Review: King Size Slim – Milk Drunk

Posted on: Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

King Size Slim CD Cover

King Size Slim – Milk Drunk

(Tree House 44: TH44CD0101)

King Size Slim, aka Toby Barelli, hails from the Deep South – the south coast of England, that is – and his musical style is very much influenced by the heritage of the Delta blues region – in the United States, that is. The eleven original compositions that make up the album present a modern slant on the traditional roots of the old bluesmen, galvanised with a gripping, rhythmic energy.

The title track starts things off with a contemporary take on the seminal field holler with more than a hint of Adam Ant. The highly percussive “Wake Up The Town” is in similar vein but significantly faster with rhythmic shades of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, powered by the East Brighton Rhythm Section, while “Hard Way To Fall” provokes echoes of Lennon’s “Come Together”. “Roast Beef Blues” is in the style of Mississippi John Hurt with some tasty finger-picking and is followed by a couple of country blues – “Angel Dear” and “Leaving Portsmouth Town”.

The Latin-rhythmed “I Hope It’s You”, with Aimee Grinter guesting on vocals, is followed by the waltz tempo of the folksy ballad “”Rising Spring”, which features Roger Hubbard on mandolin. “Dark Soul” ups the pace again in advance of the hypnotically rhythmic “Monkey, Where Are You?”, splendidly driven by Andy Newmark on drums. The album is concluded with “She Lies”, on which King Size delivers superb Joe Cockeresque vocals.

This is a little gem of an album – the eleven tracks lasting only slightly more than thirty minutes, with five of them running for less than three minutes each. King Size Slim is a talented songwriter and guitarist and is capable of delivering a range of vocal styles. He is unsurprisingly in demand on the acoustic blues circuit and would certainly offer a very different and entertaining contribution to any blues festival.


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