Review: BeetRootJam – Strawberry

Posted on: Monday, Mar 9, 2015

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Review for BeetRootJam – CD – ‘Strawberry’ – 2014 Self Release

The flavour of this interesting album ‘Strawberry’ by BeetRootJam is a difficult one to place a label on, with elements of country, blues, folk and rock. The album was put together at a house studio and recorded, mixed and produced by the band. All the tracks are self penned.

The core line up of the band consists of Mal (Gibson) Green on vocals, guitar, harmonica, he is also the songwriter in the band. With Dave Luvin on double bass and vocals and Mark Fitton on drums, percussion and vocals. All are seasoned musicians, hailing from Salford. The band says – “Guest musicians are a key feature in both live and studio environments and the basic format is often embellished with saxophone, trumpet, sitar, piano, violin and keyboards.” and the evidence is on show within this album.

The first track ‘Boogie Man’, opening with a ‘howl’, is a classic rhythm and blues and is a raw take with harp and basic rhythms, in the vein of ZZ top. Moving onto a number with a country flavour, ‘You Do Things’ has hints of Johnny Cash.

‘Still Got The Blues’ showcases acoustic and electric guitars on this slow blues, with some interesting bowed double bass, it has a sprinkle of a George Harrison sound. Then a track with an Eastern flavour with the use of sitar. ‘The Promised Land’, a country folk number with harmonica, well played finger picking guitar and simple percussion.

Upping the tempo slightly with a dash of swing and bringing some slide guitar or pedal steel on this 12 bar, ‘I’ll Do Anything’, with a mean blues harp. Staying with the rockin’ rhythms, ‘You Got Me’ is a rockin’ 12 bar blues with basic and raw rhythms.

The penultimate track is a classic take, ‘I Am A Train’, an upbeat basic blues with a Johnny Cash sound. The final number on this unusual album has a slow acoustic intro to this country blues, ‘The Road To Freedom’. It has a Gospel feel and is something like Johnny Cash meets Bob Dylan.

It is certainly a ‘rough and ready’ album, but that is half the charm. Not the best vocals and musicianship, but as a basic mono take that can be reproduced live, it’s a – ‘what you see is what you get’! Also, with addition of a limited vinyl version of the album being available, it gives it a knish market. The influences of Cash, Dylan and Harrison are evident and if you like an unpolished raw take, the album is well worth a listen.

ROSY GREER – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

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