CD Review: The Tim Jones Band ~ Home Again

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The Tim Jones Band
Home Again
Independent
Release Date 22nd May 2015

 

This is an album that is about musicianship rather than the power in a trio, this is what happens when the collaboration is between musicians who feel the music. Tim Jones guitar and vocals is the front of the band but it is the rhythm section provided by Andy Hodge & Sam Kelly that gives the music its heartbeat and drive.

Embedded throughout the album are lyrics that reflect personal experiences and people, the self-penned tracks were written in Spain during 2014, as Tim says “They’re all about people and things in my life at the time, although some of the songs have their roots in much earlier days.” Opening with Small Town, which has the enclosed feel of being in a small space, there is anger and despair. The album is cut back and at times there is a sparseness of notes but the tempo and tone and shape of the music changes with The Nature of Love a blues driven ballad where the lyrics roll around the music full of yearning and wistfulness.

We have sharp guitar licks and a lightning of mood and direction on I Want Your Money this is blues that gets your feet tapping; leading into a version of St James Infirmary where the vocals deepen and the guitar slows and the bass line adds to the mood creating a sound full of dark blues gloom.

Again we have a version of Rollin & Tumblin that follows Tim’s direction with this stripped back version that works and fits well into the timbre of the album. Closing with a funky shaped track that has an energy others definitely sometimes miss we have After The Rain, and the storm breaking has lifted the mood leaving you tapping your feet and admiring the skillful shaping of the music.

There are twelve tracks, of which ten are originals and the overwhelming tenure of home again is stripped back blues with the tempo being used to shape the mood this is an album full of moody brooding blues with a hint of a storm around the corner.
The album is acoustic roots blues with electric over tones, there is a thoughtful precision to every note and fleeting gaps of silence the drumming from Sam is full of intuitive connection with the emotions of the lyrics and the bell-like quality of the guitar work.

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

CD Review: Lisa Mills ~ I’m Changing re-mix

LISA-MILLS Im changingLisa Mills
I’m Changing re-mix

This is an album that you really will want to keep listening to for the quality of Lisa’s voice shines out on every track as she puts her own blues and hill country influences into the words she sings. More important than the influences and nuances is how she shapes the notes so that they cry out to you; Lisa really does use her voice as a musical instrument everything else plays second fiddle to the vocals.

It is second time around for this album originally released in 2005, I’m Changing has been re-recorded and re-engineered and reconsidered to make an album that will stay top of your play list for a long time as every one of the twelve tracks have the magical sparkle of the effervescent Lisa Mills and is a sparkling diamond of an album. With Ian Jennings on double bass and the core band from the original offering of I’m Changing keeping the tones authentic as they re-shape the tracks.

Opening with Better Than This, we hear the first of the ten self-penned numbers with her the vocals standing out. The title track, follows I Need Sunshine that is a favourite at live performances with its upbeat tempo that brings sunshine into any occasion and I’m Changing is a contrast with Lisa’s voice taking on a calmer approach with a yearning almost trance like quality, the fiddle echoes the yearning tones and we know that the words are anything but gentle but full of emotional uncertainty a number made more powerful by the understated delivery by Lisa Mills on her acoustic guitar and that wonderful voice that draws you in.

Eyes So Blue with a Latin beat that adds shade to this country tune with some stylish guitar and that voice that smiles at you as she sings Eyes So Blue, just makes you want to kick off your shoes and dance and swirl around the room.

We have Lisa singing a capella on Tell Me with a gospel inflection to the vocals allowing her voice to be the instrument it is full of colour, sometimes pure as a songbird other times the complete contrast with a gruff almost dissonant tone.

With two covers given the Lisa treatment is the later stages of the album firstly, old country blues full of Corky Hughes stylish resonator guitar that sets the atmosphere for a sultry Lisa who summons up time gone past, dirt tracks and sunshine with her personal rendition of R.L. Burnside’s I Wish I Was Heaven Sitting Down. Then we have last on the album a number often heard when Lisa appears live on stage, Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing, the longest track on the album and a fitting finale to an album that allows Lisa to shine with her unique voice that is tempered in fire and showing the power of this number as she strips away the song to let it’s soul shine through.

Every one of us who have the privilege to listen and own this album should personally thank the people who contributed to the Kickstart campaign and let the fresh air in and allow Lisa to re-shape the album as she herself envisaged the results are perfect.

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

Tracks

1. Better Than This
2. I Don’t Want To Be Happy
3. Sunshine
4 I’m Changing
5. Eyes So Blue
6. Shake It
7. Tell Me
8. I Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down
9. Rain In Summertime
10. Take My Troubles
11. The Truth
12. Little Wing

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

Tracks
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)

Band
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

CD Review: The Riotous Brothers ~ The Tree

treepackaRiotous Brothers
The Tree
Independent

The third album from The Riotous Brothers, The Tree, is an album with nine original tracks that have been written with a dash of panache and the intention of exposing the talents of the band members.  The Tree starts with Now More Than Ever and Honey Not Vinegar, which does have the hint of what’s to come with some fabulous keyboards from Paul. Nonetheless they are both fairly standard Rock with a tinge of blues; then the album takes off as the band seems to find their groove and confidence and decide to show the diversity of sound they can and will share with you via the recording studio.

In the centre of the album are a pair of stylish tracks, starting with the slower tempo and a rawer edge on Me and You; this is about vocals interacting to become another instrument in the mix with the harmonica playing from guest Paul Jones lifts this track to the stratosphere of listening pleasure. Followed by Something’s Got To Give with its divine piano, guitar and vocals there is soul in the lyrics that connect to your musical intelligence. This is followed by the most commercial track on the album Cigarettes with its pop driven beats and melody line so easy to hum.

The Tree is full of branches as the tracks of a  diverse sound, blues, soul pop and rock, the album works why because deep in the roots of the tree is some wonderful musicianship the quality of the guitar work from Mash, Piano from Paul and a rhythm section that drives the beat on.  At all times the blossom on The Tree are the powerful vocals that add that dimension needed if the lyrics are to be heard.

If you are looking for a groove that is soulful and full of emotions captured in the lyrics, vocals and the harmonising accompaniment this is really showing that this is a band with more than a touch of class, then the third album The Tree from The Riotous Brothers will hit the right spot.

 

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

 

 

Band Members

Mash Sonnet: guitar & vocals
Paul Long: keyboards & vocals
Matt Lake: bass
Dirk Maggs: drums

 

Tracks

1. Now More Than Ever
2. Honey Not Vinegar
3. Me And You
4. Second Time Around
5. Fever
6. Something’s Got To Change
7. Cigarettes
8. Memory Of Our Love
9. Proving Too Hard
10. I Wanna Know

CD Review: Jules Carter Trio ~ Done Misbehaving

julescartertrio3Jules Carter Trio
Done Misbehaving
Independent

Jules Carter Trio, have a jazzy, bluesy, funk rock sound that is sophisticated and blends layers of sounds that are distinctive and require a band to be tight and they are both in the recording studio and on the stage. The sound created if you are going to compare them with other bands would be they have a feel of Steely Dan but into the mix are snatches of other styles that will keep you intrigued as the album’s musical tensions and harmonies unfold.

The tracks are all original and this is an album jam-packed with originality the band play the music with a free-form flow and every note is considered and there for a reason as the beat picks up and fades and merges into another mid-track as on You Say No the opening course of this musical journey.

Jules vocals have a distinctive timbre that suits this fusion music that does draw on the blues even if it is only the mention of Robert Johnson in the lyrics of 27 Club about musicians who have died prematurely. The blues influence is again seen on Since You Went Away one of the more musically straight forward tracks on the album.

It is only to be expected on an album with so many influences and different approaches to each song some will not hit your personal spot for me it was Blondie and Forever and The Day; for me the lyrics did not sit comfortably on the first and the latter is to introspective and self-indulgent.

Done Misbehaving, is an interesting album and grows on you as you listen to the complex music with fused styles used to create a musical shape that was pleasing on the ear but at times tries too hard on this at times both strange and compelling album…. Done Misbehaving

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

Band
Jules Carter: Guitars/Lead Vocals
Fingerz Carty: Bass/Backing Vocals
Paul White: Drums/Backing Vocals

Tracks
1. You Say No
2. Same Day Born
3. 27 Club
4. Ten Out Of Ten
5. Since You Went Away
6. Blondie
7. The Purdie Shuffle
8. Forever And A Day
9. But A Fool
10. Bedroom Eyes
11. Ma Belle

CD Review: BB & The Blues Shacks ~ Businessmen

image_manager__rex_artList_more_ccd11108-frontBB & The Blues Shacks
Businessmen
Crosscut Records

This is the long-awaited seventh album from BB and the Blues Shacks, who are based in Hildesheim, Germany. This is a band that means business as they deliver blues that has been shaken but not stirred with a splash of soul and a good measure of rock n roll producing up beat tempo that gets your feet tapping.

The siblings Michael & Andreas Arlt are the backbone setting the tone of every track with vocals, harp and guitar. The support from Dennis Koeckstadt piano/organ; Henning Haurken Bass and new drummer Jochen Reich adds the depth of textures with the added fullness of sound that horns provide thanks to No Blow No Show making the sound an ultimate listening treat.

The opening track Out Of Tears with its keyboard introduction that wells up setting its musical stall out, this is an album that is being recorded to entertain you with its upbeat jam-packed explosion of rock n roll textures.

This is full of voluptuous sounds from horns, keys, harmonica solo’s and the characteristic and instantly recognisable vocals from Michael Arlt on all the tracks bar the instrumental Buckle Up. This instrumental has a jazzy feel and there is some great interplay between the musicians especial between guitar and organ.

The title track is full of luscious vocals that and the horns and guitar make this work with the lyrics giving this track a rougher feel, this is not a celebration of making devilish deal but ironic in fact he is a rubbish businessman.

The album of fifteen tracks has one cover, the original material all though has a familiar vibe that is definitely sit back, relax and chill music, there is nothing to confuse, challenge or really sit up and listen. That said it is an album which is satisfying to the ear and has a real feel-good ambiance. Closing with Goodbye Everybody is a fitting finale to a classy outfit that we will want to hear again very soon.

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

Track Listing
1. Out Of Tears
2. Gimme This, Gimme That
3. Take My Name
4. Businessmen
5. Buckle Up (instrumental)
6. Lovin Might
7. Pardon Me
8. Rain All Down My Way
9. Who’s crying Now
10. It Was A Dream
11. Hot Pants
12. Green Eye
13. I Overpaid My Dues
14. Blues Shadow
15. Goodbye Everybody

Band Members
Michael Arlt : harmonica/vocals
Andreas Arlt: guitar
Dennis Koeckstadt: piano/organ
Henning Hauerken: electric & upright bass
Jochen Reich: drums

The No Blow No Show Horns (all tracks except 5 & 10)
Tom Muller: tenor & baritone saxophone
Stefan Gossinger: trumpet
Martin Grunzweig:trombone

CD Review: Mojo Makers ~ Devils Hands

gallery-templatevorlagemojomakers_devilshands<strong>Mojo Makers
Devils Hands
Hypertension Music

 

 
Devils Hands, is the follow-up album to Wait Till The Morning released in 2013, this young blues band from Denmark who are making a distinctive sound that is the blues, are not afraid to experiment and add dollops and twists of a myriad of styles, tempo’s and textures in an album that has eleven original toe-tapping tracks. Throughout the album you can pick up the influences from the 1960’s & 70’s with hints of The Doors, Led Zepplin and delta bluesmen including the mighty Leadbelly There is throughout out the album a subtle layer of contemporary rock/ R’n’B driven music added to the basic blues line; while always staying true to the blues/gospel sound they are creating on this album, this gives an energy with the rawness tamed.

The opening track Come On Brother; has a gospel/holler feel to the tempo and the haunting ‘A Capella’ vocals at the beginning of the track before the guitar joins in and some mesmerising drumming so that the track moves along taking you deep into the bayou. There are lots of changes in shape and structures as demonstrated on Howl Away reggae beat but still the blues must be bleggae demonstrated how interconnected music that has its roots implanted into the past of our tribal memories, whether Irish, African or Danish!.
We have hints of Jazz on Fly on Baby and love the clicking finger in the intro and subtle keyboard sound with a strong bass line, showing the versatility of a sound that refuses to tame and stay in its allotted box. The title track Devils Hands, has a gospel feel and if you close your eyes you can imagine with the clapping of the hands Africans toiling trapped in slavery picking cotton this is emotional blues.

Like your blues with a bucket load of rock then they deliver this with strong riffs from the guitar on tracks including Man Fire Soul, Indian Woman and Slight Return, they are all different and the dirty guitar of southern rock with slide on Slight Return is a fitting finale to the album which is full of contrasts making it an interesting listen.

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

CD Review: Tristan Mackay ~ Wire and Wood

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Tristan Mackay
Wire and Wood
Battered Hat Records

 
 
 
Tristan Mackay’s second album Wire and Wood builds on the success that this talented, charismatic singer song writer has been achieving since in 2010 when he was discovered busking by Grammy award-winning producer Martin Leavan. Since that life-changing day he has gathered around him friends in the music industry and a phalanx of fans ensuring that when crowd funding for this album he raised twelve thousand pounds in two weeks.

Wire and Wood the title shows how the guitar is an extension of his soul, the instrument is part of his body, and he uses it as the instrument to emotionally support and enhance is melodic tenor vocals.

He has been compared to Mark Knopfler, John Myer and Jeff Buckley, the reality is this is a young independent man who is ploughing his own style and it is a furrow that you will want to follow. Every track on the album is powerful, not in a loud way but as a message that fits many a mood and is a gentle tonic to the trouble, stressed or worried mind. The title track Wire and Wood is about a battered loved, and cherished acoustic guitar and like many tracks on the album can be heard whenever you get out and see entertaining soft spoke Tristan live. Black Sheep has a cheeky guitar intro, we all have been naughty at times but it is Tristan who can encapsulate falling off the family tree into a melodic song full of gentleness and that honesty gained from acknowledging what we have all done in the past.

Ending the album with Lullaby For Layla, is perfect with its gentle goodnight in this soothing song encapsulating in under two minutes that raw emotion of overwhelming love that he has for his new born daughter.

My favourite track is A Kind of Blue, with its jazz undertones thanks to brushing up the jazz on the drums and an intimate atmosphere is created so that you feel he is singing just for you. This is the track that you just want to sit back, take a sip of a drink and let the sound which is dipped in musical honey sooth the stresses of the day away.

Tristan is a wordsmith, the lyrics are poetry in their own right the guitar accompaniment adds that living dimension like a river flowing through your veins so that you really connect to this true singer/songwriter who crosses the spectrum of music the bottom line is it is very, very good and speaks to you on very many levels.

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

Track Listing
You Win Again
I’ll Be Your’s Tonight
If I Told You
Wire & Wood
The Wine & Me
A Kind Of Blue
Black Sheep
Two Of A Kind
This Old Heart
Lullaby For Layla

CD Review: Glas ~ From The Blues To Your Shoes

glas

Glas
From The Blues To Your Shoes
Independent

 

 
Glas, a popular local band who are out gigging in pubs a clubs on a regular basis and are invited back again and again, they were a hit at Tenby Blues Festival, so they are doing something right and the band have now delivered their second album their growing phalanx of fans have been clamouring for. Glas is Welsh for Blue and are from Blackwood, South Wales the home of The Manic Street Preachers and that is where the commonality ends as the trio of friends deliver a mix of R’n’B, Country, Rock N’ Roll, and Blues they play the music they love.

The album is a perfect showcase for the band with James Oliver larger than life not be in the centre of the stage but is central to the band with his guitar skills, whether playing slide or electric he sets the tempo and gives the band a clarity of sound. Up front is bassist David John whose vocals are clear but at times lacks emotion and tonal texture; ensuring that these two outgoing musicians are contained in a musical form and shape is the job for drummer Huw Hannon and he does this well.

The opening track is one of the self-penned numbers on the album and has quickly become a staple of the set list, The Sky Turned Red And My Face Turned Blue this seven minute track gives every musician a chance to show their skill, this is a track that would have been improved with some judicious editing as the individual parts work but as a whole it is just too long. Whereas Fleur-de-Lys Rag another self-penned number has a tempo that sets your feet tapping a fitting ditty for a local village. She’s Long Gone has some good bass playing and the beat drives the track along with some timely intervention from James on guitar. Robert Johnson’s; Dust My Broom is a permanent fixture on any of their set lists as James has the chance to demonstrate his skills with the slide in his lead break.

This low-budget independently produced album, From The Blues To Your Shoes has been requested by their growing band of fans and they will be delighted to be able to take a little bit of Glas home with them as it does showcase this local band so that you can hear the essence of the Glas sound far and wide as the last track says Glas are Ready, Willing and Able to play.

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

Track Listing
The Sky Turned Red And My Face Turned Blue
Revenge Freak
Fleur-de-lys Rag
The Causing Of It All
She’s Long Gone
Dust My Broom
Shake Rattle & Roll
Shake Your Money Maker
Sea Cruise
Ready, Willing And Able