Review: The Voodoo Sheiks – Borrowed & New

Posted on: Sunday, Jun 15, 2014

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The Voodoo Sheiks – Borrowed & New


There is plenty of up tempo R& B on this album, with a penchant for Dr Feelgood, ZZ Top and John Lee Hooker.

The band are Slowburner Dave on guitar, harp and vocals, Adrian Thomas on guitar, Andy Pullin on bass and John Coombes on drums. The first five tracks on the album, were self penned by the band.

The first track, ‘Sprint’ is an up tempo number with some good harp playing from Dave. Following this is a Feelgood – esque track, ‘Lone Star Groove’ , great R&B. The octane is raised in the next up tempo number , ‘Lucky So So’ with some class drumming from John. A change with ‘Bitter (and then some)’ as this leans towards swing.

‘I Wouldn’t Treat A Dog That Way’ is another ‘high octane’ harp driven track leaning towards Dr Feelgood or ZZ Top. ‘Boogie Man’ and ‘Don’t Lie To Me’ fall in the rockin’ blues genre and were played with gusto, super guitar on these. A great take on the classic John Lee Hooker number, ‘Boom, Boom’ and they also did justice to the Wilko Johnson classic number, ‘She Does It Right’.

‘Hog For You Baby’ is a good down to earth R& B track, then we move to the two final tracks ‘Looking Back’ and ‘I Can Tell’ both have that Feelgood edge to them, excellent.

A great well played and lively take and if you like the high energy pub rock side of the blues, you’ll like what you hear on this album. All good stuff!!

ROSY GREER – Lancashire Blues Archive

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Video: Damon Fowler – Trouble

Posted on: Saturday, Jun 14, 2014

Stripped-down Performance At Relix’s NYC Office

Last winter when Damon Fowler and his band stopped by the New York City office of roots music magazine Relix for an interview, they also regaled the publication’s staff with a stripped-down performance of  “Trouble,” a track from their lastest Blind Pig release entitled “Sounds of Home”.

Damon co-wrote the original composition with album producer Tab Benoit and Ed Wright. Relix just released the video, posting in on their website and featuring it in their weekly newsletter.  Accompanied by Chuck Riley on bass and James “Country” McKnight on percussion, Damon movingly demonstrates the musical qualities the magazine praised in its album review: “Sounds of Home, he showcases his tasty lead work and subtle, soulful singing.”

To watch the video, please click HERE

For more info on the CD, please click HERE.

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Remembering Rory . . . 2nd March, 1948-14th June, 1995

Posted on: Saturday, Jun 14, 2014

Today marks the 19th anniversary of the passing of the legendary Rory Gallagher . . . my favourite musician ever. So many excellent clips out there, but here’s a couple of personal favourites of the great man . . . RIP Rory! (Grahame)

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Review: Lucky Peterson – I’m Back Again

Posted on: Friday, Jun 13, 2014


Lucky Peterson – I’m Back Again

(Music Avenue/ Blues Boulevard: 250357)

The “Live At The 55 Arts Club In Berlin” release (3 DVDs and 2 CDs) has had a lot of acclaim – not least on this website back in November 2012. Of the 22 tracks, eleven were sung by Lucky’s wife Tamara – this CD brings together Lucky’s numbers from the evening with his rich blues voice backed by his own organ or guitar playing and a fine band consisting of second guitarist Shawn Kellerman, bass player Timothy Lee Waites and drummer Raul Valdes.

Numbers like Muddy Waters/Willie Dixon’s ‘I’m Ready’, Howling Wolf’s ‘Who’s Been Talking’ and ‘Dust My Broom’ are all wonderful performances, as are the nearly 13 minutes long instrumental ‘Blues Medley’, the soul tinged ‘It Ain’t Safe’ and especially the nearly solo rendition of Jimmy Rogers’ ‘The World Is In A Tangle’.

Several of the earlier numbers outstay their welcome – whilst some of the instrumental breaks may have made for good viewing in the confines of a club and with the benefit of a drink or two, they are less attractive in the confines of a living room and without the visuals.

Lucky does live up to his name though by having enough talent to just about compensate for these earlier inadequacies by the end of the set.


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The blues has a history of great collaborations. Now it’s time to add Andy T and James “Nick” Nixon to that venerable list thanks to the red clay covered roots of Nick’s dynamic voice and Andy’s bold, vibrant tones and equally rooted guitar style. Nick is one of those amazing artists that rarely surface today. This velvet voiced singer was born and raised in Nashville and was part of the thriving Jefferson Street blues scene of the ’60s.

Nick was a Chess Records recording artist in the ’70s and is a key figure in today’s reviving Nashville blues scene. “Andy T” Talamantez was born and raised in Southern California, and relocated to Nashville in 2008. His guitar style is influenced by T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, Magic Sam and Albert Collins among others, yet it remains his own. After meeting James “Nick” Nixon, and watching him perform, Andy knew they they would make an unstoppable combination. And they proved that with 2013’s Drink Drank Drunk.

The album, produced by Texas blues legend Anson Funderburgh, has been embraced by hundreds of radio stations, reaching number two on Sirius/XM radio’s million-subscriber “B.B. King’s Bluesville” and climbing the Living Blues chart. Critics have praised their tasteful and authentic approach in the Nashville Tennessean, Elmore, Living Blues, Blues Bytes and a host of other mainstream and specialty publications.

And – most important – the fans have fallen in love with their dynamic, rooted live performances, making Andy, Nick and their backing quintet of veteran musicians an in-demand act at festivals and clubs across the world. These include Arkansas’ historic King Biscuit Festival and the Moulin Blues Festival in Oslo, Norway, and such prestigious venues as Phoenix’s Rhythm Room, B.B. King’s on Memphis’ Beale Street, Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco and Knuckleheads in Kansas City, Missouri.

After storming the international blues scene in the year since their debut album on Delta Groove, the Andy T – Nick Nixon Band wasted no time in knockin’ out another spirited and rousing effort with their sophomore release Livin’ It Up, which once again falls under the guidance and direction of iconic Texas blues guitarist/producer Anson Funderburgh. Blending together the regional influences of Memphis soul, Texas blues and New Orleans R&B, Andy, Nick and the band dish out ten new original compositions, along with three choice covers selected from the songbooks of T-Bone Walker, Alvin Robinson and Delbert McClinton.

Rounding out this offering are a pair of accomplished Dallas-based musicians making a return appearance from the previous album including Austrian born multi-instrumentalist Christian Dozzler on piano and harmonica and saxophonist Ron Jones.

Andy T – Nick Nixon Band – Livin’ It Up

Click Here To Listen And Pre-Order

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The Voodoo Hogs travelled from the Greater Manchester/Cheshire region of the North West on their debut, to entertain a packed crowd  in Chorley.

Graham Hetherington, front man and veteran lead vocalist, started the first set in a no-nonsense fashion with his trade mark gruff, guttural voice presenting classic blues covers – opening the first set with ‘Killing Floor’, ‘White Room’ and ‘Sharp Dressed Man’. That set the benchmark – concluding with ‘Let’s Work Together’.

On lead guitar was Gary Diack – a performance which was strong and steady from the first chord. The rhythm section was, on bass guitar Phil Marsland, and on the drums an energetic Gary Burgess.

The band made steady progress in the second set with ‘Purple Haze’ and ‘Foxy Lady’ and my favourite of the night ‘Like a Hurricane’, and finished with a few rock ‘n’ roll numbers to rousing applause. Since forming 18 months ago and performing on the North West circuit the word will spread further afield – who let the Hog out?


National & international music reviewer

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Advance warning for the Blackburn Rhythm & Rock Festival to be held on Sunday, 5th October at King Georges Hall.

A fuller preview to come.


The Hamilton Loomis Band at Haig House, Liverpool – 6th June, 2014

The return of Hamilton Loomis and his band to Liverpool was guaranteed to attract a substantial audience to the elegant function room of Haig House, the home of Garston Royal British Legion, where he has become a firm favourite. The singer/guitarist from Galveston, Texas was admirably backed by the latest incarnation of his excellent band: Fabian Hernandez on sax and keyboards, Dante Ware on bass guitar and Armando Aussenac on drums.

The first set drew heavily on the band’s most recent album, Give It Back, opening with a funky instrumental, followed by the medium-paced “Eternally”, complete with some fine vocal harmony. Funk mode was soon restored with “Whatever You Want” before the heavier beating ”Partner In Crime” made way for a splendid version of Mycle Wasman’s slow burning “Smoking Gun”, which featured a superb solo on suitably smoking sax.

The guitarmeister introduced his highly skilled harmonica playing to the proceedings to start the bouncy shuffle “She’s Had Enough” and Dante Ware demonstrated his considerable ability with a terrific bass solo on “Stuck In A Rut”. The fine ballad, “A Woman Like You”, was graced by a beautifully lyrical guitar solo and the slow and funky “Give It Back” by another helping of magic from Fabian Hernandez before the set was concluded with the somewhat heavier “High”.

The second session was set in motion with a funky, upbeat instrumental and the lively “Bad Intentions” as a prelude to the introduction of some old favourites into the mix. “No, No, No” and “Workin’ Real Hard” inspired an enthusiastic occupation of the dance floor, while “Slow Lover”, with some great harp work and a dazzling guitar solo, incorporating echoes of John Lee Hooker and Led Zeppelin and a customary bout of table hopping, brought the house down.

A lively rocker, with all four band members in spectacular form, brought the set to a close and a double encore, comprising a brilliant version of Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke” and a marvellous, extended rendition of the enduringly popular “Bow Wow”, rounded off a wonderful evening’s entertainment.


Free download from Simon McBride

Posted on: Tuesday, Jun 10, 2014

Here’s the link to a version of Henrix’s as Little Wing, played at the Garage in Highbury London in April 2013.

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Connie Lush & Blues Shouter appear at Studio 2, Parr Street, Liverpool on Friday, 13th June.

Doors 7.30 pm – tickets £10 advance; £12.50 on the door

Malaco Records – The Last Soul Company

Posted on: Monday, Jun 9, 2014

This morning I’ve been reading a little about Malaco Records and Wardell Quezergue.–2M

Here’s what AMG says about the 1999  30 year retrospective CD boxset.

When Malaco Records started out in the late 1960s, the label that small Southern R&B companies looked up to was Stax. The Jackson, MS-based Malaco, like the Memphis-based Stax, focused mainly on deep-fried Southern soul in the beginning — only in 1968 and 1969, Malaco was a struggling young operation that was fighting to stay afloat. But ironically, Malaco would still be in business long after Stax’s 1975 demise, and it would continue to favor classic soul long after most labels had moved away from it.

When other black-oriented independents were putting out urban contemporary, rap and house music in the 1980s and 1990s, Malaco was the place you went to hear soulsters like Johnnie Taylor, Denise LaSalle and Latimore and soul-minded bluesmen like Little Milton and Bobby “Blue” Bland. In 1999, Malaco celebrated its 30 years in business with The Last Soul Company, a six-CD box set that spans 1968-1998 and ranges from the decent to the superb. It’s miraculous that the company survived long enough to have a 30th anniversary — small R&B labels have come and gone over the years, and Malaco itself almost went under at various times.

This collection contains all of the hits that defined Malaco, including King Floyd’s “Groove Me” in 1970, Jean Knight’s “Mr. Big Stuff” in 1971, Dorothy Moore’s “Misty Blue” in 1976 and Z.Z. Hill’s “Down Home Blues” in 1982. Over the years, Malaco Records and the Malaco studio dabbled in disco (one of this collection’s most famous tunes is Anita Ward’s 1979 disco smash “Ring My Bell”), funk and urban contemporary, but essentially, Malaco has remained a soul label with an interest in blues and gospel.

Half the fun of hearing a collection like this one is discovering some obscure gems — on The Last Soul Company, such gems include Jewell Bass’ seductive “Let Your Love Rain Down on Me,” Power’s remake of the Rascals’ “Groovin’,” and male singer Ona Watson’s soul makeover of Johnny Paycheck’s “Take This Job and Shove It.” Obviously, a six-CD set is too much for the casual listener, but for the seasoned R&B fanatic, The Last Soul Company is a fascinating listen.

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Review: Marcus Malone – Stand Or Fall

Posted on: Sunday, Jun 8, 2014


Marcus Malone – Stand Or Fall

(Redline Music: MCPS-RLB1813)

The album comprises ten expertly-written, original compositions. Marcus Malone, on lead vocals, is backed by an impressive array of musicians: Stuart Dixon, Sean Nolan and Julian Burdock on guitars, Winston Blissett on bass, Christopher Nugent on drums, Roger Cotton and Moz Gamble on keyboards and Will Wilde and Alan Glen on harmonica. In addition, backing vocals are provided by Chantelle Duncan-Heath, Dani Wilde and Eno Williams-Uffort.

The upbeat rocker, “Living The Blues” starts the ball rolling with a driving slide guitar accompaniment and a vibrant harmonica solo from Will Wilde, followed by the slower and more deliberate title song of the album with gospel-style backing vocals. The heavier, medium-paced “Ain’t No Tellin’” leads into the bluesy ballad, “It’s Gonna Take Time”, while “Detroit City Blues” is another steady-beating rocker and “Slow Down” is a bouncy shuffle, which is enhanced by another helping of fine harp playing from Will Wilde.

After “Jealous Kind”, an excellent slow blues, the tempo is raised by the upbeat rocker, “One Woman Man” and “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You”, a superb fast-moving head-nodder. “Under Pressure” is a spikey-rhythmed number boasting a terrific guitar solo.

For a reason beyond my comprehension, the album is concluded with repeats of two of the previous tracks – “Living The Blues” and an extended version of “It’s Gonna Take Time”, neither of which is sufficiently different from its first appearance to warrant a second airing. Despite that slight reservation, this is a high quality concoction, which is no less than we expect from the hugely talented Marcus Malone whose tremendous vocals are supplemented by excellent musicianship.


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Taking place at The Club Tonic, Bears Paw, Preston, this was the 1st Annual Preston Rockin’ Blues Festival and what a success it was.

With Chris Powers as MC and DJ, the day got off to a welcome start.


With the help of the excellent sound man, Luke Paget, the first act to take the stage on this momentous occasion were a band from the NW, ‘Tipitina’ but as a duo, with Debbie Jones on guitar and vocals and Justin Randall on keys and vocals. What a great set with the classic New Orleans jazzy blues flavour. A brilliant start to the day.

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Next, an all time favourite Prestonian band ‘The Stumble’. A superb Chicago style blues band fronted by the charismatic Paul Melville on distinctive vocals. Colin Black gave us a treat with lead and slide ‘extraordinaire’ guitar, plus a bit of blues harp playing too. The amazing Simon Anthony on sax, and it is understandable why he has been nominated for Instrumentalist in this year’s British Blues Awards.

With new member Antony Scapens on guitar, Cameron Sweetnam on bass and the powerhouse of Boyd Tonner on drums the line up was complete. They played several of their classic tracks from previous and current albums and some great R&B with ‘funked’ up numbers that had the audience spellbound.

Chris Powers played a keen collection of music during the break and kept us entertained ready for the evening session.


This kicked off with ‘The Special Agents’, featuring Alan Brown, from Glasgow, with an exceptional penchant for blues and jazz guitar. A multi talented band with Boyd Tonner on drums and Cameron Sweetnam on bass and Justin Randall on keys. Guesting on harp was the brilliant Paul Routledge. A classy set from these talented musicians playing classic blues and finishing with a jazzy instrumental.


The penultimate act of the evening were a 4 piece harp driven band from Yorkshire, ‘TC & The Money Makers’. Plenty of raw blues, leading onto excellent swing. Fronted by Tom Cox on mean harp and vocals, Karl Moon on guitar, a very forthright ‘how it happens’ musician who did not have the aid of pedals, Giles Bell and Mark Tyne on bass and drums as the drivin’ rhythm section. Paul Routledge joined the band for a harp duo, so all in all a class performance.


The final act of the evening and one of my favourite bands at this time were ‘David Migden & The Twisted Roots’. They didn’t disappoint. Fronting the band was David Migden on lead vocal, trumpet and megaphone, Joe Gibson on guitar, animated and talented, Phil Scragg on bass, multi musician, Graham Mann on keys ,trombone and percussion, and James Sedge on drums.

They are no way a traditional blues band, as they lean towards jazz, with alternative overtones … think Zappa. They played a variety tracks from their excellent album ‘Killing It’ and from their new album ‘Animal & Man’ , so different from the norm. David has been nominated for the Male Vocalist of the Year in the British Blues Awards 2014 and anyone who has heard him sing can understand why.

Well there endeth the 1st Preston Blues Festival and I hope there will be more to come. Well done to Colin Black for putting it together and to all those have supported the ‘vision’.

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive

Technical trouble

Posted on: Friday, Jun 6, 2014

We are down a computer here at towers.

Grahame’s laptop seems to have given up the ghost, plus I’m working away such a lot at the moment. What this means is that there will be a shortage of posts over the coming days, but don’t worry, we’ll be back to normal soon.

Thanks for your patience.

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Review: Tommy Schneller – Cream Of The Crop

Posted on: Wednesday, Jun 4, 2014


Tommy Schneller – Cream Of The Crop

(Cable Car Records: CCR 0311-43)

Here’s a nice 10-track of funky and soulful blues courtesy of German saxophone player and vocalist, Tommy Schneller . . . with the mastermind behind “Cream Of The Crop” being the prolific Henrik Freischlader, who not only wrote the music for all songs, but also produced the album and contributes his ever tasteful guitar, as well as bass, drums and backing vocals.

The album was recorded in Arnsberg, with another link to Freischlader being his long-time associate Martin Meinschafer, who recorded, mixed and mastered the tracks. Apart from Schneller on saxophone and vocals, and the afore-mentioned Freischlader, the rest of a very tight unit comprises: Gregory Barrett (Hammond organ and keyboards), Dieter Kuhlmann (trombone) and Gary Winters (trumpet).

Proceedings start with the bluesy groove of “Hands In The Air”, which features plenty of Henrik Freischlader’s guitar work and Tommy Schneller’s very decent voice and fine saxophone; which combined with the other three musicians is very pleasant on the ear. The more up-tempo funky “She’s So Good To Me” follows, with the horns to the fore, with excellent Schneller solo – the whole track having a ‘Crescent City’ feel, aka the great Dr. John.

The title cut, “Cream Of The Crop” has a nice jazzy swing, with Freischlader laying down flurries of notes, but never swamping the tune and leaving plenty of space for the rest of the musicians, with the horns again featured strongly. The funk returns for the storming “Ain’t No Maybe”, with really fine Hammond from Gregory Barrett on the track. “You’re Somebody Else” takes the pace down again, and is another expressive slow blues and is a standout here.

“What Did I Do” rides on a joint guitar/brass groove and again all present excel – with “Higher & Higher being on similar ground with a stomping, soulful feel.

Definitely one to check out for blues fans who like their music nice and soulful and funky and highly recommended!


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Colwyn Bay’s own Cherry Lee Mewis plays a trio gig at The Lomax Cellar Bar next Friday, 13th June at 8 pm – admission £4 on the door – in support of new album “Catch My Drift”.

The Lomax is at 34 Cumberland Street, Liverpool L1 6BU

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