The Herbal Remedy
Land of the Livin’
Still Flying The Flag For British Blues.
Here at RMHQ we inhabit a small clique of like-minded people who spend ALL OF their spare time either writing about music for you or playing it on niche local radio stations; normally unheralded and always unpaid. Occasionally one of us rises above the parapet to actually receive an accolade for their hard work; and one of those is my mate Gary Grainger; who presents a Blues Show on Bishop FM and has now won several accolades for his prowess and exquisite musical taste.
But what I didn’t know was that he is also highly proficient on the electrical bass guitar too!
This, I only found out a couple of weeks ago when he sent me this album from his band The Herbal Remedy; which also features other stalwarts of the local Blues scene in the NE; Davey Curtis and Nick Phillips; currently of Auld Man’s Baccie plus John Timney who has bashed the drums in numerous bands over the years.
Now; why would anyone outside my local area care a jot about this release? Well; it’s bloody excellent from start to finish and certainly stands shoulder to shoulder with most of the albums I review from similar bands in the US of A!
Proceedings get under way with the Chicago styled stomper Money’s Gone and you are never allowed to settle for a moment until final track, the maudlin Closing Time fades to a dark and windswept close; courtesy of Helen Armstrong’s gorgeous melancholy Celtic fiddle playing.
In between we get more exemplary Chicago Blues with Stomping Ground, Full House and Lunatic Blues; there’s even the risque Shotgun Blues, but it’s on the slow and sultry Delta songs when they really sparkle; with the bottleneck guitar on Dead Man’s Shoes sending a shiver down my back and then on Church of Lost Souls you could be listening to the love child of Frankie Miller and Maggie Bell …… honestly, it’s a cracker!
I’m pleased to tell you that every song here is an original, courtesy Davey Curtis; yet each and every song has a timeless and even sentimental touch to it, where I was sure several times that I’d heard songs before; but I hadn’t.
Hmm; what’s my Favourite Song though but? Any of the above could qualify; and the jangly Country Blues of Lifetime Guarantee will be a showstopper when played live; but I’m going for the title track Land of the Livin’ which is one of those classy Blues Rockers that we all grew up on, growling vocals, slide-guitar, an industrial pneumatic powered rhythm section, and an actual song of the type that we still argue about today, as to which is the ‘best’ …… well; I’ve got a new contender for that debate.
Like so many bands of this ilk, it’s too late for The Herbal Remedy to worry about filling the Albert Hall; but with those particular shackles thrown off, it’s obvious that these talented musicians are having the time of their lives and they are letting us join the fun too.
Released October 11th 2019