Bluesdoodles Quoted on Back Page
Tonight in front of the instantly recognisable Convent backdrop of the altar, if you have ever attended this gem of a venue or streamed a live show via netgig.co.uk, where the music can be heard straight into your home and the quality from experience is phenomenal. Tonight was one chair, one musician and one National Guitar who proceeded to captivate the audience with a delightful mix of stories, and blues music that was full of rootsy charm.
We were treated to The Long Black Train, from his album Utrecht Sessions, and inspired by his early time with George ‘Harmonica’ Smith with a driving talkin’ blues shuffle picking up the clickety-clack of the rail track as the story unfolds. Like the rest of the numbers we were to hear tonight this is self-penned full of originality and lyrics that create an atmosphere whilst tipping a hat to a wide range of past masters of the blues. His tone and tempo varies and you are drawn into the musical magic that is the power of Dubb’s acoustic magic. The audience immediately connected to the story about 1 in 3 people being crazy – if it not someone sitting next to you then look at yourself. The song Your Bread Ain’t Done which is a Texan saying for people that are, as we might say, a sandwich or two short of a picnic! Ending as Albert King might have played it a fitting reminder that this King covered the song many years ago. Doug shared with the audience in front of him and cross the live streaming audience that for him the blues is music that is about overcoming adversity. Laughing to keep you from crying and most importantly being able to laugh at yourself. Black Nights all about should you stay or go in a relationship with a melodic intro leading into the howl of ‘Oh Black Nights’ as the emotion of relationships spilled from the guitar into the shape of the vocals. The crowd warmed to Doug as he shared his philosophical thoughts between numbers providing a context for the show. A fascinating insight into what motivated this singer songwriter as he created music that is both rooted in the past as he stepped into the footsteps of so many early bluesmen and at the same time fresh, modern and relevant for today’s issues. As he slipped on the slide we heard first Unmarked Road, with an upbeat tempo and some great solo breaks showcasing is stylish use of the slide as he continued with Raylene with that twist of Rock ‘n’ Roll the baby of the blues. Closing the packed first set with Big City Woman a Mississippi hill country number inspired by the likes of Mississippi Fred McDowell and Junior Kimbrough “… I just modernize it up!” This number is about a women who talked so much you make me tired; we were definitely not tired of Doug we all sat back and marveled at what we had just heard and delighted that there was more to come.
The second set was crammed full of more delights that Doug played including Vanetta about a tall long-legged women with a beautiful smile from his latest album Exactly Like This. He mixed up the beat with some rag-time with Zu Zu Woman and My Loves Grown Cold inspired by Blind Willie McTell; making the guitar weep and wail with his exquisite slide technique. A song all about overcoming adversity Brand New Eyes; from his album of the same name is about looking at things from a new perspective a philosophical song that is powerful. We heard about Dubb’s Bucket Theory that if a bucket has one or more holes in it due to life’s adversity the love will drain away and the solution is to fill the holes in not demand more love and this converted into Welcome In Your Home using the bucket theory to great effect.
It is quite incredible the range of sounds and depth of tone that Doug teased out of his resonator guitar with no effects just the skills of one man and his guitar plus a brass slide and a capo truly one man and his guitar. Doug MacLeod, never plays the same set twice and the same song the same way as he told us his playing is Exactly Like This. Tonight live we heard music that entertained, made us laugh, cry, reflect and feel happy; he is the real deal story telling bluesman the guitar playing second fiddle to the lyrics. Entertainment at its best follow the LINK to NETGIG to stream in your home NOW!
Doug MacLeod says “I never plan a theme for my albums. But I believe this album is different”. Doug has lots to tell you but the album and read them – it will be worth it! And the eleven self-penned tracks are a great listening experience.
Opening with Rock It Till The Cows Come Home a 1950’s rockin’ music number that encapsulates the structure and soul of this Louis Jordan inspired track; it is a feel good, put a smile on your face, opening track a fantastic way to start an album that Doug himself believes is a journey of tracks tipping their musical hats to the many musical influences that have shaped Doug’s music. We have a jazz guitar vibe that gives the middle of the track real shape combined with adroit lyrics of Too Many Misses For Me.
Doug is a blues player that sings and writes the songs telling stories he wants to share with you. Ain’t It Rough opens with talking blues as the story unfolds against the rhythmic beat of the drum and Doug’s voice; the country music picks up the voice gets more melodic on a great country blues tale with twist of humor. Then that change of tempo that is a theme with a driving blues number Vanetta; you just instantly connect and think of John Lee Hooker. Now to keep the interest going on the ride home with the last five tracks; can he maintain the momentum achieved? It is a resounding YES! Ridge Runner, a classy instrumental full of twist and turns has a country fair blues feel with wash board and the underlining bass line which picks up the beat and improvises again picking up a gently jazz feeling. Then that contrast with Doug’s vocals shining above the guitar as he delivers a stripped down direct contrast to the instrumental, this really brings the quality of his voice to the fore and gets your attention. Heaven’s The Only Place the penultimate track following a blues take on rock N’ roll again is stripped bare with vocals that are full of yearning and soulfulness leading to the closing number You Got It Good (And That Ain’t Bad) ending the album with a big bluesy shout, with piano shuffle on the drums and his vocals that wrap around the musical framework a great number to leave a lasting memory of an album that is a listen to again and often as Doug delivers blues that is modern, interesting and listenable.
The album incorporates many influences and the result is Exactly Like This; this his third album is full of music driven shapes and textures creating a sound that is full of key changes, beats and tempos that keeps your musical ear appreciatively engaged.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD NINE doodle paws out of TEN ….
1. Rock It Till The Cows Come Home
2. Too Many Misses For Me
3. Find Your Right Mind
4. Ain’t It Rough
6. Serious Doin’ Woman
7. Ridge Runner
8 New Morning Road
10. Heaven’s The Only Place
11. You Got It Good (And That Ain’t Bad)
Doug MacLeod (Vocals, Guitars, Songwriter)
Jimi Batt (Drums)
Danny Croy (Bass)
Michael Thompson (Keyboards)