining programme of rhythm and blues, rock and roll and boogie woogie, interspersed with splendidly whimsical comments from its leader. Great fun: great entertainment.

The headline act was Cherry Lee Mewis and her band, which featured Max Milligan on acoustic guitar, mandolin and backing vocals, Robbie Stewart-Mathews on double bass, harmonica and backing vocals, Nick Slater on Resonator guitar and Brian Greene on drums. They delivered an energetic set of country rock and blues, which included a selection of numbers from their latest album, Catch My Drift, and their EP, Cherry Pickin’. They also performed superb versions of “Mercedes Benz” and “I’d Rather Go Blind”, both of which renditions showed Cherry’s powerful vocals off to great effect.

It was a cracking event, at which the top class musical programme and the provision of excellent real ales and wine and an exquisite selection of cheeses completely obliterated the intermittent attempts of the weather to put a dampener on the occasion.

LIONEL ROSS

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