Boogaloo have a regular Wednesday night slot at this venue – note for diaries changing to Monday in 2015. Tonight they have delivered a duo where both are superb guitarists, vocalists and write pretty good lyrics so to bring them together is a perfect harmonious match.
The venue has a very appropriate atmosphere for blues acoustic, close up and personal. They hit the ground running with Guy on vocals and the two guitarists providing some interesting and delightful interplay. Then Ben took the lead with stellar slide guitar and the lyrics paint a perfect lyric picture. The evening format was lots of interesting conversation from either Ben or Guy and then the other took the lead, then they each had a solo slot Ben finishing the first half and Guy during the second set. They definitely have created a perfect musical recipe that works with every note and chord played; so a big thank-you to Tony Malloy who suggested and persuaded them that it would be a fantastic project, so with a few select gigs under their belts they are planning a tour next November 2015.
So what did they play? These are some of the highlights of two sets filled from beginning to end with delight! Guy’s mandolin delivered a mesmerising take on the well-known John Estes’s Going To Brownsville with a haunting accompaniment from Ben on blues harp. The guitars were then a howlin’ with a characteristic delivery of Blind Blake’s Police Dog Blues. At this point Guy had a rest though apparently off to learn new lyrics interesting or was this just the continuation of the friendly banter between these two musicians who obviously have a close and trusting friendship. Ben opened with Billie Holiday’s Billie’s Blues which was an opportunity for Ben to showcase some of his intricate and smooth sounding guitar work. Then we were in for a treat Doc Watson’s Deep River Blues, a very influential number for Ben, as he explained at the beginning that on the original album Doc Watson explains how he gets the layers of sound from the guitar, tonight we were treated to a mini lesson as Ben explains how with practice days and weeks can go by as you get the bass and Rhythm nice and solid before jumping in and adding the melody on top his repartee certainly entertained. Then on to one of his own numbers ‘Such a Southern Place To Be’ this was a really biographical solo set from Ben as we got to know a snapshot of his life, influences done in an interesting, relaxed and informal style. The concluding number of the first set Guy joined Ben and then they had a break.
With the audience back in their seats they wanted the second set to start sooner rather than later, they were rewarded with a Spikedrivers number with a subtle touch to the music as the guitars and vocals were delivered by a duo. Then it was time for Guy to have his solo moment. Starting his three numbers with Cotton Is King as he had been requested to play this thought-provoking Tortora number, in fact unplugged the words shout out clearer than ever; it is one of my favourites so was delighted. Then we were treated to the first public airing of two new songs, hence the cryptic comment about Guy learning lyrics! The first one ‘Bone Yard’ about visiting graveyards on a trip to Mississippi of a blues legend. As ever with Guy, the lyrics were thought-provoking with lines like “Six Strings in the ground”. The second of the two was Boweevil, percussive acoustic number full of technique and the subtle inclusion of slide and tonal texture. With the two back on stage we had a stream of beautiful music including JJ Cale number, Call Me The Breeze to the delight of many who were sitting back and letting the music absorb into the lexicon of gigs I am so glad I went to in 2014! All too soon it was the last number and they had another instrument to give an airing to we had already enjoyed a selection of guitars and their differing tones and styles now we had the Ben Tyzack Kazoo with his personal adaptation a Brasso tin attached ( There are other metal cleaning products available!) with some audience participation. Everyone left with a spring in their step and loved the music floating in their heads and looking forward to the tour being planned in November 2015.