ED Brayshaw RANDOM REPEAT

ED Brayshaw
Random Repeat
Mescal Canyon

Gallus Blues That Owes As Much to The South Side of Glasgow than the South Side of Chicago

Although he’s been in around several British music for donkey’s years; ED Brayshaw only came to our attention two years ago via his collaboration with Friend of RMHQ, Wily Bo Walker; but that long wait has been well worth it.
While I’m bored with artists still telling me that they wrote and arranged their 2021 albums during lockdown; I think it’s actually quite prescient as it allowed writers the time to go back over their work in a way that constant touring probably denied them; meaning many songs and arrangements are less rushed and now fuller and often more ‘professionally’ constructed.
That’s certainly not meant as any form of slight against ED Brayshaw’s previous release; which was chock full of energy and passion ….. but here; I get the feeling that this is more the album that he’s always dreamed of releasing under his own name.
RANDOM REPEAT opens with the glorious Storm Warning; which first appeared on a Wily Bo Walker album years ago; but I hardly recognised it in this guise; and there’s something to be said about Brayshaw’s keen observations that this song is even more ‘on the button’ in 2021 as it was 6 years ago.
While Brayshaw’s warm growl singing style is very much his own; but this song and a few more that follow remind me of Graham Parker and his SQUEEZING OUT SPARKS and ANOTHER GREY AREA albums; a heady mix of anger, passion and divine melodies!
#2 Don’t Change The Way I Feel; a slower acoustic led song; that simmers until it eventually nearly boils over when the squealing electric guitars join the fray; may or may not be a metaphor for the yin and yang we all feel about ourselves; or sadly may be a literal tale of a troubled man whose life is leaving him on the edge.
Even when Brayshaw writes a love song; he doesn’t follow the moon/june route as is apparent from Probably Correct and Just a Night; when Brayshaw sings about and even channels his inner Stevie Ray Vaughan; which both owe more to the South Side of Glasgow than the South Side of Chicago in the the band play in the most swaggering gallus fashion.
I especially like the way Brayshaw uses light and shade across his songs in a musically cohesive manner; one minute he’s singing a gorgeous acoustic Country tinged missive like Tennessee Blues, or the soulfully sweet Take It Away then slinking around the bar on the sleazy and funky Fade Away, and making all sound like blood brothers.
Then, it all comes to a close with the bittersweet instrumental Petite Fleur that closes the disc.
Which also brings me to my choice of Favourite Track.
At first it was obviously going to be the BB/Freddie King influenced Probably Correct which features some sublimely sizzling guitar breaks and a song that many of us will actually correct with; but the more I’ve played the album the more I’ve been drawn to After The Storm, which errs on the side of Americana-Folk in the way Brayshaw takes us on a road trip fraught with danger and fear with his tale that nods towards Steinbeck, Guthrie and Kerouac for content while using a heady Leslie Harvey/Gary Moore guitar hybrid that sounds like a coiled spring to add extra pathos to what is already a stunning song.
From even a cursory listen; it’s all to easy to appreciate why ED Brayshaw has been a go-to guitarist ; but I’m really happy to tell you that he’s been hiding his songwriting skills under a bushel over those years and I love his slow and sultry singing style too.

E D Brayshaw on Guitars and Vocals

Philip Brannan on Rhythm Guitar

Nick Bevan on Bass and backing vocals

Paul Baker on Drums

Released 15th October 2021
https://edbrayshaw.com/

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Five Points Gang WANTED

Five Points Gang
Wanted
Lunaria Records

21st Century Progressive Blues Experiment Siphoned Through, London, Texas and Chicago.

As we well know; you can’t please all of the people, all of the time hence our Bluesoligist Extraordinaire Jack Kidd returned this album to base, citing that ‘it was too noisy‘.
I on the other hand pressed ‘play’ one night in the car after a particularly venomous day at work; only to find myself turning the volume to the right three times!
I’ve played it 4 or 5 times now and can certainly see why it might not appeal to Jack; but hey ….. this is the Blues; in fact who or what actually defines what exactly is The Blues anymore?
For me it’s always been a fast moving lava flow adding and subtracting along the way.
Which is where Brit’ trio Five Points Gang come into the equation; they certainly sit in the Blues camp; but on the Heavy; and possibly even what we used to call Progressive Rock (NOT Prog!!!) arena and what they do; they do exceptionally well.
They throw down the metaphorical gauntlet straight away; with How Long; written just after George Floyd was murdered and contains the punchline; ‘How long to equality‘; which sort of takes off from where the legendary Free ended, without ever battering you over the head with any ‘message’ you are left to make your own decisions.
Grizzly yet fluid guitar aligned to drum and bass that are straight out of a British Steel factory and in the exotically monikered singer Joe Pearson; someone who appears to sing as if his very life depends on it.
I’m in for a million!
Apparently they have already released a Live album; but this is their actual debut album; and in my humble opinion they have certainly spent their formative years honing their craft; as all 13 tracks here are fully formed without an ounce of filler anywhere.
I will tell you how good these kids are; as I hadn’t read the Press Release before playing the album I had not a single inkling that they were British; yet when I know that they couldn’t be from anywhere else!
You see they deftly mix up both Chicago and Texas style Blues with ease and dare I say it; grace.
There are slight nods to Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan in All Points Bulletin, Let’s Stay Together and probably The Secret too; but it’;s a homage if anything and certainly not plagiarism, as these songs are purely Five Points Gang deluxe.
Not everything here is of the fire and brimstone ilk; with the band ‘slowing things down and getting funky’ on the rather beautiful All She Said, I See You Now and What Kind of Man which features some of the sweetest Rock guitar licks I’ve heard in a long time; subtle and silvery too.
What I particularly like here is the songwriting; it’s quite mature as it deals with relationships in all their ragged glory (finale I See You Now being a great example); and they still manage to treat their lovers as equals and even betters; thankfully not strutting any kind of macho nonsense we used to hear in Blues Rock; which hasn’t aged well, has it?
The songwriting is imaginative too, using imaginative metaphors to supplement actual memories (I guess and hope) on Love By The Gun and the funky-ass Made Man; which also feature judicious use of a wah-wah pedal ……. Dear Lord that takes me back to my teenage days; getting excited seeing a guitarist fannying about with a series of effects pedals.
As I said earlier Five Points Gang are British to the core; yet are so obviously influenced by America; which sort of brings me around to choosing a Favourite Song here. Like so many albums this decade bands no longer feel the need to write and record a Hit Single; so feel free to just write from the heart and hope someone out there will like the end result; which I obviously do; with two songs that captured my heart and imagination that first fateful night.

Track #2, All in All was the song I turned the dial up to 9 for …… and even if I hadn’t the car would have still been a’ Rockin’ ….. man does this song RAWK! Pearson’s guitar and vocals actually sound as if they are one; and Dinho Barral’s bass playing throughout manages to be both subtle and powerful at the same time; something both Andy Fraser and Jack Bruce would have been proud of; and they are both complemented by drumming from Gaet Allard that is meticulous and ghostly too. Trust me; if you ever hear this track on the radio you will presume it’s a lost Classic from one of your favourite bands; but you can’t remember who.
Even with that great song here; I’m going slightly left of centre for my actual Favourite; starting slow and sleazy then building and building to a crescendo; The Only One; a sad tale of loving, losing and partial redemption (this is a Blues album after all) somehow blends pieces of Free and SRV with Nirvana and Pearl Jam to create a whole new musical experience for this particular listener.
I understand why Jack didn’t like this album; and on a sunny afternoon when I was in a good mood I wouldn’t have either; but I wasn’t and Five Points Gang where just the thing I needed to blast away my own blues and replace them with yer actual Blues of the highest calbre; congratulations all around chaps.

PS I see the band have some gigs and Festivals arranged for October and April; with none being near to me ……. but I see that they are playing the legendary Whistlebinkies and Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh on consecutive nights ….. only a cheap train ride away and I can only imagine the sweat running down the walls!

Released September 24th 2021
https://fivepointsgang.com/

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Rory Gallagher RORY GALLAGHER (50th Anniversary Edition)

Rory Gallagher
RORY GALLAGHER (50th Anniversary Edition)
UMC

Lovingly Revisiting an Album That Not Just Changed Rory’s Life; But Mine Too.

Two things; first of all to Brother Donal and the meticulous way he is keeping Rory’s memory and reputation in such a glorious manner; and secondly …… I can remember the Saturday night my brother Melvyn brought the original LP home; after buying it on the first day of release.
Our elder brother; Brian had been waiting impatiently and the unveiling was akin to the birth of a new baby in the house (seriously). They each handled the LP with meticulous care; poring over every single detail, then ceremoniously playing it on the living room record player (much to the consternation of my father!).
They then sat in complete reverence; playing one side after the other, with no comment, apart from occasional nods and ‘knowing glances’.
Me? I was 13 and sat on the periphery, knowing something important was occuring; but not knowing what.
With 20:20 hindsight, that evening changed my life; as I am now a total Rory Gallagher obsessive and own everything he’s ever released; plus several Live Albums his record companies never knew about *Wink

So; after 50 years where does this album stand in the Irishman’s history?
Very, very high I’d say; Top 3 certainly; with no concert being complete without the inclusion of Laundromat, Sinner Boy, Hands Up and while he went on to a much louder and rocker format towards the end; Just The Smile and Wave Myself Goodbye have never been surpassed by him nor anyone copying him.
Which brings me to this Box Set, celebration ……. which for the first time in recent years, is something of a ‘curates egg’ ….. good in parts; poor in others.
CD 1, the original album is dusted down and given a bit of a polish and still sounds phenomenal in 2021; but as we dive into the other CD’s; which is of course what fans are paying their ‘hard earned’ for ……. CD 2 starts off exceptionally well with the stinging rendition of Muddy Waters’s Gypsy Woman and Otis Rush’s It Takes Time, which were both recorded at the same time as the tracks on the album and previously saw the light of day on a CD re-release; which I somehow missed …… but the wait has been well worth it.
Then; sigh …… we get into ‘Alternate Take’ territory; not always the end of the world as hearing Vincent Crane (from Atomic Rooster) adding piano to Wave Myself Goodbye and I’m Not Surprised, is interesting; but at no stage in the last half century did I ever find myself thinking ……. “do you know what this song needs is some piano” as I’ve been perfectly happy with the versions that have served me; and Rory well in that time.
As regular readers know, we here at RMHQ pride ourselves in actually listening to records several times before putting (metaphorical) pen to paper on your behalf ……. and for the first time ever, listening to Rory Gallagher has proved to be something of a chore ……. does the world really need 4 very similar but ‘Alternative Takes’ on At The Bottom running concurrently and even doubler’s Just The Smile and Wave Myself Goodbye don’t add anything to Rory’s memory.
On CD 3, it’s the same with Hands Up ……. F.I.V.E versions one after the other will test the patience of even the most ardent fan; for God’s Sake …… we aren’t Bob Dylan obsessives forensically dissecting each stanza for the great lost word or note!
Any single ‘Alternate Take’ of a song from the original album could and possibly should have been included on a single album; as a compare and contrast, ‘this is what you could have won’ ….. let’s face it; following the break up of Taste Rory Gallagher was experimenting with music like very few before him and even less afterwards; so I’m not averse to hearing something ‘new’ from this time ….. just not so much with so little or actually, no discernible difference.
Then; of course …… there’s CD 4 ……. and while you may never play those middle two discs ever again; this like the first is very much a ‘keeper’.
It’s actually amusing listening again to In Concert ‘Live Recordings’ from the BBC that I actually listened to as they were broadcast; I say ‘amusing’ and it is; as I would have been lying on my divan bed, with my ear as close to my (monophonic) radio as possible, constantly redialling as the signal came and went ……. then excitedly discussing what I’d heard at school on the following Monday ……..weren’t the 1970’s wonderful?
Today they sound as spectacular as I’d fantasised as a schoolboy; man …….. I’ve said it before and I will say it again; while a phenomenal and inventive guitarist; Rory Gallagher was also a fabulous singer ……. just listen to It Takes Time or Laundromat from the wonderful Sounds of the Seventies; and what a blast it is hearing the ‘posh’ introductions to tracks from the John Peel Sunday Concert series although the announcer actually sounds more like a young Johnnie Walker …… but I could be wrong.
This; obviously is when Rory ‘comes alive;’ and hearing Hands Up, Laundromat and the timeless In Your Town again on these recordings has brought a tear to an old man’s eyes.
Many of us who have been in it for the long haul already know how eclectic Gallagher’s early albums were; and looking back again with that 20:20 hindsight …… I think there’s an argument here for Rory being a forefather of what we know know as AMERICANA!
Discuss?
As always there are numerous formats available, and what I haven’t got is the DVD, which I really must hunt down …. as the idea of seeing as well as hearing Rory perform these songs on a French TV Show will no doubt be a treat I deserve after listening to those interminable ‘Alternate Takes.’
BTW the accompanying book; full of anecdotes and photos is nearly worth the entrance fee alone.

Released September 3rd 2021
https://rorygallagher.com/

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The Cold Stares HEAVY SHOES

The Cold Stares
Heavy Shoes
Mascot Record

Cocksure Blues Rock Meets Southern Rock at a City Centre Crossroads.

As regular readers will know we have very eclectic tastes here at RMHQ; none more so than my good self. Recently I’ve been dabbling in the Jazz pond, alongside my normal Americana/Roots listening; but one of my Guilty Pleasures has always been good old Blues Rock, which stems from my teenage years half a century ago.
As the acts I loved got Heavier I moved on to more melodic music; but still like to raise the roof every now and again; which is where The Cold Stares entered my life last week.
The album had been sitting around unplayed; simply because I was 99% sure what the contents would be …. and I was correct; but in a case of ‘right place/right time’ it went into the player on Monday morning and was still rocking the office at tea-time!
Unlike most of their contempories; Kentuckians,The Cold Stares actually manage to sound Bluesy, while ‘turning it up to 11’ and allow singer singer Chris Tapp to actually ‘sing’ instead of scream.
Obviously it was the opening track Heavy Shoes which initially caught my attention. POWERFUL hardly covers it; but there was cool guitar riff that runs all the way through; and Tapp reminded me of Paul Rogers in his full majesty (which covers both Free and Bad Co.) and to some degree Brian Mullins could well have took lessons from Paul Kossoff at times; on a song that makes Whitesnake sound like a Pop Combo!
I’d be nervous of playing this album through headphones, as my ears are in a ragged state anyway; but these songs do need to be played loud(ish) to get the best from; mostly because you can actually feel the bass/drums combo in your chest at times; but for once that doesn’t detract from the songs; with Save You From You, Strange Light and 40 Dead Men being prime examples of a band who have served a long and tough apprenticeship; never wavering from their goal ….. and now actually living out their combined dreams; doing what they want for an ever appreciative fan base.
As I say; Heavy Blues/Rock isn’t my normal ‘go to’ genre; but occasionally bands like The Cold Stares come out of the shadows, and while frightening me at first; have something special in their armoury (You Wanted Love? Take This Body From Me?) that are significantly different from the norm, to catch my attention, but then grow to appreciate the classy playing and surprisingly intricate production values that combine to give us some quite Classic Contemporary Rock.
As you’d expect from a Heavy Blues style album there’s an all purveying darkness from start to finish; but The Cold Stares carry this off with not just class but panache too; none none so than the funky-ass Gothic sounding In The Night Time, which straddles Southern Rock and British Blues with swagger and style.
Which brings me to my Favourite Track here.
Not necessarily an easy task as there isn’t anything here that I would say could be a Commercial/crossover Hit; although there is certainly a lot to like and admire; but one song seems to stand out above the rest and will sound great on both Rock Radio in the car and in a sweaty club at 11.15 on a Friday night; and that’s Hard Times, with it’s Jack Bruce a-like bass lines and cocksure vocal performance on a song that will resonate with just about everyone who is living on the back foot these days.
While I certainly don’t want to be inundated with similar releases over the next six months; The Cold Stares have been a revelation for me; and a bit of an adventure too.

Released August 13th 2021
https://www.thecoldstares.com/

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Kyle Culkin PORK CHOPS & BLUES

Kyle Culkin
Pork Chops & Blues
Tonebucker Records

A Little Ray of Rhythm and Blues Sunshine and a Bit of an Emotional Rollercoaster

I’ve been back in a dark place mentally recently; which as usual makes me think “Why do I bother” regarding the website ……. sad; but true; then along came Kyle Culkin with his Pork Chops & Blues; instantly the clouds began to lift and a little ray of sunshine entered my life.
A twenty year man at the coal-face of being a working musician; with only one previous solo release to his name; Kyle Culkin has been a ‘go to’ session man and touring geetar player for the great and the good (and no doubt the average too) with very little glory; apart from BB King saying “This kid can play!” but always paying the rent; so has that apprenticeship done him any good?
Hell yes it has!
The Pork Chop Song comes at you like a drunk on the dancefloor on a Saturday night ……… is it literally a song about Culkin’s favourite meat meal; or is it a metaphor for something sexual in nature? This is the Blues with a mighty streak of Rhythm so it could be either or both; and boy is it a crowd pleaser.
Now four days into this album and I can tell you that if you were wandering down a rainy Lonely Street one Tuesday evening and you saw the Kyle Culkin Band were playing in the Heartbreak Hotel your spirits would be lifted in such a way you may even try to marry the barmaid …… even if you are a woman!
On Delbert McClinton’s Why Me, Kyle certainly sounds like he has a twinkle in his eyes as he sings it; a bit of a Country-Rock spine to it; but it’s a pure Honky-Tonking Blues stomper of the highest order; and will have you dancing like no one’s watching ….. even if you’re in the kitchen.
While I love that song; Culkin’s slow and slinky songs really do it for me ……. both; Nothing From Nobody and Wouldn’t Change a thing are guaranteed to have you shouting “Ain’t that the truth Brother!” and Culkin and friends’ playing ain’t too shabby either, with barely a note out of place on two incredibly well constructed songs.
At only 8 tracks long this album still somehow manages to be an emotional rollercoaster, with By The Blues and the awe inspiring album closer Wouldn’t Change a Thing being the types of broken hearted love songs that have you reaching for a glass, then raising it to the stereo as Culkin makes you feel that you aren’t alone with these feelings.
Then; there has to be a Favourite Song of mine; here I’ve decided on two very different styles of song to battle it out.
Burn It All Down is an A-Typical Rhythm and Blues stomper with searing guitar; heart breaking harmonica and a singer who isn’t giving up easily …… and a chorus that is designed especially for public participation.
The other; and more likely winner is the song that blew my clouds away …….. a bit of a big band (BB King style?) production finds the singer sitting in his dressing room thinking when did I become So Damn Old!
Yep ….. that’s me Kyle Culkin is singing about; or possibly you too ……
Tell my wife and kids they should have seen me
back in my prime the age of 23
I could go all night long
Now with any luck ………
I need three cups of coffee
Just to get out of bed!”

Some days I think that there is too much music out there; and then albums like this arrive from someone I’ve never heard of ……. and my faith in the restorative powers of music; especially The Blues is restored; and the future looks rosy again.
Thank you Kyle Culkin.

Released May 28th 2021
https://www.kyleculkin.com/bio

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Grainne Duffy VOODOO BLUES

GRAINNE DUFFY
Voodoo Blues

Self-Release

A Fully Paid Up Member of the ‘Lady Plays The Blues’ Clan.

Over time Ireland; both North and South has produced some of the world’s finest musicians, finest singers and finest song-writers that fit comfortably into most accepted genres of popular music.
So, if you didn’t know already, Blues Singer and guitarist extraordinaire, Grainne Loucia Duffy easily hits the criteria to stand up proud, side by side with all those who came before her.

Voodoo Blues is the 5th. album from the native of Co. Monaghan and surely consolidates her place in the Blues, Soul and Americana fields; not just in Europe but throughout the entire World.
A talented vocalist, a genuine guitar player and a substantial, eloquent song-writer she makes an indelible impression with this powerful new release.
Long time band member Paul Sherry not only adds some sparkling guitar but co-wrote all the songs with Grainne, whilst the album itself has been well produced by the multi-talented Troy Miller who adds his drumming skills to all ten cuts, as well as providing swirling Hammond Organ too.

The title track “Voodoo Blues” undoubtedly sets the tone with an up-tempo, stomping blues tune that also has a memorable chorus.
Slightly slower is “Mercy” with Miiller’s Hammond aiding the atmospheric backing behind the superb, wide-ranging, expressive vocals.
Another strong beat pumps “Blue Skies” with catchy guitar riffs, subtle organ fills and further evidence that the lyrics and chorus are instantly familiar.

You can clearly see just where Grainne and Paul Sherry have their strong US influences, no more so than the John Fogerty inspired “Roll It” which has a genuine foot-tapping Swampy beat that you don’t ever want to end. “No Matter What I Do” and “Don’t You Cry for Me” are the slower cuts that are no-where near token gestures, both could quite easily have been recorded in Muscle Shoals with full backing by the legendary Swampers themselves.
So, full credit to Grainne, Paul and Troy plus their very solid Bassist, Dale Davis.

Hard Rain” is the album closer maintaining the very high standard throughout a really excellent album, with more catchy chorus chants for you to pick up on, even on first play.
Tick Tok” and “Wrek It” are both up-front Blues, power chords with boogie guitar type songs that don’t let the side down.

However, my favourite song is the anthemic “Shine;” with another very positive sing-a-long chorus that will have you grinning from ear to ear. Fact is, close your eyes you could be transported to an outdoor festival in warmer climes with this Southern Rock crowd pleaser.

For those people who still think “Blues Music” is depressing and doom laden, then here is the album to reverse your previous judgement and perception.
Voodoo Blues just might be the album that finally opens your ears and eyes to the talented Grainne Duffy; as she delivers a splendid set of songs that not just lifts the listeners spirits, but confirms that the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Shaun Murphy, Teresa James et-al now have a new member of the ‘Lady Plays The Blues’ clan, and one who can clearly justify her place at the top table.

Released in UK on 15th. October 2020
https://www.grainneduffy.com/
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Review : Jack Kidd – “Messin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com

King King MAVERICK

King King
Maverick
Channel 9 Music

Between Rock and a Heavy Place?

It took a while; but I was eventually won over and counted myself as a Fan of King King; when I received an e-mail saying that the band were splitting up; but ….. to ‘watch this space.’
The key ‘news’ when it came; was that frontman, Alan Nimmo was not just putting together a whole new band; but being joined by … brother Stevie!
For Blues fans of my generation this was a huge shock, as while we knew that they had ‘kissed and made up’ a couple of years ago; but surely their ‘fiery relationship’ precluded a full on reformation of the fantastic Nimmo Brothers?
Well, that appears to be a yes AND no answer.
After years of hard graft the King King brand is at an all time high; so it appears that the future lies under that moniker; but Hell’s Teeth! Their sound has changed so dramatically.
Although MAVERICK has been one surprise after another; the concept shouldn’t be, as no two previous King King albums had been the same, even though there was always a distinctive ‘sound’ that I grew to love.
From the outset, this is now nearer the Heavy Rock of Rainbow, Dio and Europe, than the Bluesmen of yore.
The new Heavier sound comes at you straight from the traps with opener Never Give In sounding like they are cramming a 9 minute workout into 3 and 1/2 claustrophobic minutes; and daring you to take your mind off what they are doing for even a second.
While never shy of including actual stories and/or ‘messages’ in his songs; after all these years, Alan Nimmo still retains the power to astonish and astound …….. the powerful and anthemic One World Forever and Dance Together are almost ‘political’ statements, with the latter being a banker to be the last song of the set before the encores come in; plus it’s so rifftastic it’s almost guaranteed to be what we used to call a Radio Hit.
Alan and band also show their mellow side on the bittersweet Power Ballad Whatever It Takes To Survive and when you hear him pour his heart out alongside Johnny Dyke’s pathos laden piano playing on When My Winter Comes you will absent mindedly find yourself waving your mobile phone in the air as you sway from side to side.
Maybe I’m being a bit ‘tongue in cheek’ there; but it’s a strikingly beautiful song; the likes of which I never expected to hear from King King.
On an album full of twists and turns; there’s even a funky bass/keyboards slant to I Will Not Fall and the grizzly guitar interplay will come close to making several heads implode!
Before I let loose with my Favourite Track; which is actually a ‘given’ for fans who remember the halcyon days of the Nimmo Brothers in their prime; but I have to say that this album has taken some getting used to.
I’ve never really been a fan of Heavy Rock; and to all intents and purposes that’s where this will sit; albeit with more melodies and actual tunes than you will hear listening to Classic and Planet Rock radio for 24 hours back to back!
So; it’s to the finale, End of The Line that I go for my Favourite Song; and it’s an easy choice as it’s a top quality Love Song, with the glorious fluid guitar solos I was hoping for from both Nimmo Brothers; but scratch away the veneer and while it’s certainly a Love Song; damn me if it isn’t from one brother to another!
OK I’m spoiling it for some of you; but it’s one Hell of a brave thing to do on record; and all power to Alan and Stevie Nimmo for burying the Claymore and bringing their very special brand of music back for the masses.

# One last thing; if I didn’t know any better I’d have pictured the singer here being a tall, slim Lothario, long hair flowing across his tattooed shoulders, while wearing skin tight leather trousers ala David Coverdale or maybe Ian Astbury; but nope …… this lad is the one and only Alan Nimmo who couldn’t be further from that description at all!!

Released 26th November 2020
https://www.kingking.co.uk/

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Rory Gallagher THE BEST OF

Rory Gallagher
The Best Of
UMC

The Flame Burns Brighter Than Ever.

Does the world really need a BEST OF Rory Gallagher?
Seriously, that’s a serious question.
Rory Gallagher fans; like my good self will undoubtedly already own all, if not most of his recorded work; (he has that effect on people) but ……. and here’s the genius behind Brother Donal’s management of Rory’s archives; this is ‘all killer and absolutely no filler’ whatsoever; and is; no doubt intended for the lucrative Christmas market.
Although a cynical old sod by nature; I have no issue with that at all …….. because just imagine handing this Double Album over to your favourite son, daughter, nephew, niece or just about anyone under the age of 40 who may have only heard about the legend that is Rory Gallagher and watch their faces light up as they hear What’s Going On by the Irishman’s incarnation in the Taste for the very first time!
Then the music takes a magical leap forward 8 short years to Shadow Play; which is mystically completely different but somehow showcases the guitarist’s guitarist and his distinctive singing like probably no other here.
I’m reviewing the Double Album; which is what you should buy; as the Single release will surely leave you feeling short changed; and if you’ve received it as a gift left thinking the giver was a cheapskate and didn’t love you as much as you thought.
One of the funny things about this is that the tracks aren’t in chronological order; but that’s no problem as you get to hear and appreciate Rory’s amazing diversity in a whole new manner; CD 2 starts with the dirty Blues of 1979’s Bad Penny then follows with the Bluesiest song I’d ever heard in 1973, Walk On Hot Coals; then we get transported back to 1969 with Blister on the Moon (from Taste’s debut album) then if your senses aren’t already off the Richter Scale by this stage, our Man goes acoustic AND electric on Loanshark Blues.
Even if we just judge him by those 4 songs alone; I defy you to give me the name of another act who could possibly evolve so much, while still maintaining quality control like no other?
That was always the beauty of buying a new Gallagher album; you didn’t really know what to expect in advance, but you were always sure that your blind faith in his talents would be rewarded to the hilt.
In theory there should be no surprises here; as I already own every song and every album he ever released (plus a couple he and his record company didn’t know about #wink) but there are ………. I’ve not heard it in years, so Philby blew me away last week and again this morning; what a fabulous song ….. and let’s not forget what a truly great songwriter Rory was; which again comes to the fore on the slow and sleazy Bought & Sold, Jinxed (which I’d completely forgot about!) and even Cruise On Out which is perhaps the Rockiest song here.
There was nothing wrong in what his contempories were releasing in this period; but I loved and indeed, still love the way he sometimes went left of centre in his subject matter; Tattoo’d Lady? This was 1973 when such creatures were only seen in Fairgrounds and not in the Asda on a Tuesday afternoon.
Philby of course was an infamous Spy in the 1960’s and one of my favourite songs of all times, Daughter of The Everglades now sounds like Rory invented Americana!
With hindsight, the imagery in Rory’s songs really does transcend what most everything those around him were releasing back in those days. Moonchild? Ghost Blues? Calling Card? None are really his most ‘famous tracks’ but show a man who had a fertile imagination; and a romantic one too when you re-hear They Don’t Make Them Like You Anymore (which now sounds a bit like latter day Taste? Discuss?), Just The Smile and I Fall Apart after all these years.
There’s obviously an obligatory ‘never before released’ track to tempt completists; and it’s been a bit of a slow burner for me. Although famous for including older Blues standards in his repertoire; I can’t think of another contemporary track he’s ever recorded (or played live; apart from a Born Under a Bad Sign and Politician with Jack Bruce) so hearing him turn the Rolling Stones (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction alongside Jerry Lee Lewis into a down and dirty Chicago Blues has been fascinating and illuminating in it’s own way.
To some greater or lesser degree I could stick a pin in and find my Favourite Track, as they probably were at some time in my life; but today I’ve narrowed it down to three; all of which I hadn’t played in donkey’s years and have not just surprised me but re-kindled my admiration for Rory Gallagher …….. It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again from the much maligned ON THE BOARDS by Taste, with it’s Jazzy undertones and liquid gold guitar playing; then there’s Crest of a Wave which still sounds nothing like anything else he ever recorded; and conjures up memories of seeing him play it live several times.
The winner though (I think) is A Million Miles Away; possibly because I had forgotten about it; but the sublime skill and nuances in his guitar playing are truly exemplary and the song itself is as romantic a Blues tale as ever straddled what we now call Americana as I may ever have heard.
Old Farts like me are always going to look at the track list and think, “why is X not here?”
But, even if your favourite track isn’t here (and these are all from the studio albums; before you ask) ……. what would you actually miss off?
Every album is featured in one way or another; and remember …… this is a retrospective of an all too short career destined for a whole new generation to discover ……. so if that’s you, get over yourself and Trust in Brother Donal to keep the flame burning brightly.
Damn ……. in this format, Rory Gallagher just may be even better than I have been telling people for half a century!

Released October 9th 2020
https://rorygallagher.com/

BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
BUY HERE: https://rorygallagher.lnk.to/TheBestOfPR

The Georgia Thunderbolts GEORGIA THUNDERBOLTS

The Georgia Thunderbolts
GEORGIA THUNDERBOLTS
Mascot Records

Deluxe Southern Rock With Added Fire and Water.

Even before I’d heard a note I pretty much knew that I was going to like this debut EP from Mascot Records’ latest signings; but nothing prepared me for how much!
To the uninitiated and the lazy among the Reviewing Fraternity, The Georgia Thunderbolts sound a lot like Lynard Skynard; but that’s primarily because singer TJ Lyle sounds uncannily like Ronnie Van Zandt; especially on the cocksure and swaggering opening track Looking For an Old Friend; which features some liquid gold guitar breaks from Riley Couzzourt and Logan Tolbert; but the more you check out the fine print, the more you unearth ever more amazing influences that all come together in a way that makes me hanker for being 18 again.
While the twin guitars on track #2 So You Wanna Change the World are ‘trademarked Southern Rock’, their ‘Heavy’ arrangement and actual guitar playing is more Paul Kossoff and Stevie Marriott than anyone I can think of who hails from South of the Mason Dixon Line; and that rock solid bass/drum combo must surely come from a lifetime listening to Andy Fraser and Simon Kirke from Free.
So, dear reader …….. add the Best of Southern Rock to the Best of British Blues Rock with an extra shot of Black Crowes for good measure; and you will understand why the pounding beat of Lend a Hand (courtesy of drummer Bristol Perry and bassist Zack Everett) not just set the hair on the back of my neck upright; but had me desperately trying not to ‘head bang’ in the car!
The songs and stories therein, are instantly memorable and the finale Set Me Free is almost anthemic with a hook so big and phat that I couldn’t help thinking “Captain …….. we’re gonna need a bigger boat!”
Of course there’s one other track on this all too short EP; and that’s the epic and perhaps epoch-making Spirit of A Workin’ Man; which majestically captures the spirit of the bands’ name The Georgia Thunderbolts.
My major criticism is that this is an EP and not an actual Long Player; but Lordy do I wish that I could turn back time to be 18 again and if I could; The Georgia Thunderbolts would easily be my new Favourite Band of all time ……. duuuuude!

Released August 21st 2020
Buy Don’t Spotify https://www.georgiathunderbolts.com/

Jeff Fetterman Band SOUTHERN SON

Jeff Fetterman Band
Southern Son
Self-Release

Sizzling, Soulful and Southern Blues Straight Outta Pennsylvania.

As regular readers know we desperately try to be as up to date as possible with our reviews at RMHQ; but a new supplier of amazing Blues Music in America keeps sending us albums from his 2020 back pages; and some are just too hot to ignore ……. so let’s welcome Jeff Fetterman into our crazy little world.
The accompanying bio is limited; so apart from this probably being the Bands 4th album and they hail from the Rock and Roll capital of Pennsylvania ….. Bradford!
It’s all about the music.
The opening drums/keyboard intro to I Don’t Want To was already more than enough to capture my attention; but when a tight and funky horn section kicked in to introduce Fetterman’s husky and ‘lived in’ voice; my SPIDEY-SENSES already deduced that this was going to be a rather special song ……. and it is.
A crippling story of heartbreak after capturing his lover in another man’s bed ……… but the the cruel twist in the tail is that he still loves her; all told over a red hot rocking Blues melody full of Fetterman’s signature liquid guitar playing.
What’s not to like kids?
Who said start with an explosion and then build the tension? Well; that’s what we get here.
There’s a whole lotta Soul in Fetterman’s songs but the band and he are Rhythm and Blues Rock personified on Ain’t Got You and extra spicy 49/61 which has a sting in the tail that has to be heard to be believed.
The horn section sit out a few songs; and bizarrely aren’t even missed on Tell Me Baby and the sublime and sultry Living With the Blues which are exemplary examples of why The Blues can be as sad can be, yet still sound truly beautiful too.
Blues instrumentals can often be a bit ‘light’ but here; Blues For Charlie comes over like a velvety mix of Booker T with Buddy Guy or Robert Cray on soul affirming geetar.
There’s a cover version here that took me three plays to recognise; as I thought it was some kind of nod to Curtis Mayfield; but who would ever have expected a Funk rendition of All Along The Watchtower to be this damn good? Not me, that’s for sure; but it is.
On my copy there are two bonus tracks; Voodoo Funk, which is exactly what it says on the tin and will be a floor-filler at the Hoockie Coochie Club in Newcastle if Warren ever hears it and the other couldn’t be more apposite – Southside Blues, which features some phenomenal electric keyboard playing.
Which brings me back to choosing a Favourite Song; which is sort of easy; but also highlights the incredible diversity that Jeff Fetterman shows in not just his playing but the way he chooses his songs to suit the music.
Going Down to Nashville just stands out from the crop; full stop. Twang guitar that’s worthy of Chet Atkins but a melody and a dynamic taken straight from the Chuck Berry play-book makes this sizzle, shake and shimmy like the girl Fetterman is singing about and it works for me.
Jeff Fetterman has been around a long time; playing every club withing a 300 mile radius of his home town and sharing stages with just about every household name Rock or Blues guitarist to venture into that part of America; but this album is far too good to stay in Pennsylvania …… it deserves a much wider audience; and Europe is gonna love it!

http://www.jefffetterman.com/
Released May 2020