Debut Album Big Blue from Shortstuff No Longer Lost
There is nothing Short about Big Blue! The duo of Dave Thomas & Hugh Gregory are not playing Stuff, it is most definitely acoustic blues with a sense of humour, panache and energy. You may not have heard of this pairing, this is a debut album delayed by over forty years of a pair that once enjoyed a residency in the Half Moon Putney back in the mid-seventies. Big Blue is a tale of lost and found, in 1975 having recorded some tracks from a live set; the tape was lost. It was then found in a Hackney attic, dusted off and with some later recordings the album was born.
The nine tracks all come from a variety of artists and are a pick n’mix of delights. The covers reflect their influences from J.J.Cale ; Ry Cooder and John Martyn.
The opener is blues with a lazy, hazy feel as Johnny Cash’s oft covered number Hey Porter is re-styled. Setting the scene, it is acoustic played with a crispness full of textures that punctuate the lyrics. With the spicy addition of Steve Jinks’ percussion and bass on several tracks adding another delightful tonal texture, as the duo are Sitting in The Rain this jaunty version of the John Mayall number has an energy, a familiarity that fills the speaker with a warmth, redolent of the power a duo creates when the music is really good.
The covers have been selected with care, re-arranged so that the soul and energy of Thomas & Gregory captured in the phrasing and delivery, full of confidence and love of the Blues, with two J.J. Cale numbers Magnolia & Same Old Blues being exemplary. Magnolia is as sweet as the flower, full of short-lived perfection a stand out number on the album of sparkling gems. The tempo kicks its heel up as the dance beat is captured on Dan Hicks’ O’Reilly at The Bar. Followed by a traditional number Honeybabe is juicy music thoughtfully conveying the history of the sound stretching back to the unknown.
Swirl in some Terry McGhee and The Mississippi Sheiks the album is full of interest. Closing out with Love’s A Disease you are left with a warm feel of having listened to blues sung and played well. Welcome back, Bluesdoodles is definitely delighted that what was lost has been found creating a debut album Big Blue from Shortstuff.
Big Blue – Shortstuff – Blonde On Blonde
SEVENdoodle paws out of TEN ….
- Hey Porter
- I Sing ‘Em The Way I feel
- Sitting In The Rain
- O’Reilly At The Bar
- Same Old Blues
- Sitting On Top Of The World
- Love’s A Disease