Heart warming British Country-Blues for Men of a Certain Age
The cover-art of BLUESMAN didn’t catch my eye and nor did the first couple of tracks as I burnt the disc onto my hard-drive for playing at a later date. That later date came on a recent sunny Saturday when I grabbed a few CD’s for a long car journey.
CD #1 lasted 3 tracks before it was relegated to the back seat, and replaced by this one. With sun beating down and my arm dangling out of an open window; John B Spencer’s version of Country-Blues became my soundtrack for the next few hours.
There’s nothing really new here; which is no surprise, as Spencer was a performer on the London Pub Rock scene that followed Punk; but what we do have are a number of well constructed songs that are performed exceptionally well and sung in a husky voice full of character.
I’d not heard of Spencer so was staggered to find that this album was originally recorded in 2002; shortly before his death at 57 and it has taken 10 years for his three sons and an assortment of friends (inc. Teddy Thompson, Graeme Taylor and Martin Simpson) to polish it up and present it to the world.
A couple of songs are really good; especially his laconic version of Memphis Tennessee which had me in mind of Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance; and the lazily lovely Country Mile which has also stood the test of time.
Your Mother May Love You is an interesting song; but sounds dated now as it’s full of metaphors that allude to Margaret Thatcher; who recently died a sad old woman, and not the person that Spencer was so angry about 10 years ago.
BLUESMAN by John B Spencer is a really ‘nice’ album and there are certainly a few songs that I’ll return to when putting together playlists for Sunny Days; and I’m pleased to report that his sons are still keeping the flame alive with their band Fast Lane Roogaltor that play festivals and gigs all over the UK.