Review: Matyas Pribojszki Band – Treat

Posted on: Sunday, Jan 19, 2014

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Matyas Pribojszki Band – Treat

(Self-release: PMCD006/2013)

The mainland of Europe is now blessed with an flourishing blues scene and many top bands – and from Hungary, hail the Matyas Pribojszki Band, led by the virtuoso harmonica of Pribojszki himself, who also possesses a fine voice. He has clearly absorbed influences of the great harmonica men and added a modern, contemporary twist to his playing, and most enjoyable it is! They have played gigs and festivals all over Europe, and get a glowing reference on the sleeve from the great Rick Estrin and Kid Andersen.

The band are all fine musicians, and comprise: Erik Kovacs (keyboards), Ferenc Szasz (guitar), Ervin Eckert (bass) and Daniel Molnar (drums), with special guest, Gabi Szucs on background vocals – they all wonderfully add swing and groove to the front man on this 12-song set on “Treat”, that combines originals and some great, well-picked covers.

The music gets off to a rip-roaring opener, “Zydecola Boogie” – which does a just that – superb harmonica from Pribojszki, and some top guitar from Ferenc Szasz as the band swing along; Erik Kovacs funky piano kicks off the following “Real Good Man”, with some sweet acoustic harmonica and spiky leads from Szasz. The band hit a great Texas shuffle groove on “Food Junkie”, with Pribojszki’s vocal delivered through the harmonica microphone!

They breathe new life into the often-recorded garage rocker “Farmer John”, here delivered at breakneck speed – driven along by the rhythm section of Eckert and Molnar, before taking the pace down on The Crusaders smooth “Soul Shadows”, penned by Will Jennings and Joe Sample – a soulful diversion, on an album full of them – such as The Bee Gees “Three Kisses Of Love”, featuring more lovely piano from Erik Kovacs and more beautiful harmonica work.

Erik Kovacs gets a spotlight on the instrumental swinger penned by himself  “Goobie Boogie”- it’s a smashing piano workout, and again, kudos to the rhythm section behind him. Pribojszki and the band take us down to New Orleans on the title cut, “Treat”,  a Bo Diddley guitar riff over a rumba beat . . . as he woos his lady. The rockin’ “My Little Angel” recalls classic early Fabulous Thunderbirds . . . it fairly tears along with again stellar contributions from all.

A highly recommended release from a most accomplished musician and an extremely good band behind him!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.pribojszki.com

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Tickets – £7 adv / £8 otd

Alexander’s is proud to welcome back this American blues legend who will be entertaining his audience with a night full of Delta blues. He will be accompanied by his ever faithful Leadbessie, a beat-up 1934 National steel guitar that wows and astounds audiences when the equally beat up case she travels in is opened and her extra heavy strings are furiously played.

Kent DuChaine started in music when his father taught him to play the ukulele at the age of six, at thirteen he got his first electric guitar and formed a band with his buddies in his hometown of Wayzata, Minnesota, playing mainly popular music at private parties and school functions. After reading some liner notes of an Eric Clapton album Kent started researching blues music. He discovered a Robert Johnson album and was astounded and fascinated at the banging sound as the bottle neck knocked against the frets as Johnson slid it up and down the neck of his guitar. Kent used a butter knife at first determined to recapture the wonderful sound.

He immersed himself into the blues music of Johnson, Muddy Waters, Lightning Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, Bukka White and never looked back. Kent learned to play the slide guitar and soon developed his own ferocious wild style. In 1970 he opened a show for one his hero’s, the slide guitar genius, Bukka White. From 1972 – 1975 Kent performed in a band with Kim Wilson from the present day Fabulous Thunderbirds. The band backed up blues greats such as Fenton Robinson, Boogie Woogie Red, Luther Tucker, Hubert Sumlin and Eddie Burns. The reputation of the band grew and Willie Dixon arranged a recording contract and a concert sharing the bill with Albert Collins, John Lee Hooker, Howling Wolf and Margie Evens.

In 1991 the Smithsonian Institute honoured the ‘King of the Delta Blues’, Robert Johnson. Kent and Johnny were specially invited to perform and “Roots Of Rhythm And Blues: A Tribute To The Robert Johnson Era” was the result. This was recorded by Sony/Columbia and also Grammy nominated. Kent and Johnny’s wonderful partnership and friendship was cut short when Johnny Shines sadly passed away in in April 1992.

Since going solo in 1982 and hitting the roads, riding the rails, flying the skies and sailing the seas, Kent and Leadbessie have probably by now clocked up over two million miles together including over 80/81 overseas tours (yup, she’s faithful old girl!).

A (small) handful of wives have been picked up and lost along the way and many stories gained of friendships, loves, heartaches and the blues that he communicates to his audiences, most of which, leave folk laughing or scratching their heads in disbelief. He also speaks of the history of the blues music, the great men who developed it, and his incredible involvement with some of them to audiences far and wide.

The Times newspaper has named him as one of the best five concerts in the UK. Kent and Leadbessie have dedicated fans all over the world who are asking all the time for him to add another album to the seven (and one live DVD) that he has already released which include his own ingenious compositions as well as songs he loves and keeps alive that those wonderful, old boys produced.

“Two hours of genuine entertainment…closed proceedings amid something resembling a mass hoe down…I recommend you take advantage when he brings the ‘DELTA’ to your town.” – Blues in Britain Magazine 2008

“One of the best top five concerts nationwide (across all music genres)” – Sunday Times

Tickets available from the bar at Alexander’s Jazz Theatre, online at www.alexanderslive.com, by calling 01244 340005, or on the door.

Doors – 8 pm

Book in for food in advance to guarantee a table – 3 course meal + admission for £22.95

Review: Blues Boy Kings – Second Time Around

Posted on: Saturday, Jan 18, 2014

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Blues Boy Kings – Second Time Around

(self-release)

From Lincolnshire, the Blues Boy Kings  are a blues band of high calibre and are active on the festival circuit. The album ‘Second Time Around’ is their second CD release.

The band consists of Jason North – guitars/vocals, Sam North – bass/vocals, Mark Barrett – drums, Dave Taylor – saxophone, Steve Gooding – keyboard, Dave Hunt – harmonica

All songs are self penned by Jason and Sam North and the album is a self-release.

The first track on the album ‘I’m A Blues Boy’, breaks into a bit of ‘swing’. A great intro’ and what a well put together track with superb guitar and sax with Jason on vocals. The next track ‘Second Time Around’ and the namesake of the album, has Sam on vocals with this Chicago-style blues. Some classic sax playing.

‘Killing Time’ changes the mood with a rootsy acoustic track, with some great slide guitar. Then rockin’ it up with ‘In Your Arms’. I love the sax on this track and the really getting ‘down and dirty’ guitar work too.

The next track takes us away from traditional blues, with Sam on vocals.’Believe In Me’ is a lovely song with haunting sax playing and guitar work and great vocals from Sam. Next another acoustic track with shades of Bonnie Raitt, ‘Cry You A River’ with Sam and Jason on vocals.

Another version of ‘Killing Time’, but this time a rocky electric version with Jason on vocals. Great blues harp playing and guitar work. A well put together track with tight musicianship. A change again with a soul-influenced track ‘Thing About Love’, a real up tempo funky blues number with a great guitar solo.

The last track on this excellent album has a bit of a ZZ Top feel ‘Can’t Get Any Worse’. It is a great up tempo rockin’ number. A good flagship for all the musicians, with superb harp, guitar and thumping drums.

All in all a well put together album. I have seen these guys live and for me that is the way to really appreciate how good the musicianship of this band is, but the album is well worth a listen.

ROSY GREER – Lancashire Blues Archive

www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

www.bluesboykings.wix.com

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YouTube: Freddy Henchi and the Soul Setters

Posted on: Saturday, Jan 18, 2014

Not blues – but a heck of a cover version.

http://youtu.be/VgWZjlLVALU

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Review of the Year: Grahame Rhodes (Part 2)

Posted on: Friday, Jan 17, 2014

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Not really so many blues gigs for me in 2013, but a few well worthy of mention. The splendid Heritage Blues Orchestra played a masterful show of blues, soul, gospel and more in the grand surroundings of The Philharmonic Hall – and a couple of my other gig-going highlights were also ‘over the water’!

In support of their duo album Paul Lamb and Chad Strentz wowed the intimate Rodewald Suite for two hours of blues, soul, rockabilly and more; and then, in December, my favourite British outfit, The Cadillac Kings had a large crowd at Garston RBL on their feet with their customary swinging show, as ever containing fine musicianship and no lack of humour.

Back in my home city of Chester it was great to see Torbay’s finest The Nightporters stop off at Telford’s Warehouse on their reunion tour – they delivered a fantastic high-energy set as ever. Fast-rising Marcus Bonfanti graced the new Live Rooms venue with his trio for a gritty set to promote his latest album; with a special mention for a super support set from local favourites, The Loving Cup.

Away from the blues, a first for me was finally catching up with the magnificent Richard Thompson; and also seeing Steve Earle and band for the first time in years – again both at The Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.

In 2013 we said farewell to many great blues artistes . . . thanks for the music and memories to, amongst others Bobby Parker, Pete Haycock, T-Model Ford, Bob Brozman, ‘Big George’ Watt, Alvin Lee, Roscoe Chenier, Magic Slim, Ann Rabson, Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland . . . and locally the passing of Steve Brown, bass player with Forty4.

GRAHAME RHODES

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John O'Leary at Fogherty's

John O’Leary’s Sugarkane at Fogherty’s Function Room, Liverpool

Saturday, 8th February 2014 (doors open at 8pm: starts at 8.45pm)

John O’Leary boasts a tremendous pedigree in British blues music. In the sixties, he was a founder member, with guitarist Kim Simmonds, of the highly acclaimed Savoy Brown Blues Band. Other bands enhanced by John’s involvement featured many stalwarts of the British blues scene including pianist Bob Hall, guitarist Tony McPhee, saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith and the multi-talented Victor Brox. He also recorded an album with the legendary New Orleans pianist and singer Champion Jack Dupree.

In recent years John has fronted his own band, Sugarkane, supplementing his excellent harp playing and vocals with an array of superb musicians. The brilliant band comprises two superb guitarists, Jules Fothergill and local hero Steve Wright, the highly talented keyboard player Jools Grudgings and a splendid rhythm section that combines the considerable skills of bass guitarist Roger Inniss and drummer Joachim Greve. Together they present a wonderfully authentic programme of Chicago-style blues that always hits the spot. It is guaranteed to be another night to savour.

Fogherty’s Function Room is situated at 1, Blenheim Road (off Smithdown Road), Liverpool, L18 3EH (0151 734 3906). Tickets for the concert (£12 each in advance and £13 on the door) are obtainable from John Welsh on 0151 428 2855 or by email: johnswelsh@hotmail.com

Please visit www.bluesinthenorthwest.com for a fund of information on the region’s excellent blues scene.

(Picture by Lionel Ross)

Review: Alex McKown – Go With The Flow

Posted on: Thursday, Jan 16, 2014

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Alex McKown – Go With The Flow

(Arnside Records)

Alex McKown, although still only 17, is climbing the career ladder. Hailing from Derbyshire, this young man has been nominated in the British Blues Awards for the past three years. He has also been taken under the wing of Texas blues man Hamilton Loomis as his mentor.

Alex’s new CD, ‘Go With The Flow’, is due for release in early February and will be available via his website.

The album was recorded and produced by Andy Banfield on Arnside Records. The band on the album is made up of Alex McKown – guitar/vocals, Lee Buckle – bass, Simon Peat – tenor/alto sax, Martin Schofield – drums/percussion, Joel White – Hammond/Rhodes, with guest Hamilton Loomis – guitar (‘Release Me’).

The first track on the album ‘Out Of My Life’ is a funky number with some great sax and Hammond input. Alex shows his expertise on the guitar, so all in all a good opening track. The next track ‘Ruin What We’re Doin’ also has the ‘funky’ feel with great use of the funky rhythms.

The next track ‘Release Me’, with guest Hamilton Loomis on guitar, is an up tempo rockin’ number, with nice use of keys and class guitar solos. The fourth track, ‘Go With The Flow’ has a bit of a Lou Reed sound. Some lovely guitar work from Alex and some super sultry sax.

‘Life On The Line’, moves back into the funk and Alex’s guitar solo is seamless. The next track ‘Paint That Picture’ brings an acoustic influence into the track with over laid electric input, which works well.

More funky stuff with ‘Gone So Long’, certainly in the ‘groove’. Great brass input, with that super sax again and nice funky guitar work. Into a classic rock number ‘Morning Light’, with accomplished guitar playing from Alex with great use of his wah-wah pedal.

‘Finding Me’ gives a rocky, bluesy acoustic track, with just Alex playing and singing, very different to the final track on the album, which is probably my favourite, ‘Superfly’. Although no vocals on this one, it gives an opportunity for all the musicians to do their ‘thang’ and they do it in style!

A well put together album, with class musicianship. Alex’s voice has yet to mature to give full impact to his work, but this young man can certainly handle a guitar, so I wish him well for the future.

ROSY GREER – Lancashire Blues Archive

www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

www.alexmckown.com

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Forthcoming blues at The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal:

The Cadillac Kings

Fri 21 Feb. 7.30p. £12 (£14 OTD)

One of the UK’s best blues and roots bands famous for their modern interpretation of the sound and styles of the 40s and 50s.

Danny Bryant

Fri 7 Mar 7.30pm. £13 (£15 OTD)

Acclaimed blues guitarist who has shared the stage with greats such as Joe Cocker, Jeff Beck, Patti Smith and Buddy Guy and he is now carving out a name foir himself as a future star of the genre.

Paul & the Boys

Paul Lamb & The King Snakes

Sat 15 Mar. 7.30pm. £13 (£15)

Torchbearers for the British blues scene renowned for their powerful performances and electrifying stage presence.

Andy McKee

Sat 22 Mar. 7.30pm. £18.50 (£21 OTD)

Undoubtedly one of the world’s true masters of the guitar whose approach to the instrument is legendary.

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The Larry Miller Band

Sat 26 Apr. 7.30pm. £12 (£14 OTD)

One of the must-see blues/rock acts. He is famous for his mesmerising guitar playing and rip-roaring shows in the UK and around Europe, bringing his unique showmanship and energy to every performance.

Chantel McGregor is also coming but the gig is not on sale yet.

www.breweryarts.co.uk

Gigs: Blues events at The Atkinson, Southport

Posted on: Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014

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The Atkinson in Southport has a healthy number of blues gigs upcoming.

Check here for full information: http://www.theatkinson.co.uk/events/

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Saturday, 8th February @ 8 pm – tickets £12

The great duo of British harmonica maestro Paul Lamb and Chad Strentz, guitar and vocals, return to The Rodewald Suite at The Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, on Saturday, 8th February – following a quite exceptional gig last year.

Full information here: http://www.liverpoolphil.com/13285/events-contemporary-music/paul-lamb-chad-strentz.html

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Early notification in from Pete Evans of the line-up for this year’s Bangor-on-Dee Blues and Real Ale Festival – a fine looking bill:

Confirmed are The Ian Parker Band, David Migden and The Twisted Roots, Wooden Horse, The Blues Duo, Lyndon Anderson Band, Rosco Levee and The Southern Slide, Swampcandy, Sean Webster Band and Steve Pablo Jones (tbc).

Full details to follow.

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Review: Craig Hughes – Losers And Bastards

Posted on: Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014

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Craig Hughes – Losers And Bastards

(Channel Nowhere)

Uncompromising Glaswegian bluesman Craig Hughes is back with another raw collection and boy, he is p*ssed off again, big style. His raw, stomping  blues are probably amongst the toughest around, and well worthy of your attention.

Coming from the same ‘turf’ as fellow Scotsman Dave Arcari, Craig’s music is in a similar mode and, as mentioned, as raw and honest as it comes . . . from his ‘bear’ of a voice to his slide and fingerpicked guitar – he also plays bass. The ten tracks on “Losers And Bastards” are all self-penned. Like the previous, and again possessing a quite superb title, “P*ssed Off, Bitter And Willing To Share” – he is firmly taking no prisoners!

The songs deal with the despair of everyday life, and you get the impression that Craig does what he does and if you like it fine, and if not . . . well I like it. The music ranges from uptempo Delta blues-styled stompers and gentler tunes such as “Future After All” . . . he ‘rocks out’ on the wry “Beans And Bread” . . . maybe sounding like ZZ Top if they came from Govan . . . excellent!

The electric “Everyone’s Got To Cheat And Lie Sometime” is a standout, as is the closing and lengthy “Wood And Wire”, with Hughes grungy electric guitar and the drums of Tommy Duffin, who also contributes guitar on one track – telling how a man can always rely on his guitar. Recommended for those who like their blues served raw!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.craighughes.net

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Jim Crawford - Saturday, 25th January, 8:30pm

News is in from Peter and Roger at Village Hall Music about their first gig of 2014.

We are delighted to welcome Jim Crawford back to the village hall after an absence of what must be about 5 years.

Jim has toured much of Europe and the USA captivating audiences with his intimate country blues style. Although softly spoken, his barrelhouse blues vocals complement perfectly his finger picking and slide guitar work.

His repertoire includes many blues standards as well as his own Americana influenced compositions. Years ago my youngest daughter heard Jim sing ‘When the Rains Came’, and  years later it’s still one of her favourite songs – if you’ve heard it you’ll know why!

It’s a really good way to start our 2014 season and we would be delighted to see you there.

Only 60 tickets available. (£10 from Village Hall or Roger 07946 378599).

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Excellent looking night at The Unity Theatre in Liverpool on Thursday, 30th January, featuring The Dave O’Grady Trio, Ben Hughes and The Roscoes.

Tickets from: www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk

http://youtu.be/cD3VKjo9Tvo

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Jamie Williams & The Roots Collective – Dug Deep, Found Steel

(Ashwill Records)

Here you will hear elements of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Petty and Ry Cooder, with perhaps only that last name really belonging in these (web) pages – but Jamie and his associates often play at blues events, and despite the strong sounds of Americana that this band evokes, these events tend to take place in the band’s native south-east of the UK.

Maybe though, that Essex connection helps to explain why the band in several places also has a gritty sound that made me think of the sound of The Kinks of the mid-sixties (or imagine The Feelgoods with acoustic guitars), and there are a couple of numbers that would definitely pass as blues in most contexts – take a listen to ‘Stone Drunk’ and ‘I Want To Be Happy’.

I’ll also just mention Nick Garner’s fine blues harp blowing on the majority of the tracks before I close by advising you to check this out is you do indeed have a fondness for Americana.

NORMAN DARWEN

www.jwroots.co.uk

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YouTube: Flávio Guimarães and Prado Blues Band

Posted on: Sunday, Jan 12, 2014

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