Give me a good excuse to post this again . . . the superb Northsyde appear at Barrow R&B Club this coming Friday, 8th May.!/home

Review: King King – Reaching For The Light

Posted on: Sunday, May 3, 2015


King King – Reaching For The Light

(Manhaton Records: HATMAN 2038)

Did you hear the one about the Scotsman, two Englishmen and a Dutchman conquering all before them with an explosive new album and sell-out tours galore? If not it’s time to acquaint yourself with King King and “Reaching For The Light” – where the ‘difficult third album syndrome’ is firmly knocked out of the ball park!

Led by the wonderful soulful vocals and great guitar of Alan Nimmo, the rest of the band comprise of Lindsay Coulson (bass), Wayne Proctor (drums & percussion and Bob Fridzema (Hammond organ & keyboards) – together the quartet are conquering all before them in 2015 and “Reaching For The Light” is evidence of this. Just the nine tracks, but quality all the way, and all self-penned by the band, with a co-write for Tommi Regan and a solitary cover.

The band have moved into that ‘hard to tag’ category – not really a true blues band anymore, but with a blues edge – and not a rock band either, but with some ‘classic’ rock edges – if you know what I am getting at! The finely crafted personal tunes are genuinely radio-friendly – ranging from soulful ballads and strutting funky numbers that never overstay their welcome or are bogged down by excessive solos.

Messrs Nimmo, Coulson, Proctor and Fridzema blast into the opening “Hurricane” with vigour – at a short and snappy 3:17 it is a perfect opener to set the scene for what comes after; firstly the driving, rhythmic and melodic “You Stopped The Rain”, which is followed by the superb “Waking Up” –  opening with pounding bass and drums from the ace rhythm section, before Alan Nimmo’s soulful vocal and guitar kick in, underpinned by the delicate keyboard work of Bob Fridzema.

The band rock pretty hard on “Crazy”, where the keyboards and guitar combine for an almost vintage melodic Deep Purple sound, and with a tremendous vocal hook on the chorus. The pretty gospel/soul number “Lay With Me” is another standout, with some gorgeous harmonies and yet again, Alan Nimmo showing as well as a pretty dynamite guitarist is also one of the best singers on the scene without doubt.

The sole cover is a funky rendition of the Paul Carrack/Charlie Dore number, “Just A Little Lie”; this is followed by the longest number on the album – “Take A Look” – which weighs in at 6:18, and is for want of a better word, a very classy ‘power ballad’ – and as previously mentioned definitely crying out for radio play, like most of songs.

This five-star release (if we gave them!) ends with the absolutely superb “Stranger To Love” – which was debuted on the last UK tour. A strutting, bluesy number that recalls the heydays of the beloved Free, with dynamite groove from the rhythm section, more classy keyboards and the icing on the cake – Alan Nimmo singing and playing his heart out, and a quite sublime guitar solo!

Needless, to say, an essential album for all fans of finely-crafted songs and just damn good playing!


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Thanks to Barry Barnes for the cool poster for the upcoming 20th Annual Rory Gallagher Tribute Concert.

Saturday, 17th October at The Ruby Lounge, High Street, Manchester – 4-11 pm.

Tickets: £15

Review: Joel Fisk & The Breakdown – The Well

Posted on: Saturday, May 2, 2015

joel fisk CD.jpg

Review for JOEL FISK & THE BREAKDOWN – CD – ‘The Well’ – 2015 JFB001

‘Joel Fisk & The Breakdown’ take on classic blues on this exceptional album, ‘The Well’.

Joel Fisk comes into his own on class vocals, guitars and Hammond. His guitar playing has it all and he has perfected an amazing slide style on acoustic and electric guitars. Completing the band are Geoff Johnson on guitar and backing vocals, Rob ‘Tank’ Barry on bass and Stephen ‘Cupsey’ Cutmore on drums and percussion with guests Jon Amor and Ian Siegal on guitars and vocals

The first track, a 12 bar blues, ‘Stop Breaking Down’, has excellent guitar and slide guitar. Jon Amor was a guest on this track on guitar. Upping the tempo with ‘Bad Boy’ gives us hard working drums from Stephen and rockin’ slide. Continuing with the 12 bar, ‘Stranger Blues’ and the classic Robert Johnson’s ‘Travelling Riverside Blues’ gives us some great guitar input.

‘Howlin’ For My Darling’ raises the tempo on this Willie Dixon number, rockin’ it up with some super slide. Bringing in some country blues with ‘Crow Jane’ shares a mix of guitar textures. Then onto the traditional ‘John The Revelator’ with basic rhythms and great slide guitar.

Probably my favourite track on the album, was a Charlie Patton number ‘Oh Death’, with resonator slide guitar and interesting use of wah wah on electric slide. The band were joined by Ian Siegal for the penultimate track, ‘Grinnin’ In Your Face’ , which is a work song with a gospel feel. The final number on this interesting album, ‘Last Fair Deal Gone Down’, is a hillbilly country blues, a lively take with guests Jon Amor and Ian Siegal adding to the flavour.

Joel Fisk has produced a CD with true blues input with ‘The Well’. The whole album is not over mastered, so leaving some of the rawness which is appropriate to the blues. An enjoyable listen.

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

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Gig: Mud Morganfield – Bury Met: Friday, 8th May

Posted on: Saturday, May 2, 2015

Mud Morganfield – oldest son of Muddy Waters – appears at Bury Met, with his crack band, next Friday, 8th May


King King hit the road again in the UK during October and November, here are the dates:

BURTON UPON TRENT, BREWHOUSE     Wednesday October 21

BURY ST. EDMUNDS, THE APEX                 Thursday October 22

HARPENDEN, PUBLIC HALLS                       Friday October 23

TAVISTOCK, THE WHARF                              Saturday October 24

COVENTRY, THE COPPER ROOMS             Sunday October 25

CARLISLE, THE OLD FIRE STATION             Tuesday October 27

HOLMFIRTH PICTUREDROME                     Thursday October 29

CLITHEROE, THE GRAND                               Friday October 30

GLENROTHES, ROTHES HALL                       Saturday October 31

YORK, FIBBERS                                                  Sunday November 1

CHESTERFIELD, REAL TIME LIVE                  Tuesday November 3

HULL, FRUIT                                                       Wednesday November 4

FROME, CHEESE AND GRAIN                      Friday November 6

SHOREHAM, ROPETACKLE ARTS                Saturday November 7

BROMSGROVE, ARTRIX                                 Thursday November 12

SALE, WATERSIDE ARTS CENTRE                Friday November 13

MORECAMBE, THE PLATFORM                     Saturday November 14

SHREWSBURY, THEATRE SEVEN                Sunday November 15

A good sprinkling of dates in our area and also a few just outside!

(Picture courtesy of Geoff Oldfield)

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News: The Cash Box Kings new release

Posted on: Friday, May 1, 2015

Cash Box Kings


Blind Pig Records released Holding Court, the latest album from award-winning fan favorites The Cash Box Kings, on April 28th.

On this release the band continues their mission of carrying on the spirit of the 1940’s and 50’s post-war Chicago blues sound as well as the Delta blues music of the 20’s and 30’s. But these illustrious torchbear­ers also add a bravado, energy and freshness to the mix that results in a distinctive musical expe­rience.The Cash Box Kings are fronted by Joe Nosek, who writes and arranges songs, sings, and channels the spirits of Little Walter and Slim Harpo on harmonica, and singer and songwriter Oscar Wilson, a 6’3”, 300 hundred pound Muddy Waters-type throwback to the heyday of the Chicago blues scene.

No less a blues authority than Charlie Musselwhite said, “The Cash Box Kings play with taste and feel and it was faith restoring to know there are guys out there that still know and appreciate real blues.”  And Living Blues said they are simply “one of the best blues bands in the land.”

On Holding Court The Cash Box Kings pay homage to some of the founding fathers and lesser-known artists of the Chicago blues scene, and they also throw some New Orleans, jump blues, ragtime, and swamp pop sounds into the mix. While the subject matter of many of the songs is familiar, they also touch on current issues such as the challenges of selling records and staying financially afloat in the era of digital piracy and streaming services, and the real struggle faced by many who are forced out of their neighborhoods due to the gentrification taking place in inner-city areas of Chicago and other urban centers in the U.S.

The Cash Box Kings will be featured performers at this year’s Chicago Blues Festival on June 13th.

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Review for THE STUMBLE @ Stumble Sunday, The Tonic Live Lounge, The Bears Paw, Preston – 26/04/15

The Stumble are a powerful six piece Chicago style rhythm and blues band, based in Preston and the North West. They are Paul Melville on amazing charismatic vocals, Colin Black on excellent and technically brilliant guitar, slide and harmonica, Ant Scapens on superb guitar, Simon Anthony Dixon on the most sexy sax I’ve heard, Cameron Sweetman on rhythmic bass and Boyd Tonner on power drums and vocals.

Stumble Sunday is to become a regular event, giving the folk of Preston a chance to have an ‘up close’ and entertaining afternoon with their best kept secret, ‘The Stumble’ in this intimate venue in the heart of Preston.

They opened the afternoon with classic Stumble standards, this lead on to some excellent new material which will appear on their forthcoming album. The quality of the musicianship of the band is evident, with some incredible guitar work from Colin Black and superb sax playing from Simon Anthony Dixon. Paul Melville is an amazing front man, not only providing powerful vocals but also keeping the audience engaged.

Drummer Boyd Tonner, I discovered, writes material for the band, as well as providing the superb rhythm section duo with Cameron Sweetman on bass. Relative newcomer Ant Scapens also showed his worth on guitar. Throughout the afternoon guests were invited to take to the stage providing harmonica, bass and slide guitar input.

The pièce de résistance for me, was BB King’s ‘I’ve Got A Mind To Give Up The Living’, brilliantly performed with an astounding guitar solo and sax playing to die for. The whole afternoon was a resounding success, giving the band a great platform to play their wonderful music. They will hold a regular ‘Stumble Sunday’ event every three months or so, in Preston, so bringing the power of ‘The Stumble’ back to their roots!

The excellent venue, The Tonic Live Lounge at the Bears Paw in Preston, will also play host to the second Preston Blues Festival, that takes place on Saturday 30th May 2015.

ROSY GREER – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

RIP: ‘Big Al’ Groom

Posted on: Wednesday, Apr 29, 2015

Some sad news just in from Pete Evans:

Just heard that ‘Big Al’ Groom  – known to blues fans at all the gigs and festivals in North East Wales in Wrexham, Worthenbury, Bangor-on-Dee and Overton-on-Dee – passed away last night.

He was going to celebrate his 50th birthday at Overton-on-Dee Festival next Saturday. He’ll be sadly missed by all who knew him and a kinder man it would be hard to find.

Sincere condolences from Blues In The North West to all Al’s family and friends.

Graham and Steve have a healthy number of upcoming gigs at their True Blues Club:

Friday, 8th May: Rhythm Zoo

Friday, 17th July: The Laurence Jones Band + The Black Circles

Friday, 2nd October: Danny Bryant

Friday, 6th November: Cry Baby & The Hoochie Coochie Boys


Ben Rice and Lucy Hammond – Destination Clarksdale

(Giddy Minion)

Young singer and guitarist Ben Rice has been a finalist at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in both 2014 and 2015, the last with vocalist and producer Lucy Hammond, who started working on her local blues scene in the 80s before taking a break to raise a family and returning to the music in 2008; both artists are based around Portland, Oregon, in America’s North West.

There is a fine, sparse sound to this five song set of original compositions ranging from the fine Mississippi country blues sound of ‘Ida Mae’ to the band accompanied, partially work-song inspired modern blues, ‘Muddy Water’ – though this could be termed a medley, I guess!

Throughout the set the two singers swap vocals with and around each other, underpinned by Ben’s excellent guitar playing. We’ll be hearing more of this duo, I am sure…


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Barry Middleton – a tribute

Posted on: Tuesday, Apr 28, 2015

Here’s a really nice tribute to one of British blues best known characters, who sadly passed away at the weekend.

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Review for THE SECTION @ BJ’s ‘Rock in the Blues’ Club, The Minstrel, Eaves Green Rd, Chorley – 23.04.15

After an absence of two years, it was a welcomed return of the ‘The Section’ to BJ’s ‘Rock in the Blues’ Club at the Minstrel in Chorley.

Fronting the band on superb vocals and bass guitar was Mick ‘The Guvnor’ Taylor with Steve Pollard on lead and slide guitar, Pete Stonall on harmonica and guitar, Geoff Wilkinson on keyboards and guitar, and Truvel Thomas on drums.

Opening the evening with a bit of rockin’ Stevie Ray Vaughan and Humble Pie, they also did a great take of J J Cale’s ‘Call Me The Breeze’, with some excellent slide guitar. Playing a mix of classics including Little Walter’s ‘Boom, Boom’ and the Animals ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ they slowed the pace with ‘Stormy Monday’ , finishing the first set with Rufus Thomas’s ‘Walking The Dog’ and some rockin’ Quo.

Blasting into the second set with Z Z Top’s ‘La Grange’ they continued to keep the pace with some Nine Below Zero, Canned Heat and Dr Feelgood, with a dash of John Mayall for good measure. They did an excellent take of Robert Johnson’s ‘Walking Blues’ – again with some super slide. The final number and well deserved encore was ‘Bonie Maronie’.

There was some great guitar and harmonica playing and ‘The Section’, as a whole, gel really well together as they are all well seasoned musicians in their own right. We will hope to see them back at BJ’s next year.

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

Tour: Doug MacLeod – upcoming dates

Posted on: Sunday, Apr 26, 2015


Based in Southern California, Doug is an incredible Americana, blues and folk singer-songwriter; his music touches the heart and soul.

An abused child, Doug’s early life was tough and he suffered from a crippling stutter. It was only when he found the blues – or the blues found him – that he was able to overcome his childhood adversity.

Doug learned his craft from the masters, his mentors and friends – he lived the music, survived the life, and carries forth this valuable tradition. Doug is the winner of dozens of awards including two Blues Music Awards in 2014 and two Blues Blast Music Awards in 2013 and he’s spent a long career on the road working with some of the greats of the blues music scene; his songs have been covered by numerous artists including Albert Collins, Albert King and Eva Cassidy.

Doug MacLeod is known for his superb songwriting, guitar wizardry, warm soulful vocals, his wit and charm; all of which contribute to his unforgettable live performances.

Doug’s new album (on  Reference Recordings)  ‘Exactly Like This’ was released last month. Here are just some of the reviews:

One of the very best acoustic blues exponents in the world… strongly recommended – Blues In The North West

… a superb album, from a genuine blues troubadour.  A truly authentic voice – Chophouse,

… an eleven track masterpiece…  A marvelous album from a marvelous musician – Ian Patience – Music News Nashville

‘Exactly Like This’ is the IBBA (Independent Blues Broadcasters Association (UK) Pick Of The Month for April!

Only really two dates within our area:

Friday, 22nd May: Big Wheel Blues Festival, Isle of Man

Sunday, 24th May: Bluefunk, Poynton Legion, near Manchester

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Review: Peter Novelli – St. Amant Sessions

Posted on: Saturday, Apr 25, 2015


Peter Novelli – St. Amant Sessions

(Chalet Music CD-1501)

A new name to me, but this is singer and guitarist Peter’s third CD. I’m going to have to hunt down the others. Peter is based in New Orleans and there is a strong bayou feel to this album – he even has Cajun accordionist Sammy Naquin on a couple of items and zydeco accordion star Chubby Carrier on a further two, and the comparisons that have been made with slide guitar ace Sonny Landreth are not far wide of the mark.

As if to underline this, Sonny himself guests on the opener, ‘Louisiana Sunrise’. The French influence crops up naturally enough on ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’, and Peter can remind the listener of the great, sadly under-rated Bobby Charles (Robert Guidry) on a number like the mellow(-ish) ‘Bourbon Street Blue’, which follows on from the raw, churning swamp boogie-blues of ‘Spirit Passing By’.

The instrumentals ‘Boudin’, the 60s inflected ‘Shreveport Stomp’ and the joyously rocking ‘I-10 Boogie’ (a crash course in Louisiana sounds) all showcase Peter’s guitar mastery. This CD was a lovely surprise and one I will return to again and again. As Clifton Chenier said, “Laissez les bon temps rouler!”


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YouTube: The Sideshow Tragedy

Posted on: Saturday, Apr 25, 2015

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