Review: Ryk Mead & The London Blues Machine – Chicago

Posted on: Friday, Jun 5, 2015


Ryk Mead & The London Blues Machine – Chicago


Over a good number years Ryk has trod the boards playing the blues and other musical styles with a plethora of musicians and included in his many collaborations have been such high profile artists as; Dave Gilmour, Annie Lennox, Alison Moyet, The Pretty Things and the country legend Willie Nelson. Although their styles may not have necessarily followed the blues highway, pathos and truth are very evident in their work.

Now, with this collection of eleven numbers we have a well fermented, merging and bubbling brew of English sounding blues with a strongly woven thread of Chicago and Delta influences running through them.  Ryk who plays all guitars shares bass and drum duties with Jake Libretto and Piers De Margary.

Ryk has an engagingly fluent but, sharp and caustic manner of guitar work that is matched with a simmering vocal style that is reminiscent of Jack Bruce and Jimi Hendrix, these elements come together on the title number ‘Chicago,’ a hard edged blaster that strides forward carrying you along on with it, in the same vein is the highly enticing ‘I’m Not Afraid,’ which features a very pleasant solo guitar break in the manner of Hendrix or Cream, the invitingly trundling and shuffling ‘Put Away Your Blues,’ is an easygoing foot-tapper that simply carries you away with memories of the good times.

A change of mood is to be found on the instrumental ‘Blues Latino,’ where a satisfying mellow Latin American feel is used to very great effect; it was inspired as Ryk states in the sleeve notes by the style of Larry Carlton. Another satisfying mellow slow walking blues tribute, ‘Cyprus Grove,’ was as Ryk also states in the sleeve notes, “the two special arrangements of Skip James’, Cyprus Grove, and Jeff Barry’s Walking in the Sun were developed during long years on the road.

The second, being a tribute to the great Steve Waller who, it was my honour to share a stage with from time to time.”  ‘Hurricane Blues,’ is a Texas influenced loping, rumbling blues roller that has evolved from a good studio groove sound, to a solid and enjoyable crowd pleaser.

This is very fine set of tunes by a British blues stalwart who deserves a much wider audience.



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