Black Rain falling on Mick Simpson Delivering A Blues Album

Black Rain falling on Mick Simpson Delivering A Blues AlbumRotherham born Mick Simpson has an impressive record of playing with the likes of Elkie Brooks, Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings and the late, great Gary Moore. This is his 4th solo album and it ably showcases a variety of styles by this talented musician. He says his style has been influenced by BB King, Peter Green, Jeff Beck, Derek Trucks, Django Reinhardt and Robert Johnson. I’m not sure I could pick out all of these on the album but he is an accomplished guitarist. He has a pleasant tenor voice that you think you recognise, before realising that it is unique. Occasionally, I felt he was stretched to just too high a register, but overall, the singing is good. The album kicks off with the title track, Black Rain, a soft country rock, semi-acoustic tune, with a catchy chorus. It is a song of “bad karma raining down on me “with a nice bit of fiddle playing to complement the guitar and voice. We move on to Destination Blues, a boogie-woogie number with piano and horns – this would get anyone up and dancing! Don’t cry is a slow 12 bar blues in which Mick sings “Baby don’t cry, let me help you make it through” The guitar solo would certainly do it for me. Last train home is a song for all those who have been away for a little too long and are finally on that last train and nearly home.

There is some great slide guitar to ease the traveller on their way. The next track, Promised the Earth is a great song in the style of Gary Moore. It tells a tale of heartbreak, you promised the earth but never delivered. IT all works, with the guitar echoing the sentiment in the words. On River of Life, Mick gives centre stage to the Italian singer, Eva Carboni. He provides a gentle strummed background to her great vocals. The gentler mood continues in Sweet Lorraine, a slow blues with horns and strings in the backing. Another tale of heartbreak and lost opportunity with another great guitar solo. Then things get lively – To Hell and Back a fast rocking track with driving guitar but I felt that Mick’s voice lacks the grit that the track really needs.

A different take on the usual blues themes of my woman left me, my home is being repossessed and I have to pawn my stuff, Top of the World tells us that despite all these things, he stills feels On Top of The World. Some interesting lyrics in this slow blues lament with a positive twist. The final track is When the Sun goes down. Call me an old softie, but I am a sucker for this type of soft guitar-based rock song. I really liked this one! It is another one with a solo that reminded me of Gary Moore and is a song of hope for the future. “We can make it work, now that winter’s gone”. Just what is needed on a cold January day


Mick Simpson – Black Rain – Mad Ears Productions

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …


  1. Sweet Lorraine
  2. Destination Blues
  3. River of Life (Feat. Eva Carboni)
  4. Black Rain
  5. To Hell And Back
  6. Last Train Home
  7. Don’t Cry
  8. Top Of The World
  9. When The Sun Goes Down
  10. Gravy Train
  11. Promised The Earth


Black Rain falling on Mick Simpson Delivering A Blues Album

Lewis Watson New Album Midnight Simply Pops

Lewis Watson New Album Midnight Simply Pops

Lewis Watson New Album Midnight Simply Pops



The clocks change in March, but Midnight is still the witching, hour, mysterious dark or starlight with a hint of romance and forthcoming days.  Lewis Watson is back with a powerful new album Midnight, following on from his acclaimed debut The Morning. Midnight cements him firmly as a talented pop orientated singer/songwriter with hints of melancholy and shafts of joy running through the album.

Midnight has a fresh feel, nothing is over produced and there is a lightness of touch reflecting that the Oxford based musician recorded the entire album in a fortnight with a live band, under the watchful guidance of producer Anthony West.

The influences are present but with the lightest of touches as the voice of Lewis Watson is the dominant force combined with his acoustic power. Opening with reverb underneath the vocals adding to a mixed reaction that of uncertainty and the power of the music it has a force that makes a pop song stand out as it fizzes with energy. The dominance of the simplicity of the form of singer/songwriter with the acoustic guitar is apparent in When The Water Meets The Mountain, the sound fills out with melodic and harmonising backing vocals. The number has a sense of purpose within its elegant searing musical beauty.

The short and catchy Forever is a catchy number leading into Run with its ear catching opening of movements in a room a record player and clicking clock, with a harder edge of grand piano and strumming guitar picking up the melody. Then Lewis’ vocals picking up the lyrics sad and questioning as the nights are getting longer. Counting in for Slumber featuring Lucy Rose, the acoustic guitar is strummed and the two voices harmonise with a simplicity as a lullaby sinks you into sleep.  The closing track is the title song, Midnight again the simplicity of a piano as the intro adds rather diminishes the power as we visualize the cold and Northern Lights and a feeling of contentment.

This is a pop album with the added elements of songs with depth of feeling and interesting layering of tones and effects so that the listeners ears remain focused on the music at Midnight.  Lewis Watson, is beguiling and a songster who uses the idiom of pop to deliver his songs. Lewis Watson new album Midnight Simply Pops!


Lewis Watson – Midnight – Cooking Vinyl

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Maybe We’re Home
  2. Little Light
  3. Deep The Water
  4. La Song
  5. When Water Meets Mountains
  6. Hello Hello
  7. Forever
  8. Run
  9. Give Me Life
  10. Slumber feat. Lucy Rose
  11. Midnight (hidden track)


New Single ‘Deep The Water’

Lewis Watson New Album Midnight Simply Pops

CD Review: Dave Hunt ~ Whiskey & Demons



Dave Hunt
Whiskey & Demons
Mad Ears Productions



The opening bars pull you in with slide that swirls and horns courtesy of The MEP Collection that pick up the Little Red beat in an up tempo number that certainly gives you a hit of blues that has a modern lively twist that engages.

The title track has a different approach with a mix of Canned Heat and Robert Johnson the lyrics that intertwine are definitely some of the standard phrases we have crossroads, midnight, devil, mojo and whiskey but this is a fresh sound that has a swampy driving beat that satisfies.

The sound is swampy, dirty and rough just like Broken Promises there is a hurt that drives to the heart of the music with a beat that condenses misery in the still rather than whiskey, Dave’s vocals groan and grind out the words as the music reinforces the pain. Then the tempo changes Southern Rock guitar takes control and the beat relaxes Remind Me tackles the outcome of War when she thinks he is dead; takes another man and the hook Didn’t See That Coming resonating on times when we all have said. Like the rest of the album there is a twist in the story unfolding through the lyrics and music.

As the lexicon of the blues is explored and developed we have a train whistle in this rocking blues high-octane number where the guitar is king a different take on the train and moving on blues. This is blues that dances along, your feet tap then the dance floor beckons Downhill Shuffle a fast-moving instrumental where the drumming is to the fore adding another tonal texture to the album.
Ending with a country blues number, the harp cries, guitar twangs and the story unfolds in the last track that closes the album with blues that will stay with you.

There are times when the album skits form style to style and fails to embed the essence that is Dave Hunt and his bands, putting that to one-side it is a might good listen.
Whiskey & Demons is a contrast from his previous album Box Full of Blues by his alter ego Harmonica Dave; the quality and depth of blues of every hue are still delivered by fine harp, guitar and vocals from Dave. Whiskey & Demons is an album that has lots of curves as Dave and his band explore every musical shape and approach to the blues in the 12 track journey they wind around the harp but never dominated with the band giving a full sound that determines this album is full of the right sort of musical demons.

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

Dave Hunt: Vocals, Harmonica, Guitars, Bass, Mandolin, Drums
Andy Littlewood: Guitars, Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Bass
Mick Simpson: Lead Guitar
Pete Nelson: Drums & Percussion
The MEP Collective: Horns, Brass

1. Little Red
2. Mississippi Blues
3. Whiskey and Demons
4. Roadhouse Rosie
5. Broken Promises
6. Remind Me
7. Sold Me Down The River
8. Alabama Train
9. Downhill Shuffle
10. My Friends
11. Honeysuckle Rose
12. Words Unsaid

CD Review: Mick Simpson ~ Unfinished Business

micksimpdoncdMick Simpson
Unfinished Business
Mad Ears Production

I always listen to an album a couple of times before I review, this one is no different and with every re-airing of Unfinished Business I find another quirky lick and hidden depths this is an album that delves deep into Mick’s musical lexicon of delights, with the music humming with influences including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Johnson, BB King and Mark Knopfler. The songwriting from Andy Littlewood, whether on his own or in partnership with Mick Simpson on the majority of tracks or M.J. McElligott are suited to Mick’s vocal range and his approach to Blues & Rock. Andy also produced and engineered the album which is really suited to Mick’s vocal ranges

Opening with Trouble Brewing is a driving mix of rhythm and blues guitar that certainly gets the juices running and this is an album that means business unfinished or otherwise. If you are unfamiliar with a British player who can deliver the chops and match them with some fine vocals this is a perfect introduction, though do not expect the rest of the album to be more of the same. I can assure you it is not Mick Simpson and the band have delivered and album full of tonal textures, variations in textures and at times almost a tribute to Gary Moore on some tracks, one thing is for certain he has the power and stature to deliver.
Half way through the album Shelter From the Storm is a cut down stylish acoustic number, with the co-writer M.J. McElligott playing the acoustic guitar and haunting keyboards from Andy Littlewood building the atmosphere, you can feel the coming storm.
We have the added bonus of the harp playing of Dave Hunt aka Harmonica Dave with his perfect pitch and timing on Left Me The Blues another Gary Moore driven track and then again on Travelling Man which is a throwback and homage to early blues, with a hint of country and wonderful slide-acoustic guitar you can even hear the clicks from a needle as when you played a vinyl or in the case 78 rpm shellac recording which builds the mood.
Drowning In My Tears, is not a cover but the resemblance with Gary Moore’s Still Got The Blues is unmistakable, a true tribute to this bluesman who has been and still is so influential. The final track once again displays the scorching guitar skills that Mick shows throughout this album. This is a fitting final track to an album full of emotion, blues and superb musicianship, an album that will be a favourite within blues lover’s collections.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

1. Trouble Brewing (Mick Simpson and Andy Littlewood)
2. Stepping Out (Mick Simpson and Andy Littlewood)
3. Unfinished Business (Andy Littlewood)
4. Playing The Loose Hand (Mick Simpson and Andy Littlewood)
5. The Light In Me ( M.J. McElligott and Andy Littlewood)
6. Shelter From the Storm (Mick Simpson and Andy Littlewood)
7. 50 Miles To Memphis (Andy Littlewood)
8. You Gotta Change (Mick Simpson and Andy Littlewood)
9. For The Love of You (Mick Simpson and Andy Littlewood)
10. Left Me Blues (Mick Simpson and Andy Littlewood)
11. Chicago Blues (Andy Littlewood)
12. Traveling Man (Andy Littlewood)
13. Lonely Avenue (Mick Simpson and Andy Littlewood)
14. Drowning In My Tears (Mick Simpson and Andy Littlewood)

Mick Simpson: vocals, guitars, mandolin, banjo
Andy Littlewood: keyboards, backing vocals, bass
Alan Young: drums, percussion
Dave Hunt: harmonica on tracks 10 & 12
Michael John McElligott: acoustic guitar on track 5
Gill Hunter: electric piano on track 5
Steve Gillies: bass on track 5