Don’t know who or what time.

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YouTube: Joanne Shaw Taylor

Posted on: Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014

Joanne Shaw Taylor has released a second video that goes behind the scenes of fourth album The Dirty Truth.

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Review: B.B. & The Blues Shacks – Businessmen

Posted on: Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014


B.B. & The Blues Shacks – Businessmen

(CrossCut Records: CCD 11108)

Although it has been out a few months now it would be amiss not to say a few words about the seventh release on CrossCut Records from Germany’s B.B. & The Blues Shacks – as one of Europe’s finest blues bands hits 25 years, and some 3,000 gigs! The band are still led by founder members, the Arlt brothers – Michael on harmonica and vocals, and Andreas on guitar – accompanied by long-time bass player Henning Hauerken; the line-up completed by Dennis Koeckstadt (keyboards) and Jochen Reich (drums).

“Businessmen” is well up to the band’s usual high standard and was recorded in Vienna towards the end of last year, with the 15 tracks featuring all originals, bar one cover . . . and as ever comprising of a broad span from roadhouse blues, soulful struts, and some funky edges and more . . . all making for a most enjoyable ‘journey’. Fleshing out the sound are the tremendous three piece horn section, The No Blow No Show Horns, who are present on all tracks bar two. They comprise: Tom Muller (tenor & baritone saxophone), Stefan Gossinger (trumpet) and Martin Grunzweig – with all the arrangements by Muller.

A swirl of organ from Dennis Koeckstadt kicks off the chunky opener, “Out Of Tears”, with the punch horns to the fore; the soulful groove of “Take My Name” is another early treat with lovely clipped guitar from Andreas Arlt and the rhythm section of Hauerken and Reich right ‘on the money’. The title cut, “Businessmen”, again rides on a nice funky vibe with some tasteful harmonica from Michael Arlt and trademark class vocal performance.

The jazzy swing of the instrumental “Buckle Up” contains some nice sparring between Koeckstadt’s organ playing and the guitar of Andreas Arlt, and the number recalls the work of the Hammond greats such as Brother Jack McDuff and Jimmy Smith; the whole band hit a Texas roadhouse shuffle for the rousing “Pardon Me”, led by some tough harmonica and the driving rhythm section – a standout amongst many tracks here, with the band absolutely cooking – Dennis Koeckstadt with sparkling piano on this.

Elsewhere the sole cover, John Brim’s “It Was A Dream”, pays due reverence to the original; “Green Eye” is a soulful number with shades of the classic Booker T & The MGs. The pace is taken up for the penultimate track, “Blues Shadow”, with an acoustic guitar intro giving way to some lovely electric playing from Andreas Arlt and again it features the lovely punchy sound of The No Blow No Show Horns.

As previously noted B.B. & The Blues Shacks continue to one of the finest outfits in Europe and needless to say “Businessmen” has class written all over it, and comes highly recommended.


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Review: Red Dirt Skinners – Live In Aberdeen

Posted on: Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014

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Review for THE RED DIRT SKINNERS – CD – ‘Live In Aberdeen’ Self release

The Red Dirt Skinners are an acoustic duo who give us rootsy country music with influences from folk, blues, bluegrass, Ragtime to Americana, Southern rock and more. This is evident in their excellent current live album, ‘ Live In Aberdeen’. They are Rob and Sarah Skinner.

With Rob on superb acoustic guitar, vocals and percussion and Sarah on super sexy soprano sax and vocals, they make a formative duo. They give us some great harmonies and class musicianship, (Sarah was voted ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ in the British Blues Awards 2014) Some tracks on the album are self penned.

The album kicks off with a country blues, ‘Cornbread Peas and Black Molasses’ setting the scene and giving a taste of what is to come. Plenty of country roots, interspersed with Ragtime with the likes of ‘Shreveport To New Orleans’ and folky input with ‘The Monkey And The Engineer’. Some super sax on the country blues ‘Pound Sign’ and a great take on the final number ‘Hot Tamales’ an up tempo ragtime number with exceptional jazzy sax.

The whole album is an easy listen and if you like rootsy acoustic music this will appeal to you. It is music that takes us away from the norm, but draws its influences from Texas and other southern states. A great duo that come to life on a live stage with a big sound and the excellent album ‘Live in Aberdeen’ gives you a taste of that!

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

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Here’s a chance to win one pair of tickets for this Saturday’s Chester Blues, Rhythm & Rock Festival – headlined by the legendary Steve Cropper – courtesy of our friends at the venue, The Live Rooms.

Simply answer the following question and enter via the ‘Contact Us’ link, by 6 pm tomorrow (Wednesday) – please be 100% sure you are able to attend:

Which state in the USA do the Billy Walton Band hail from?

The lucky winner will be contacted via e-mail.

Also note the same bill play at The Atkinson in Southport, the following day, Sunday, 19th October.

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Our now legendary and much acclaimed Blues Night has been confirmed for Friday, November 14th at Lymm Golf Club. This year we are really pleased that Makuini and the Hoodoo Men  will be joining us following their UK tour, which included a terrific performance at this Summer’s Lymm Festival.

Tickets £11 – doors 7.30 pm – 8 pm start

Also available at Lymm Electric, Bridgewater Street

Lymm Golf Club, Whitbarrow Road, Lymm, WA13 9AN

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Review: Struggle Buggy – Tear ‘Em Down

Posted on: Sunday, Oct 12, 2014

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Review for STRUGGLE BUGGY – CD – ‘TEAR ‘EM DOWN’ – 2014 Self released

Struggle Buggy describe themselves as ‘an acoustic ‘good-time’ blues band, playing Delta, ragtime, Hokum, jug band with a little Chicago blues thrown in for good luck!’ Their aim is to bring ‘fun’ back to the blues, and the album ‘Tear ‘Em Down’ certainly does that.

The band features well established blues duo Lee Bates on National guitars and vocals and Billy Newton on harmonica and vocals. Playing alongside are Paul Summerson on bass and Keith Smith on drums.

The album gives a great selection of old blues classics from ‘Rattlesnake Daddy’ and ‘Rag, Mama, Rag’ by Blind Boy Fuller, to rockin’ it up with Big Bill Broonzy’s ‘Midnight Steppers’. There’s some nice slide guitar input on Wille Dixon’s ‘Crazy For My Baby’ and Blind Willie McTell’s ‘B&O Blues No2′, a great classic sound of the era, with superb blues harp playing. There’s also a bit of classic 12 bar blues with ‘Blues Before Sunshine’ with good authentic sound.

Some ‘fun’ time with a ditty of ‘Your Biscuits Are Big Enough For Me’ and a bit of ‘hoe down’ with ‘Tear’em Down’ and the name sake of the album. The final track on this real blues album, is a great take of the classic Robert Johnson number ‘Terraplane Blues’.

A well put together album taking us back to blues basics for a refreshing change. Well worth a listen.

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

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Review: Blues Karloff – Ready For Judgement Day

Posted on: Sunday, Oct 12, 2014

Blues Karloff – Ready For Judgement Day

(Music Avenue/Blues Boulevard: 250365)

This is the debut album from this five-piece Belgian band and they nail their colours firmly to the mast. Right from the opening heavy, dirty riff, it is obvious that these guys have been listening to the 60s UK blues boomers for a long time, and the repertoire serves to underline this.

One time UK staples such as ‘Train Kept A-Rollin’’ (most likely from The Yardbirds), ‘Boom Boom’, (The Animals, if not John Lee Hooker’s own version), ‘The Hunter’ (Free), ‘Oh Pretty Woman’ (John Mayall – and yes, these last two titles were initially Albert King recordings), early soul singer Jimmy Hughes’ ‘Neighbor Neighbor’ (probably via Spencer Davis) and others are performed in a tough blues-rock style, with echoes of those 60s bands – and Jimi Hendrix in places, whilst the band’s sole original composition, ‘Mean Ol’ Woman Blues’ sounds like it should have been issued around late 1970.

Initially Alfie Falckenbach’s singing sounds rather laboured, but the ear quickly adjusts and within a few tracks, it fits perfectly, as he seems to be trying for a vintage Robert Plant approach. Nice to note too the inclusion of Spooky Tooth’s ‘Better By You, Better By Me’ – it cost 12/6d on the sampler “Nice Enough To Eat” (and that is definitely showing my age!).

Guitarists Paul “Shorty” Van Camp and Fonzie Verdickt have the chops to match, and the rhythm section of bassist, harpman and acoustic guitarist Frans Ruzicka and founder member/ drummer Georges Milikan knows just what is required. If these songs were the soundtrack to your youth, you’ll definitely enjoy this; if not, and you enjoy the classic UK blues-rock sound, buy it anyway!


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Willie & The Bandits have the following upcoming North West dates:

Sunday 19th October @ The Continental, Preston

Tuesday 21st October @ Night & Day, Manchester

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News: RIP Sista Monica Parker

Posted on: Saturday, Oct 11, 2014

Sad to note the passing of US blues, soul and gospel singer,  Sista Monica Parker . . . one-time frequent UK visitor.

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From Pete Evans:

This gig is arguably one of the most exciting acoustic ones that we have presented in our 18 years of presenting live music when one of the top roots/blues musicians from the USA teams up with arguably the UK’s current top acoustic roots/blues guitarists.

Ian Siegal’s stature has grown immensely over the last 7/8 years from being a regular on the British blues club scene to being in demand on the American festival circuit and to recording in the USA with some of the most respected southern blues musicians. His powerful earthy vocals are backed up by his fine acoustic and steel guitar and a great stage presence. Regulars will remember his superb gig at Worthenbury four years ago with Ben Prestage, the amazing one-man band.

Jimbo Mathus is from Oxford, Mississippi born into a musical family. University educated he studied Phiosophy, Latin and Theatre Studies but it was music that took over his life especially with his band The Squirrel Nut Zippers.

The band toured extensively during the 90s appearing at Bill Clinton’s 2nd inauguration and The Atlanta Olympics whilst winning gold and platinum awards.

In the early 2000s he toured with Buddy Guy recording the album Sweet Tea and the Grammy award winning Blues Singer. Then in the mid 2000s he located to Clarksdale to open his recording studio, Delta Recording Service using authentic antique equipment. Amongst the 100s of artists using the studio was Elvis Costello.

In recent years he joined forces with Alvin Youngblood Hart and Luther Dickinson of The North Mississippi Allstars to form The South Memphis String Band and is a regular on the southern states blues circuit especially at Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Club in Clarksdale.

The joining together of these two stars on this major UK and European tour is a marriage made in heaven and we are so lucky to have been offered this gig so please come along to support this unique moment.

Tickets £15 …. already attracting much interest.

For all gigs, please check availability first by mailing or ringing 01948 770215. Cheques with sae to be made out to Hooker Blues Club and sent to Oak Cottage, Wallington Lane, Worthenbury, Wrexham LL13 0AL.

Indiana trio Left Lane Cruiser come to raise hell in Manchester at Night & Day on Tuesday, 14th October:

Like this Canadian duo a lot . . . a little bit different!

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Review: Rachelle Coba – Mother Blues

Posted on: Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014

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Review for RACHELLE COBA – CD – ‘MOTHER BLUES’ – 2014 Mono Records

Rachelle Coba from the USA, is a singer songwriter and guitar player and has produced an exceptional album with ‘Mother Blues’. With powerful soulful blues vocals and superb finger picking guitar style she is certainly one of the class ‘women of blues’ out there today. The album was produced and arranged by Rachelle and all tracks on the album are self penned bar one.

Rachelle takes the forefront on vocals, lead and rhythm guitar. She is also joined by a variety of class musicians on different tracks. On guitar Robert Cardwell and Jerry Hahn, on keys Ray Murry and Ron Taylor, on bass David M Santos and Jacob Webb and on drums Karl T Himmel.

The first track, ‘Never Been To Memphis’ is an up tempo rhythm and blues number with some classic piano input and was a great opener to an enjoyable album. Following, a soul based song, ‘Ain’t Got Time (To Fall In Love)’ which was well sung and played.

‘Worried Blues’ gives us a jazzy blues then slowing the pace down with acoustic based number ‘Between The Tracks’ which has a leaning towards soul. Another great acoustic take on the blues is ‘Chicago’, with excellent guitar work and is one of my favourites on the album.

The ‘Telephone Song’ is a slow full of passion blues with Hammond input and superb vocals. A well put together feel on the next track, ‘Mother Blues’. Written by Sam Taylor Jr it is a traditional 12 bar blues and has a great sound not unlike Bonnie Raitt. Moving on to ‘A Man Like You’, gives us a super smooth blues. Fabulous track with great guitar and jazzy rhythms.

For a total change ‘View From Here’ is a country blues with just Rachelle doing her ‘thang’, love it. ‘Let Your Love Shine’ is a rocky number with funky overtones with the Hammond humming in the background.

We also had a couple of remixed ‘bonus tracks to complete the album of ‘Never Been To Memphis’ (remix) and ‘Between The Tracks’ (remix)

A beautifully put together album. Rachelle has a superb voice and is a class guitarist.

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

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Matt Andersen at Liverpool Marina – 3rd October 2014

On his eagerly awaited return visit to the city, Canada’s finest acoustic blues exponent enraptured a large, enthusiastic audience at Liverpool Marina. The big man’s superb vocals matched his considerable frame and were brilliantly complemented by his exceptional guitarmanship.

He set the scene with the upbeat “Make You Stay”, followed by the shuffling “I Play The Fool For You” and the highly confessional “I Lost My Way”. The love song, “Home Sweet Home”, led into the excellent “Coal Mining Blues”, the title song of his magnificent last but one album. Following the philosophical “My Last Day”, “Better Man Blues” delivered a beautifully finger-picked introduction and solo before the set was brought to a close with the ballad, “Let’s Go To Bed”, and the slow shuffle, “Have You Got The Blues”.

The second set opened in a similarly energetic mood to the first with “Working Man Blues” and the whimsical “One Size Never Fits”, complete with another fabulous solo. James Taylor’s “Steamroller Blues” was given an extra verse delivered in a bizarre but very passable impression of the Cookie Monster in advance of some spirited audience participation on the upbeat “Round And Round” and Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready”. The fast-moving “Tell Me” delivered a further helping of breakneck, guitar-based artistry before the wonderful set was concluded with the reflective ballad, “So Gone Now” and the poignant “Devil’s Bride”.

A standing ovation demanded an encore, which was delivered in a fabulous a capella performance of “Last Letter Home” to complete a sensational programme of superlative quality.


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