Review: Jay Gordon & Blues Venom – Woodchoppers Ball

Posted on: Wednesday, Aug 5, 2015

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Jay Gordon & Blues Venom – Woodchoppers Ball

(Shuttle Music)

Guitarist, singer and bandleader Jay has worked with Phillip Walker and opened for the likes of Albert Collins and Johnny Winter, as well as playing at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival in 2004.

It is those last two who seem to have left the greatest impression on Jay’s music, with the former being recalled in the way Jay injects great gobs of insanely rocking slide guitar work into this CD, whilst these slabs of improvisation are generally in the power trio format pioneered by the latter – there are keyboards on just five numbers, and Richie Valens’ younger brother Mario Ramirez plays harp on one track.

There is maybe a little bit of Eric Sardinas’ influence too – try Jay’s cover of Robert Johnson’s ‘Travelin’ Riverside Blues’. Vocally he can vaguely recall Robert Plant, or sometimes Lil’ Ed or J.B. Hutto, which again may give you a flavour of this set (bassist Sharon Butcher turns in a creditable cover of Koko Taylor’s ‘Voodoo Woman’ too). Naturally enough, there is a Hendrix flavour on occasion too.

Hopefully that gives you the general idea – if you like your blues loud, wild and rocking, or slow, impassioned and, er, loud, you’ve definitely come to the right place. Half of this set has been out on older CDs, but even if you already have those, you’re gonna need this set for the likes of the wonderful version of Elmore James’ ‘Stranger Blues’ or Jay’s own totally unfettered, manic ‘Chainsaw Boogie’.

 NORMAN DARWEN
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