Steel Union New Album Life…And Other Problems!

Steel Union New Album Life…And Other Problems!

Steel Union New Album Life…And Other Problems!


This is a flash of solid blue acoustic steel with Steel Union New Album Life…And Other Problems the bedrock of roots music since the dawn of time. The eleven original tracks from the Peterborough based duo explore Life… And Other problems picking up the lament that has ensured blues is the home of lyrics exploring life and the problems that appear. Yes, the tracks are all original the lyrics reflections of the two Richards experiences using the melodic structure and framework of Delta blues. The duo is  – vocals & Harmonica Richard Gibson & Vocals and Guitar Richard Turner. AS you listen to the music the influences are apparent as they bend the harp, construct the chords and shape the vocals. The influences are deep in the delta where the journey started, this is no modern reworking of the beat, and rhythms are direct from the blues.

Opening the album with crisp acoustic guitar and harp driving the music as they sing I’m Coming Home (on The Morning Train) do not expect a  train song with harp whistles this is deeper more earthy with gospel spiritual feel. This tone is picked up later with Going to the River to Pray. Half way through the album we meet The Funk Monkey; the tempo is faster and the sound edgier with the harp piercing, joining Travelling West with its urgency as a pair of instrumentals. These were for me a shade too long and the restrains repeated too often; that said they held the attention.

Life Is A Problem, reflects the clever, witty title Life…And Other Problems; the tone is blues sharp from guitar and harp acting as a counterpoint to the gruffer vocals as the lyrics are unveiled. The juke joint is visited for upbeat foot-tapping Bukkas Boogie, raising the ghost Bukka T in a tribute of celebration. The music flows and the sound of the album immerses you deep in the sounds of historic Mississippi as we are left with the Steel Union Layin’ In Jail. This is music rooted deep in the past and at the time has a vibrancy that buzzes with delight from the guitar, harp and vocals.  An album for those who love their music traditional.

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. I’m Coming Home (On The Morning Train)
  2. Nobody Knows (About The Trouble I’ve Seen)
  3. Jesus Told Me (To Kneel Down And Pray)
  4. Life Is A Problem
  5. The Funk Monkey
  6. Run Down Blues
  7. Going To The River To Pray
  8. Travelling West
  9. Lift The Darkness
  10. Bukkas Boogie


Steel Union New Album Life…And Other Problems!

Barcelona For David Phillips The Roof Top Recordings 2

Barcelona For David Phillips The Roof Top Recordings 2Barcelona For David Phillips
The Roof Top Recordings 2


Back on his rooftop in Barcelona for the second album of  Roof Top recording, repeating the style of his 2011 Rooftops his first record on Black & Tan Records. On this album, David Phillips delivers eighteen tracks exploring his guitar, lyrics and warm vocals. On a rooftop, the recording process is simple, stripped back, only the essentials joining David in making this album. His guitar and voice are captured with just two microphones and all the doors and windows wide open. Adding some variation in guitar tone his Resonator and Cigar Box guitars make their appearances but nothing else to complicate the process of sharing his music.  What we get is an artist who is at one with the whole process concentrating on delivering the twelve songs. The last six numbers are instrumentals providing a bonus EP to complete the rooftop stripped back vibe.

This is music that relaxes from the opening track Making It Up through to the last fading notes of the instrumental Long Flight Home.

Here It Is we hear in fleeting a Spanish neighbour then into an upbeat number, with this percussive number David captures your attention. Listen out through the album for when the outside makes a guest appearance including Swifts and House Martins, perfectly reflected in instrumentals Migration and Dance of The Swallows. Beat Box opening and we Are Flying High with the soulful vocals of David Phillips.

An acoustic, stripped back album. The making may have been simple, the result is an album full of shadows and moody mystery. The album captures that live, spontaneous feel as the bird song and a few unwitting neighbours captured when David Philips records the songs we want to hear. The Rooftop Recordings 2 is a must for lovers of acoustic simplicity, the power of lyrics, blues and soul to add to the collection of chill out tunes. The Cigar box adds a ripping it up-country blues tone to Tied Up Gagged and Bound the track is a foot tapping extravaganza. Counting himself in gives the feel of an intimate bar setting of a live acoustic session as he opens on Old Red Haze. A lyric about anger and is gentle as his guitar curls around the lyrics as he gets angry and blind. Country fueled with blues as we swing on the veranda and listen to the music flow.

The finale is a bluesy number Long Flight Home with birdsong getting the tune underway. Only one solution is to listen again!

David Phillips The Roof Top Recordings 2Black & Tan Records

EIGHT pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Making It Up
  2. That Dirty Road (Beach version)
  3. Washes Over Me
  4. Guitar On my Knee
  5. Here It Is
  6. Flying High (Acoustic version)
  7. Tied Up Gagged and Bound (CGB version)
  8. My Baby Needs Love (Acoustic version)
  9. 5 Long Years
  10. Guilty Sunday (Acoustic version)
  11. Ellie
  12. Old Red Haze
  13. Migration
  14. Dance Of The Swallow
  15. The Acrobat
  16. Waterproof
  17. Long Flight Home


Barcelona For David Phillips The Roof Top Recordings 2David also a talented painter/draughtsman and the CD artwork is made up of a selection of his own watercolour paintings of birds that visit the Barcelona rooftops regularly. The special CD / artwork version is limited to 1000 numbered copies. You can order your copy HERE direct from the source for only 14,99 EURO (shipping included):

Here We Go says Simpson and Flemons Sing Favourites

Here We Go says Simpson and Flemons Sing Favourites

Here We Go says Simpson and Flemons Sing Favourites

Having heard all of the twelve tracks on the album live in 2016 when Simpson & Flemons visited Cardiff, I was delighted to be able to relive the night of live music once again. In fact, can re-live the experience as often as I like. The only things that are missing the presence of two great musicians and the interesting anecdotes and facts between the numbers giving context and a deeper understanding of the deep roots of the acoustic music being played. All twelve tracks have a purpose and in addition to the new arrangements and musicianship we have the blending, and mixing of British traditional music and blues in many guises and the common heritage of themes, lyrics and melodies the two traditions share.

The twelve tracks that are as they state ever popular to lovers of acoustic music, were recorded live during their sell-out autumn 2015 tour. Simpson and Flemons find a unity as they harmonise what are the common core of roots acoustic music from each side of the Atlantic. They find the common threads that show a deep psyche of roots music in the cultural memories of folk.  Martin Simpson and Dom Flemons champion traditional music that is still relevant and speaking to us today the modern audiences that packed their shows. The people travelled as did their music creating a river of creativity. Opening the album of delights with  Here we go as they pick up instruments and play.  Short Time Come Again No More reflects back across the Atlantic the suffering of the factory workers of the North West as well as those hit by the cotton famine of the American Civil War. A mirror image, re-working of Stephen Foster’s Hard Times Come Again No More it hits the message home hard and the lyrics win through. The instrumentation throughout is fresh, lively with an energy that makes your feet tap and becoming engaged. For many this album will be an introduction to the Quills as part of the multi-instrumentalist repertoire that is Dom Flemons, this pipe-like instrument can be heard on Bulldoze Blues, inspiration for Canned Heat’s Going Up Country this combined with his vocals that have an authority and intensity as he spans the octaves with a purity and a mighty fine holler when required. Combining Martin’s scintillating slide and acoustic finger picking style joining in with Dom’s Quills with a piping call and the percussive bones this is music that sings from the heart deep into your musical DNA. The vocals are full of emotional intensity, yet at the same time, every song has a simplicity letting the words tell that tale of people’s experiences we all recognise today. The mix is enticing with Champagne Charlie re-invigorated and Coalman Blues telling the story full of humour and pathos. Every track has something to say to you the whole album zings with the energy of a live performance with emotions,  and the charm of music delivered with love and care.  All the traditional numbers are arranged by Simpson and Flemons and into the mix is a Flemon’s original Too Long I’ve Been Gone fitting into the mix perfectly.  A definite for your acoustic collection. I recommend close the curtains block out the world, sit back and be absorbed into the music and the power of the lyrics.

Mr Martin Simpson & Mr Dom Flemons – Ever Popular Favourites – Fledgling Records

TEN pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. My Money Never Runs Out
  2. John Hardy
  3. If I Lose
  4. Little Sadie
  5. Pay Day
  6. Short Time Come Again No More
  7. Too Long (!’ve Been Gone)
  8. Bulldoze Blues
  9. Stealin
  10. Champagne Charlie
  11. Coalman Blues
  12. Buckeye Jim

Federal Charm Crossed Wires into Acoustic

Federal Charm Crossed Wires into Acoustic

Federal Charm Crossed Wires into Acoustic



Federal Charm Crossed Wires into Acoustic, on this eight track album the music is stripped back to its bare essentials with the body and tone of Federal Charm electric still running through the music. The tracks are originals, fans who have seen the band on the recent Roadstar tour will recognise many as they are from the critically acclaimed studio album Across The Divide.

This is a new venture for the band and it takes a few listens to get accustomed to Federal Charm unplugged. The simplicity allows the lyrics to have a greater role.  Opening with Guess What, a fitting start as the unplugged charm from these energetic rockers who twist the blues is definitely a new pathway on their musical journey.

The tracks selected certainly suit the approach, turning These Four Walls into a gentle song with mournful elements and the lyrics have a real power and intensity as Paul Bowe’s acoustic guitar plays the second string to Nick Bowden vocals.  A track favoured by Federal Charm to close out a show Silhouette is as powerful stripped back as in the original form on the album, Across The Divide. It is self-evident why this is a firm favourite. It has a jaunty uplifting feel.

Closing the eight tracks out with Master Plan, this is definitely a new venture that warrants exploration.  The harp work on the track from Nick has elegant beauty. It would certainly ring the changes in a live set an acoustic reprise as the vocals and lyrics then have the power.

Federal Charm – Crossed Wires

SEVEN pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Guess What
  2. The Stray
  3. Push These Four Walls
  4. Silhouette
  5. Come On Down
  6. Somebody Help Me
  7. Master Plan


Resonating With The Blues says Auld Man’s Baccie

Resonating With The Blues says Auld Man’s Baccie

Resonating With The Blues

says Auld Man’s Baccie



This is blues that resonate, who can rest a track with a yodel plus the whistles and bells added by Davey Curtis along with Slide guitar from Nick Phillips who are Auld Man’s Baccie. This is a duo steeped in blues that have the tasty flavor of Grandad’s baccie in a bent and dented old tin that has endured and tasted all of life’s twists and turns. Traditional blues with a bounce of rough and tumble that is reflected in the lyrics. There are hints of country and rag-time. The first seven tracks are self-penned flowing around the lyrics and the slippery greasy slide of the guitar. The tales are drenched in alcohol, salvation and travel – the heartstone of the blues.

The duo have been playing together for little over a year, and the debut album Resonating With The Blues encapsulates the closeness and mutual respect and understanding as they play to enhance the blues.

Opening with Moonshine Mama the tone is sent via a guitar that is sweet and drives the acoustic message along. Davey’s vocals are the perfect fit for this style of country blues. The addition of Rhiannon’s contrasting vocal tone works just fine! This is an acoustic album that also has the twist of humour so that this is not a miserable sitting on a porch dirge. The tracks have layers of interest lifting resonating the Blues above the mundane. Thanks in part to the added interest of instrumentation thanks to Nicks multi-instrumental talent and the harp from Jim Bullock.

As the album progresses the self-penned numbers have a modern feel rooted in tradition. Long Hard Road with a tinkling of blues and guitar that grinds out a slippery difficult path reflecting the title. My favourite of the self-penned start to the album is 51st, the lyrics are sound the guitar slips and slides and Rhiannon adds to the sad tale. The five covers are given the Auld Man Baccie treatment with some classic numbers bring the Resonating With The Blues to a stylish close.

Resonating With The Blues says Auld Man’s Baccie is an album that will be loved and treasured by everyone who loves acoustic, resonators, blues, lyrics that tell a story plus the yodelling In The Jailhouse!

Joining Nick Phillips (Slide Guitar) & Davey Curtis ( Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin Bells & Whistles)on the album
Jim Bullock Harmonica
Rhiannion Phillips – Backing Vocals

Bluesdoodles gives this CD SEVEN pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Resonating With The BluesAuld Man’s Baccie HERE

Track Listing
1. Mama Moonshine (Auld Man’s Baccie)
2. Alcohol Blues (Auld Man’s Baccie)
3. Grant Me Salvation (Auld Man’s Baccie)
4. Long Hard Road (Auld Man’s Baccie)
5. 51st Time (Auld Man’s Baccie)
6. Baccie Blues (Auld Man’s Baccie)
7. Gather Up Your Oats (Auld Man’s Baccie)
8. Can’t Be Satisfied (Muddy Waters)
9. Champagne and Reefer (Muddy Waters)
10. In The Jailhouse (Jimmie Rodgers)
11. Sell My Monkey (Tampa Red)
12. Ain’t Nobodies Business (Taj Mahal)