That’s the Vibe
Enough Blood, Sweat and Tears To Make Your Heart Pump and Your Feet Twitch.
Can it really be three whole years since Keith sent me a copy of his band Blacktop Deluxe’s album? Apparently so……where does the time go?
Although still with Blacktop Deluxe and after 17 years slogging around the back-roads of Southern England with them and another band called Blue on Black; he’s finally decided to make his first ever Solo Album…. and this is it.
The first thing that struck me about the first song Dice Will Roll (The Blues Will Follow) is that it has a much bigger and fuller sound than that prev band album; there’s not just a brass section in tow but sexy sounding female backing singers too, making this cracking attempt at a Chicago Blues tune very special indeed.
Howe makes no attempt to adopt an American accent when he sings; but after years on the road he’s evolved a distinctive singing style that belies his Cornish roots; and is perfect for the imagery he creates on Dust Off The Rust and Old Crow Road, which have the romanticism we normally associate with bands from the Southern States as opposed to England’s most Southern county.
Sitting here listening again; this very much a classy album in the vein of Blood, Sweat & Tears or Chicago Transit Authority; but with a modern slant on Blues Will Roll and/or Living With Fragile Things, but I could say that about 90% of the songs here too.
I still think it’s brave for guys like Keith Howe to tread their very own path in Rock Music; as it’s all too easy to fall back into the Covers Circuit to make a living; but when you can write songs like the punchy Got It and Gone or Blue Horizons, you really should have the self-confidence to still shoot for the Stars.
This album ticks a lot of boxes for me and if Keith Howe came from London or Memphis the national press in both countries would be falling over themselves to praise Put Me In My Place or the slow and dirty All You Millionaires to the high heavens; but Howe comes from the ‘sticks’ in Cornwall so he can’t be any good, can he?
HELL YES HE IS!
Which brings me to the RMHQ Favourite Song, Ace In The Hole which made me hark back to the glory days when you could see Dire Straits or Graham Parker & The Rumour or for me in Newcastle, White Heat The Eastside Torpedoes or Arthur 2 Stroke in a bar for under a quid and have the time of your life.
Quality and Class never go out of date, which is why this album will never age, even if it’s roots are in the 70’s and 80’s it’s perfect for 2019 and beyond……. and I can only imagine the effect these guys will have if they get to play the Festival Circuit this Summer!
Released February 15th 2019