Bill Blue
King of Crazy Town
Conch Town Records

Hot, Sweaty and Sultry Blues From the Florida Keys.

Who among us wouldn’t be tempted to pick up an album in the Blues section, called KING OF CRAZY TOWN?
Then I defy you to get more than a minute into opening track Do What I Say, Don’t Do What I Do before thrusting your hard earned cash towards the Sales Person!
Man oh Man …… this is a hot and sweaty kind of Blues that I haven’t heard in a long, long time.
The first three songs come thick and fast, hardly leaving you time to get your breath back, with I Want It All swinging and grooving like the ban’s lives depend on you dancin’ your ass off , and Blue’s sleazy voice is seduction personified!
You do get the opportunity to catch your breath when Bill slows things down on track #4 the sadder than sad Everybody’s Leaving Town; which is just Bill and Resonator guitar alongside Matt Backer on harmonica. recreating the Field Songs he grew up listening too.
As Bill himself says in the intro to Hunker Down; this is his ‘Hurricane’ song; and he somehow manages to recreate the ‘electric tension’ such a thing creates in a four minute song …… which is well worth hearing.
Perhaps it’s because of the gap between releases; but Bill Blue has a lot to say; and say it he does in Enough Blues to Give You The Blues and the slow and sultry Closing Time.
The title track from that last album, Mojolation gets another run out here; and it’s certainly funky enough to make me hunt out the original album.
Selecting a Favourite Track was difficult until I realised that perhaps two can become one, as the sizzling title Track King of Crazy Town leads or perhaps bleeds into Bill Blue’s tribute to the real King of the Blues; BB King with the stifling and passionate Indianola; during which I swear Bill Blue’s voice takes a tearful warble at one point.
But then again, there’s You Ain’t Fun Anymore with it’s wailing harmonica, dazzling piano and guitar interplay and of course Bill Blue replying to his long suffering wife’s accusation that he Ain’t Fun Anymore! Which is the song that really is my Favourite Track here.
And another thing; if you judge albums by the cover …….. then what you see is what you get!
Bill Blue was originally guitarist to Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Cruddup, then formed his own ensemble that toured the world until he had ‘had enough’ and needed a break; which lasted 25 years!
Thankfully he’s back …….. and following up his 2013 Comeback album 7 short years later with The King of Crazy Town ….. which he just may be.

Released March 6th 2020

Rory Gallagher CHECK SHIRT WIZARD (Live in ’77)

Rory Gallagher
Check Shirt Wizard (Live in ’77)

Available on 2CD / 3LP / Digital HD / Digital Standard

Pre-Order the album from

Following on from the highly successful ‘BLUES’ album, Chess/UMC are proud to be releasing ‘Check Shirt Wizard- Live In ‘77’. The album is available to pre-order from

This 20-song, previously unreleased, set is culled from four shows (London, Brighton, Sheffield and Newcastle) during an early 1977 tour across the UK in support of Rory’s then latest album ‘Calling Card’. Featuring fantastic live versions of tracks from that album as well as songs from the 1975 ‘Against The Grain’ album and other live favourites.

This new album has been mixed from the original multi track tapes from the Rory archive, which were recorded by the Rolling Stones and Jethro Tull’s mobile studios and mastered at Abbey Road.

Rory Gallagher’s most popular albums have always been his live ones, such as ‘Live! In Europe’, ‘Irish Tour ’74’ and Stage Struck. He was an artist that came alive when onstage and this album covers a previously undocumented live period. “The whole concert was taped on the Jethro Tull Maison Rouge mobile by the way, and from where I was standing that concert on record would surpass the classic “Live in Europe” album. And that’s saying a lot.” Brian Harrigan Melody Maker – 1977, Hammersmith Odeon, London.

The cover painting is by a young Irish graffiti artist Vincent Zara who has stencilled Rory’s image across his home country.

If ever there was a “musician’s musician” then that accolade surely belongs to Rory Gallagher. Renowned for his blistering live performances and highly respected for his dedication to his craft, he died in 1995, aged just 47, yet his reputation has continued to flourish in the years since. Indeed, some of rock’s most seminal figures, from Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton, Queen’s Brian May to The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, have cited him as an influence. Rory remains a touchstone for all would-be guitar heroes in the 21st Century.

Track List

1. Do You Read Me (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
2. Moonchild (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
3. Bought And Sold (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
4. Calling Card (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
5. Secret Agent (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
6. Tattoo’d Lady (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
7. A Million Miles Away (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
8. I Take What I Want (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
9. Walk On Hot Coals (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
10. Out On The Western Plain (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
11. Barley & Grape Rag (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
12. Pistol Slapper Blues (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
13. Too Much Alcohol (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
14. Going To My Hometown (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
15. Edged In Blue (Live At Newcastle City Hall, 18th February 1977)
16. Jack-Knife Beat (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
17. Souped-Up Ford (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
18. Bullfrog Blues (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
19. Used To Be (Live At Newcastle City Hall, 18th February 1977)
20. Country Mile (Live At Newcastle City Hall, 18th February 1977)


Gary Moore
Live From London

A Magnificent Epitaph For Belfast’s #1 Bluesman.

I suppose the whole reason I do this reviewing malarkey is because even at my advancing age, music still excites me …… sometimes it’s an artist or band I’ve never heard of or perhaps, as is the case with a couple coming in February young musicians taking their first steps into this wacky world and I think they deserve a little help getting their songs ‘out there’; but every now and again somebody from my youth comes back into my life and I’m 17 all over again.
It was the latter feeling when I unwrapped this CD.
Gary Moore was one of those acts where I never actually owned an album of their’s, but saw them play live quite a few times.
Can you remember those halcyon days when Deep Purple where in town and you could make your decision to see them as you ate your tea because you could pay on the door?
Gary Moore was one of those acts; and always, always, always gave excellent Value For Money.
Recorded at Islington Academy, only 14 months before his untimely death in 2011, Gary shows no signs at all of road-fatigue here, right from first track (Albert King’s) Pretty Woman he pulls out all of the stops and leaves ‘nothing in the dressing room’; and I defy any guitarist alive today to hit all the notes the Northern Irishman hits on the 100 mph Country Blues tune, Down The Line ……. in fact he’s so fast there’s even a Punk element to it!
I’m not sure Fame and Fortune ever entered Moore’s life; and to some degree he’s the ‘forgotten man’ of British Blues; coming along at the tail end of the 60′ and 70’s boom with Skid Row and he died before the Second Wave which has swept the country in the last ten years or so.
But; listening to this fantastic Live album; it’s fair to say he’s been more of an influence on the younger generation than nearly anyone I can name from the Elite we fawn over in public houses.
There’s still a rawness to his playing; but even when he ‘goes off on one’ …….. Since I Met You Baby, The Mojo Boogie and the stunning The Blues is Alright there’s a sparkling sensitivity in the way he plays his guitar that very few of his peers ever mastered ‘back in the day’. #Fact.
Unlike his guitar playing, Moore’s singing was never going to win him any Awards; but hey …… this is the Blues and his distinctive guttural growl sounds like a man who has ‘Lived the Blues’ all of his life; and being born in Belfast in 1952 would have given him an upbringing akin to his musical forefathers in the Deep South; and that defiant spirit comes out in the glorious Bad For You Baby and Too Tired/Gary’s Blues #1, which both show you don’t have to come from Chicago to know how to play Chicago Blues.
I can’t think of a better epitaph than his call and response rendition of Walking By Myself or his beautiful re-interpretation of Donny Hathaway’s I’ll Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know to win him a legion of new fans in 2020; with the latter being something of a precursor to his ‘hit single’ Parisienne Walkways, which is a lot more fiery here; although just as Soulful as I remember.
Them’s ‘the hits’ but there’s a couple of other gems hidden in the shadows too for you to discover yourself, and one of which; John Mayall’s Have You Heard is easily my Favourite Track here; simply because the quality of Moore’s playing simply oozes out of the grooves in a most unexpected manner; even though I shouldn’t have been surprised ……… I still was; and have been again this morning.
At this stage I also have to pay due respect to Moore’s band on the night; who support him like solid oak roof timbers; allowing him to shine like the Shooting Star he always was.

Released January 31st 2020

Screamin’ John & TD Lind LITTLE BIG MAN

Screamin’ John & TD Lind
Down In The Alley Records

Dazzling Adaptation Of Classic Down-Home Blues For the 21st Century.

So many things have conspired this week to try and stop me finishing writing this review; but I’m adamant that I will get it done and posted by close of play!
Even from the opening rinky-dinky piano chords that lead into opening track the breezy Rollin’ Joanna I knew that this album was going to be right up my street; and when TD Lind’s slightly grizzled vocal cuts in I knew that this was indeed; the Real Deal.
A polite mixture of self-penned originals and Classic Blues Oldies has conspired to hijack every CD Player I have this week; and I haven’t minded a minute.
I hardly recognised BB King’s The Letter; primarily because this powerhouse duo have stripped it back to the bone and feature Joel Pinkerton’s ‘most Blues wailin’ harmonica’ as lead instrument instead of the geetar …… and the combination works a treat.
This is followed by Jimmy Reed’s Shame, Shame, Shame and short of howling Hallelujah! I can’t think of a better way of expressing my admiration for this startling 3 minutes of Blues Heaven.
I will come back to a couple of the cover songs later, as the duo’s own work is rather good too ……. with the title track Little Big Man the type of R&B you would associate with John Lee Hooker; but these cats have a sound very much of their own, and not a bit like the big man.
I always chuckle when unbelievers think that The Blues is depressing music; Hell’s Bell’s it’s anything but as Screamin’ John and TD prove on the rambunctious Gonna Drag You and Seth Walker and Jarod Dickenson’s Way Past Midnight …… this is Shotgun Shack dance music at its finest.
They can do dark and dangerous too; Reaper’s Knockin’ is a great example; and a tune I now want played at my funeral …….. just to scare the Grandkids!
I’m lucky in as much as I do hear Blues albums like this more than the average bear; but that doesn’t stop me being not just impressed but thunderstruck when I unearth songs like Cold Stone and Emptiness. On an album that will be stacked in the Classic or probably Chicago Blues rack; Screamin’ John and TD Lind turn the genre upside down on this very, very contemporary song; and one that deserves a much wider audience than what I can give it via these pages; hence it is the Official RMHQ Favourite Track here by a country mile.
There’s another song here that deserves an ‘honourable mention’; Huddy Ledbitter’s Goodnight Irene. A staple of most Blues bars and clubs I frequented as a young man; and probably you too; and more recently a song local troubadour and friend of mine Paul Handyside once recorded for my old radio show; gets a whole new lease of life here. Honestly there’s no way anyone under 50 hearing this beauteous song for the first time would ever guess it was over 100 years old.
This duo; producer Glyn Johns and their friends have created a brand new album, that can comfortably sit shoulder to shoulder with Classics of the genre in my collection (and yours).

Released October 12th 2019

Mediterranean Blues Cruise II with Joe Bonamassa and friends.

We don’t normally get involved in these things; as ‘Rock & Roll or Blues’ Cruises are normally in and around America; but this one is in Europe and features a whole host of RMHQ Friends.
Following six sold-out Caribbean cruises and a sold-out inaugural Mediterranean sailing – Joe Bonamassa, Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation, and Sixthman announce the second annual Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea Mediterranean II, sailing August 14-19, 2020 on the beautiful Norwegian Jade from Barcelona, Spain to Genoa, Italy and Cannes, France. Sign up for the pre-sale:

As with the previous United States-based sailings and the inaugural Mediterranean voyage, the second European cruise will feature music across multiple stages, meet and Greets with artists from the lineup, and one-of-a-kind collaborative sets from blues legends. In addition to non-stop music, the specially curated schedule of events offers a variety of music-centric activities including an activity with Joe Bonamassa. Beyond the onboard experience, guests will have the chance to explore two of the world’s most beautifully renowned cities. Attendees can spend the day at the waterfront town of Cannes famous for sparkling, sandy beaches and lush attractions, and explore the historic streets of Genoa, a remarkable gem of the Italian Riviera. In 2020, Jonny Lang, Walter Trout, Ana Popovic, The James Hunter Six have already been confirmed and many more will be announced to join Joe Bonamassa for the second voyage.


Keb’ Mo’
Snakefarm Record

More Sublime and Thought Provoking Songs From a Modern Blues Master.

Quite regularly I listen to albums by artistes that make me think “Why aren’t they more famous?” or others “How they Hell are they famous and filling Wembley?” Then, along comes the likes of Keb’ Mo and I think, “He certainly deserves all of the accolades, awards and riches his talent and hard work deserves.”
While always associated with Delta Blues, there’s always been so much more to his music than just that one tiny genre, and OKLAHOMA is no different; with every song here being accessible to everyone; even music fans who don’t think they ‘like the Blues.’
OOOhhheeee! Opening track I Remember You is a slow hypnotic Blues with some delightful slide hiding in the shadows, that typifies Keb’ Mo’s distinctive ‘style’ and not just sets the tone here. Only because one other track is actually stunningly brilliant, stops it being my Favourite Song.
It was only by reading his Wikipedia page as research that I found out Morris started his musical career in a Calypso band; and that fact makes the beat in This Is My Home make ‘sense’ as this topically ‘political’ song about immigration in one form or another; needs a sweet melody to ‘get the message across’ and it certainly does.
It’s no surprise that this is a collection of songs that bounce off each other until they are a cohesive unit that demands your attention; with the uptempo and thought provoking I Should’ve, Ridin’ on a Train and the lusciously cinematic title track Oklahoma adding ‘light’ to the ‘shade’ of Cold Outside and The Way I, a fascinating song about depression that takes Keb’ Mo’ into a bit of a traditional Folk arena.
Tucked away in the middle is a glorious Ragtime tune, featuring Taj Mahal that is so very poignant in 2019; Don’t Throw It Away; about the amount of plastic waste we use one and dispose of; cluttering the earth, sea and more. Clever, witty and poignant …… expect it to be on a TV Advert some time soon.
I don’t usually ‘criticise’ in my reviews; but I have to say that the single, a duet with Roseanne Cash; Put A Woman in Charge is an over simplistic theory, pandering to the Feminist Movement which is in the ascendancy these days. With all that’s going on in America at the moment, I understand the need for radical change; but having suffered under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher and more recently Theresa May I can’t vouch for this theory as necessarily being the right way forward; simply because of gender. Personally, I’m just for the best person for the job; regardless of race, creed or gender.
Back to the good stuff ………..
The Official RMHQ Favourite Track is the finale, Beautiful Music which feature the divine voice of the artiste’s wife, Robbie Brookes Moore on a love song so personal, passionate and damn near perfect it couldn’t be anything other than my Favourite Song here.
While always steeping his albums in Blues Mythology; Keb’ Mo’ has created yet another Cross-Over album that Rock, Soul and even Jazz fans can delight in owning and playing too; while Blues Fans will hail this as one of, if not ‘the’ Album of the Year.

Released June 14th 2019


The 44’s
Twist The Knife
Rip Cat Records

Hi-Octane and Low Down ‘n Dirty R&B

Where to start? The cover artwork I guess. If I’d been idly flicking through the racks of a record shop and stumbled on this, I’m pretty sure I’d have picked it up, then following a cursory scan of the cool song titles, I’d have looked inside the gatefold to see a photo-of the band; three scoundrels wearing shades and looking like hired in hit-men on the Sopranos; and hell’s teeth ….. Eric Von Herzon’s smile alone sent a shiver down my spine.
Of course, by this stage I’m obviously going to like whatever music they play….. and when the sizzling instrumental opener Cuttin’ Deep sashayed out of the shops speakers I would have gleefully handed over my £10 and scurried back home with indecent haste to listen to the rest; and I certainly wouldn’t have been disappointed.
The 44’s have been around the LA Blues scene for 20+ years and the only common thread appears to be head honcho Johnny Main who is very much the lynch pin of this dynamic trio’s very own version of Chicago Blues.
Not for the first; or I hope the last time this year, this is the type of music that I travelled miles to see in my late teens and early 20’s; raw Juke Joint Blues that shakes your soul when done right; and boy oh boy do The 44’s do it right.
Across the 8 songs here, the band cover a wide variety of emotions with the songs they’ve selected to cover; with only a couple of titles already being known to me …… Howlin’ Wolf’s Howlin’ and Muddy’s Champagne and Reefer, and singer Johnny Main brings both to life in a way I’d forgot was possible; and his guitar playing literally sounds like sparks were flying across the studio, and when Von Herzon blows that harp …… oohhheee…….. memories of seeing a young Paul Lamb in the Blues Burglars ripping it up at the *Broken Doll (Newcastle) immediatly came to mind.
Be under no illusions, The 44’s ain’t no ordinary covers band, stuck in the 50’s playing Classics to drunks and losers; they are as deep as the ocean and as sharp as a box of tacks. Rosie takes us on a midnight ramble, with Mains letting rip on his geetar, while the band (inc. drummer Gary Ferguson) keep the beat like a steam-powered Rolex watch in the background; and with Sugar You they conjure up the intense excitement only encountered during the heights of seduction; making your heart and pulse pump in tandem until you think you’re having a heart attack! (or was that just me?)
Usually bands like this ‘lose something’ in the studio; but no, no, no ……The 44’s simply buzz with excitement and raw adrenaline on every single track here; especially on 44’s Shuffle which closes the all too short album; and the low down ‘n dirty Helsinki Blues which is by far and away the RMHQ Favourite Track here; and one I can’t wait to play after midnight in the car on my way home from work next week.
While The 44’s are very much their own distinctive variant on ‘Old School R&B’, they remind me of two very famous bands in their formative years …… The Rolling Stones and ZZ Top; when both where cutting their teeth and playing music just for fun and fun alone.

*The now demolished Broken Doll was, and still remains the greatest ever pub and music venue in Newcastle, with a clientele of Biker Dudes, office workers, down and outs, skinheads, dope heads …. and me!

Released May 17th 2019

Atomic Road Kings CLEAN UP THE BLOOD

Atomic Road Kings
Clean Up The Blood
Bigtone Records

Thrill a Minute Smouldering Blues-Noir

Had I spotted this album in a shop I doubt I’d have picked it up, as the band’s name and artwork hints at some kind of loud Rock music, doesn’t it……or is that just me?
But; I’d have made a huge, huge mistake……. as Atomic Road Kings are proud purveyors of Chicago Blues Music; and perform it with class, panache and gallons of Cool!
Opening track I’ve Got Time is slow, sensual and will send shivers down your spine as ‘Big’ John Atkinson sounds like a thunderstorm is brewing in his larynx and Eric Von Hersen makes his harmonica solos sound like they were borrowed from Old Nick; and there’s a lot more like that in every cut that follows.
While I love Chicago Blues, I’m far from an expert in the genre so I can’t actually tell you who Atomic Road Kings sound like…… but perhaps they may even have their own distinctive sound; it sure sounds like it to my cultured ears.
You can easily ‘cut a rug’ to the ballsy Have Your Way and You Got To Change or especially My Way Back Home; but these cats are at their finest when they slow things down and get a little funky.
Rumours features some staggering guitar licks from Tony Delgado and later on Ain’t For Me he makes his guitar not just gently weep, but actually sound like it’s drowning in the tears produced by ‘Big’ Jon’s wailing and Von Herzen’s heart breaking harp playing between the front two.
Another thing I’m no expert in is the gear that bands use in the studio; but it’s fair to say that the original 40’s & 50’s analog equipment that was used to record this album on somehow helps create a claustrophobic atmosphere for Atkinson’s fabulously authentic Blues songs which are all from the heart and directed at the Soul.
There is actually a song, not from his pen and that’s the ‘traditional’ Two Sided Story, which I’ve never heard before and was a contender for the RMHQ Favourite Song category right from the first time I played this album as it’s a real powerhouse that has had me nodding my head along with the bass and tapping my feet to the drumbeat each time I’ve played it.
But, the actual ‘winner’ is……… the title track Clean Up The Blood, which; if such a thing exists, is the finest and scariest Blues-Noir I’ve ever heard! Imagine if you will, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Wilson Pickett recorded a Nick Cave song for a remake of Key Largo while hopped up on mogadons! For what it’s worth, I bloody love this song.
As usual this album isn’t for everyone…… not even all Blues fans, but if you like Mean n Moody Blues singers with a Diesel powered rhythm section and a side order of razor sharp bottle-neck guitar plus a wicked Harmonica player then Atomic Road Kings are for you.

Released February 22nd 2019

Cedric Burnside, Jumpin’ Hot Club, Newcastle.

Cedric Burnside
Jumpin’ Hot Club
Feb 15th 2019

Because of our respective shifts at work I’ve hardly seen Mrs Magpie this week; but still I had to go to see Cedric Burnside at the JHC in the recently re-aligned basement of the Cluny Newcastle.
Opening the show where Scott Taylor and Michael Littlefield from The King Bees performing an all too rare acoustic set of Blues standards with a few rarities thrown in for good measure.
They opened their set with Sonny Boy Williamson’s Good Gravy and closed it with the great man’s Keep It To Yourself; and in between Scott huffed and puffed his way through 7 different sounding harmonicas and Michael gave the guitarists in the packed room a free lesson in sweet….. no, sublime acoustic guitar playing on songs and tunes from Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee, Magic Sam and Big Bill Broonzy too.
They alternated lead vocals, and it’s fair to say Scott has now ‘grown into’ a charmed voice that belies his young age.
With no break to speak of, Cedric Burnside too a minute to tune his acoustic guitar and simply nodded for the houselights to be turned down and away he went with Love Her Til I Die.
I’m not aux fait with his music so guessed at the titles of songs; so don’t get mad if I get them wrong; but tonight obviously wasn’t just about hearing his songs, it was about taking part in the ‘experience’ of seeing Cedric Burnside live on stage where he makes the Blues exciting again.
“Well! Well! Well!” Can this guy play a guitar? His fingers are lightning fast across and along the strings and he looks like he’s having a spasm as he inhabits many of his songs too.
This certainly felt like everything I’d heard about his performances from friends; Burnside is not just charismatic on stage but hypnotic too….. you can’t take your eyes off him; even though for the first few acoustic songs he just sits on a chair.
With a big smile of thanks and his catchphrase “Well, well, well!” when the appreciative audience went ballistic as each song ended, Burnside hardly spoke all night, save retelling one of his Dad’s favourite jokes.
But we weren’t here for chit-chat, we wanted to hear music and oohhee…. did he deliver!
His short solo acoustic set ended with the slow and sultry Feel Like Going Home, on which he gave us some sublime bottleneck guitar solos.
Side kick Brian Jay appeared from behind a curtain and strapped on a Les Paul for a ghostly rendition of Hard To Stay Cool, from his latest album of the same name.
Then Jay got behind the drums and the night took a completely new direction, starting with a Blues Chant of Voodoo ethnicity and followed that with a song full of staccato guitar and pounding drumming, which actually moved the bass drum 6 or 7 inches and (with hindsight) started the disintegration of the bass pedal!
From my vantage point I could see Jay doing quick running repairs on the pedal during the next two songs, a mighty shuffle followed by a sexy and seductive version of Give It To You, which was less than subtle in tone.
After this one the duo switched instruments with Cedric taking over on drums, much to his fans delight.
*My notes say ‘a very technical drummer with a knockout punch’ on Don’t Leave Me Girl; which proved very apt as the bass drum moved forward again and the drummer actually snapped the pedal, much to his and our amusement.
As he tried to fix it Brian Jay watched like a hawk, but regaled us with some mesmerising work on his Les Paul. After a few minutes, Michael Littlefield from the support act mysteriously produced a spare drum pedal that he keeps in his bag for such occasions (eh?) just as Venue manager produced a second pedal from a store cupboard above the stage!
A quick adjustment from Cedric and just by making eye contact….. WOOMPH! The duo roared into whatever song it was they were meant to play (Ain’t Gonna Take No Mess?) ; and the drummer took out his frustrations in the only way possible…. boom, bang, pow….. but always on time and in tune.
This, dear reader is why Live Music is the way forward; you don’t get this on Spotify!
I guess they were originally meant to finish the set at the end of that song; but the ‘band just played on’ for well over half an hour, and way past the curfew; and by this stage I had to put my notepad away and just immerse myself in the magic music that this duo were emitting from the stage a couple of feet away from me.
I’ve told my regular readers that I lost my ‘mojo’ over a year ago, and had virtually stopped going to gigs; but tonight Cedric Burnside (and the King Bees lads) revived whatever was lying dormant in my Soul. Two amazing Blues duos ripped ‘a new one’ into what can sometimes be a dusty and reverential genre, in a packed and sweaty basement…… plus there was even 10 or 12 people ‘idiot dancing’ at the front by the end of the evening.
…….. what’s not to like?


Paul Nelson
Over Under Through
Riverwide Records

Mean, Moody and Introspective Soulful and Bluesy AOR.

First of all what a cool and eye-catching cover on the CD; I’m pretty sure it would have made me pick it up had I seen it in a Record Shop.
To some degree the artwork captures the mood of the music on the album too; quite laid back and difficult to pigeon-hole.
A glorious swampy sounding ‘chant’ opens the record; Go Down Ezekiel sounds like something Eric Bibb or Keb Mo may have recorded had they got to it first; most notably because of the dirty guitar licks throughout.
With that in mind probably the third time I heard the next song Ghost In the Basement I got to thinking that the best way to treat this album of divergent Roots music was to imagine it a soundtrack to mean and moody Detective drama starring Idris Elba or Kevin Costner.
Nelson has a fascinating voice; part velvety crooner and part dime store gangster as he inhabits the characters in his songs.
There’s a claustrophobic sense of menace on Lay a Little and the title track Over, Under, Through which sounds like Chet Baker re-mixed into a Levon Helm track creating a diamond cut mysticism.
Nelson’s re-working of Cash’s I Walk The Line sounds a lot more Soulful in the way our man purrs the heartbreaking lyrics, as if he’s drowning in molasses; but still keeping the original pathos intact throughout.
The production and musicianship is spell binding throughout making something like the sultry Secret or Relative Weeping sound quite extraordinary at times; and defying categorisation, with AOR being the nearest I can think; but with added Blues and a dash of Southern Rock in the shadows.
I still think my original description of this album being a soundtrack to an ‘imaginary Detective series or film’ but there’s a subtle touch of contemporary politics slid in too with the slow and Funky Silent Majority; but it could easily fit into my Soundtrack concept too.
If you’re still with my Soundtrack concept; my Favourite Song would be the title for the Film/TV Show; Colour It Blue.
Just imagine if you will, what the opening verse conjures up……
“I can take a sunny day
and fill it with rain
Hijack your peace of mind
Drag you to a house of pain
Pretty Rainbows fade to grey
At the sound of my weeping guitar.”

Surely it’s an anti-hero PI or Cop in an overcoat trawling the mean streets in the and shadows of the dark end of town.
Surely it’s not just me?
Even if you don’t go with my theory this album is the perfect antidote for what life is throwing at us these days; turn the lights down low and wallow in not just Paul Nelson’s pain and sorrow; but his amazing voice and the magical musicians supporting him.

Released January 25th 2019