Philip Sayce: Influence ~ CD Review

download (11)Influence

Philip Sayce
Mascot Label Group
release Date 25th August 2014



Blues is often said to be whisky driven, for me this is an album fuelled by quality gin not moonshine, but one of Gin, the spirit flavoured with hints and whispers of various botanical flavours with the key flavour juniper that tease and test your taste buds. Influence does the same for your ear and tests the hearing skills as you find and identify the influences from genres and guitarists including Rock, Rock n’ Roll, Psychedelia, Heavy, guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan Jeff Healey and others the overall influence is the blues of every shade and tone this album is an aural teaser. Every track is different with a balanced mix of divine originals and instinctual covers that take you to a place that is musical and spiritual; they hit that musical nerve at the bass of your spine and send tingles and shivers of delight throughout creating a feeling of oneness with the music.

The opening track Tom Devil, is full of six-string mastery creating a swampy humid riff that drives this heavy moody psychedelic blues, setting the scene for a Sayce album that has a lot to say and refuses to follow a pre-ordained approved pattern for the blues. This is free fall blues and I love it.
The re-arrangement of Little Richard’s Green Power, this is a gem of a classic that really deserves this outing and has a live feel reflecting what producer Dave Cobb said on the second try ‘that’s a take’… and Green Power is certainly a track you return to. Another cover that has been cleverly drawn back in to the light and our consciences is David Nash’s Better Days which displays his vocal skills with a guitar sound which is purer allowing the voice to shine; reflecting that you have to keep on trying you have to do the ground work to get to the next level, this is the album where Sayce has stepped onto the next level.
Evil Women is full of guitar vibrations as the chords pick up and then his voice full of vexed hurt that works with a really grinding set of guitar riffs that reflect the underlying evil as he says “She is full of spite”. Want a change of tempo well Sailin’ Shoes is a brighter sound that gets your feet tapping and has a great chorus line if you feel like singing along, this is a catchy guitar tune that should be getting mainstream airplay; you recognise it well this Lowell George number was recorded by Little Feat.
The longest title and the most traditionally bluesy track on this heavily blues influenced album is Blues Ain’t Nothing But A Good Woman On Your Mind – yes Salt in my coffee and black pepper in my bread… from 1969 Don Covay & Lemon Blues band in 1969 another clever and unusual cover given a Sayce airing for the 21st century.
The album is aptly named Influence, because this is an album full of difference and that makes it such a fun and interesting listen you do not want to miss a note, a guitar lick that twists and turns and takes you to a different place,
Philip Sayce is playing at the top of his game on this album. He certainly achieved his goal when Sayce says “My intention is to move away from ‘flavour of the month ‘ and to reconnect with the spirit” this album will influence your listening for a long time to come.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD out of TEN doodle paws a doodle rating of

TEN ……… pawprint half inch


Raw Blues – Will Wilde – CD Review


There is a rawness about this album, not the raw feel when a band is new on the scene but an emotional gruffness that strips back all emotions to the basics. Having listened to the superb “Raw Blues” album several times I realised the raw texture comes in three forms, firstly the lyrics that take you to the dark corners of life that good blues achieves and then on top of that is the rawness of Wills vocals and the emotionally onslaught he achieves when he puts the blues harp to his lips what a sound he creates. This is a very British take on Chicago Blues that has been stripped down and the pieces re-arranged creating a sound that is perfect for the twenty-first century.
The backing from Stuart Dixon playing guitar that keeps the tension, brings in some lightness to the musical journey providing the perfect foil for Will at the front. Into the mix is precision drumming from Richard Newman and knitting all the elements together through the bass strings is Victoria Smith providing some bass lines that grounds the emotions so that you do not drown. Despite the subjects addressed on the album on tracks such as ‘Paranoia’, ‘Citalopram Blues’ (Depression is the centre of the track); this is not a difficult album to listen to, it certainly does not leave you feeling empty but full having experienced a lyrical and musical journey.“Raw Blues” combines a variety of tones and ‘Thirty Eight’ has a up-beat tempo articulated by crisp drumming and soaring harmonica and ‘Get Me Some’ is a full on semi-rock approach to the blues once again demonstrating the full range of talent being delivered by Will and his band. Another strength within the album is the self-penned songs that mean something to will this comes over in the singing and the production of the CD, each track means something personal and that is what the blues is all about articulating through music personal journeys, the sorrows and the highs. Raw Blues is full of confidence and is a showcase of the fantastic live act this band is. They are worth looking out for at festivals and gigs, but until you can catch the band live this is certainly not a second best option but a CD that you will revisit often and enjoy. Why? – It is simply the powerful combination of strong vocals and a distinctive harp playing by Will Wilde that makes this more than just a little bit special.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of
pawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint quarter  inch
To purchase your own copy of the CD available to buy from Will Wilde

CD Review – Mark Pontin Group – Days of Destiny

Mark P Group

Days of Destiny on Moochee Records is a début album that is delivered with confidence and demonstrates the raw, natural talent of this power trio led by Mark Pontin with his distinctive vocals. This confidence belies the tension that is described in the notes on the long and winding journey that has eventually resulted in a CD any band would be proud of delivering; throughout the nine self-penned tracks Mark has retained the authenticity of the group’s live sound. The title track ‘Days of Destiny’  sets the tone with its driving guitar and bold vocals this is a power trio that has a story to tell you through music and words combining rock and blues to make a wholesome honest sound achieved by some excellent production by Mark Pontin and Tim Hamill, (who also plays the Hammond organ on some tracks).

There is no doubt that this album demonstrates the full range of Mark’s voice that can be warm, then gruff, stern and mellow depending on the context of the lyrics. The guitar solos are not the long meandering lead breaks that stretch out the length of a track but add nothing to the texture and tone of the music, every one of Mark’s solos are there for a reason and add to the whole musical experience as demonstrated on ‘Outcast’. However, stylish the guy up front is he is nothing without the rest of the band and the rhythm section are simply superb providing a stable platform of immaculate timing from the combo of Alun Walters (Bass) and Christopher Baglole (Drums & Backing Vocals) The influences are there to be spotted throughout the album, with gentle nods to styles and approaches, the ghosts of Stereophonics and Stevie Ray Vaughan are captured within ‘Just One More Day’; creating a Pontin sound that I am positive will soon be as recognisable. ‘Traffic Lights’, one of my favourite tracks, has Mark’s growling out the lyrics; whereas the other stand out track has to be the slow blues intro on ‘Fallen Down Again’ followed by another song of strong lyrics with the opening lines of “ When I needed rain, All I had was on the line, I asked for holy water, You gave me holy wine…” and throughout that lovely blues melancholic sound produced by the whole band. The surprise sound, I was not expecting a Hoax sound within the collection but here it was on the penultimate track‘Forever On the Run’; what a glorious sound Mark has produced with the combination of powerful lyrics, vocalisation and that driving guitar sound phew definitely goosebumps-up-the-back time.
mark logo This is a debut that sells the band and it is definitely worth making a trip to see them, the promotion from this project should see the band at gigs and festivals throughout UK and Europe; though this does mean that they will be playing less often in South Wales – our loss will be your gain! On every listening this album reveals a little bit more about Mark Pontin and his band and is a sweeping zephyr of fresh Welsh air sweeping through the blues rock scene this is not jaded and a regurgitation of what has gone before – Days of Destiny is for me in contention for album of 2013, why it has it all, great song-writing, strong guitar sound, melodic backing vocals and a driving rhythm that melds and weaves together to create a live sound that you want to hear again and again.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of

Available at Mark Pontin Store

Catch the band live throughout the Autumn – check out the website and sign up to the newsletter click here for information