Midnight Call of the Blues with Fran McGillivray Band

Midnight Call of the Blues with Fran McGillivray Band

Midnight Call of the Blues with
Fran McGillivray Band


A new release from Fran McGillivray Band is always a welcome way to bring in a New Year, Midnight Call is just the album to sit and chill out with as the winter grinds it’s relentless mix of cold and bleak days. The eleven tracks break the January blues, with a mix of blues that blow a gentle breeze of musical hope. Ten tracks written by McGillivray and Burke with the last track closing out the album returning to the roots of the blues with Robert Johnson’s Walkin’ Blues.

The trio craft a sound that is easy on the ear and fills the speakers with the waterfall of textures that gradually builds and the melody harmonises perfectly with Fran’s vocal tones.  Opening with Hard Workin Woman, the album sets down a marker. This is country blues with an edge to the lyrics, percussion from Roger Nunn that steps out the beat and Mike Burke’s guitar adds a sting to the hard-working vibe of the track. Four tracks in and I Gotta Know, by now the listener will feel they have got to know the band style and friendly approach to the blues very well. Fran’s vocals have a gentle caress as she questions I Gotta Know, there is a sadness, and the instrumentation reflects this with a country feel. This is music that will always please as the styles of acoustic all, shaken and stirred so that you are caressed with a whisper of the blues. The beat picks up with When When When, which makes a compelling sound. The title track has a Hawaiian guitar backdrop that augments the simple beauty of the rootsy vocals delivered by Fran. The empathy between the musicians shines through they have an innate understanding of the sound they are creating and how the layers of sound interact with each other. There is nothing harsh or jarring as the music washes over you, connecting to your music soul and acts as a healing caress. Every note is considered, every pause, breathe upping the tempo has been taken into consideration ensuring that every song works on its own or part of the album Midnight Call. Without the collective skill of Fran, Mike and Roger the album could have been whimsical and saccharin sweet. It is not it is a music that weaves together textures and wraps emotions of lost, hurt and loneliness into a cocoon of safety.

As the last wistful phrasing of Missed My Chance fades away, the tempo changes with a sultry jazz infused number that takes you to a smoke filled bar full of prohibition gin as we shake hands with Mister Blue. Closing out with Walkin’ Blues the context of the album is pulled together, blues is the dominant driving force from the hot countryside of the Southern States.

The skilful delivery of the eleven tracks, should not be a surprise to anyone as the trio are founder members of the legendary urban blues outfit; So Long Angel. As, Midnight Call of the Blues with the Fran McGillivray Band, you know this is an album that will be visited often with pure enjoyment of blues that are both simple and complex.

EIGHT pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Hard Working Woman
  2. Love and Regret
  3. Blood On Your Hands
  4. I Gotta Know
  5. When When When
  6. Midnight Call
  7. Missed My Chance With You
  8. Mister Blues
  9. End of the Road
  10. Get Back To Love
  11. Walkin Blues

CD Review – Some Luck – Fran McGillivray Band


“Some Luck” is a beautifully crafted CD from the cover design through to the tracks selected to create a complete and harmonious journey of music that takes us through all the emotional pathways of life. So though not traditional blues it is ensconced in the blues genre with the combination of the lyrics and the glorious finger-picking guitar style of Mike Burke. The opening track ‘Big Front Seat‘, is a jolly summertime fun which makes you want to pack a picnic and get out into the country with its country beat and texture. ‘Candle Burning‘ with its harmonica to the fore the guitar taking back place as Fran’s mellow, earthy voice is reflected by the short harmonica bursts creating a bluesy sound that is fresh and suits Fran’s vocals this is a complete song and look forward to hearing it live very soon. In the mix are some great standards including ‘Sitting on Top of The World‘, and ‘Last Fair Deal‘ that have been revamped so that they fit as comfortably as a warm pair of shoes into the repertoire of the band. The clever use of subtle percussion that is present throughout the album is found on a lovely slow-moving song ‘Going Real Slow’ , the percussion sets the pace and Mike and Fran follow the trail they leave creating a quiet, contemplative melody. This is an album that does not rely on clever gimmicks, but is stripped back so that the acoustic qualities of the instruments have centre stage and Fran can be herself and showcase her authentic tuneful voice that takes control of the lyrics and leads the listener into the tale being told. “Some Luck” works as an album and will fit it anyone’s collection if they love acoustic simplicity that is easy listening not because it blurs into the background but because it has that laid-back easy feel of country-blues.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of

Available from cdbaby

Catch them live at a gig and keep Music Live! Blues – Roots – Americana
Colourful mix of roots based music from this exciting, innovative band “These musicians are the real deal” David Hirst A3 Music

Friday 16th August Fran McGillivray Band – The Bentworth Blues Festival, The Star Inn, Bentworth, Alton, Hampshire GU34 5RBContact: Matt 01420 561224

Friday 30th August – Fran McGillivray Band, Skehan’s Bar 1 Kitto Road , SE14 5TW Contact Bill 0207 207 7134
9 -11pm – Free

Sun 1st Sep 2013 – Fran McGillivray and Mike Burke The Morden Arms, 1 Brand Street, Greenwich, London SE10 8SPContact: 020 8858 2189
4-6:30pm – Free

Tue 10th Sep 2013 – Fran McGillivray and Mike Burke – The Punch & Judy, 11 St. Stephen’s Street, Tonbridge, TN9 2ABContact: Keith Rule 01732 352896
9-11pm – Free

Sat 21st Sep 2013 – Fran McGillivray Band – East Grinstead Real Ale Festival, The Old Dunnings Mill, Dunnings Road, East Grinstead, W. Sussex RH19 4AT Contact: Jan 01342 326341
9-11pm – Free

Sun 22nd Sep 2013 – Fran McGillivray Band – The Red Lion Blues Club, The Red Lion, High Street, Old Town, Stevenage SG1 3VWContact: Trevor 07720 329130
9pm Free

Fri 27th Sep 2013 – Fran McGillivray and Mike Burke – Tartar Frigate, Harbour Street, Broadstairs, CT10 1EUContact: Mike Peters 07881 644816
9-11pm – Free

Fri 4th Oct 2013 – Fran McGillivray Band – The Original Sydenham Blues Club, The Golden Lion, 116 Sydenham Road, Sydenham SE26 5JXContact: Kelly O’Brien 07864 293 254
9-11pm – Free