Catfish are Bound For Better Days

Catfish are Bound For Better Days

Catfish are Bound For Better Days a wonderful acoustic EP with some excellent transfers from their electric counterparts.

Bluesdoodles rating: 4 Doodle Paws – a wonderful acoustic EP with some excellent transfers from their electric counterparts.

Catfish have been making waves in the British blues scene for a couple of years with their live shows, and the blues with some rock album called Broken Man. On their last album, Burning Bridges, they lived up to their UK and British Blues Awards and increased the rock portions but steeped it all in the blues first. During Covid, the band was approached by Blues Maastricht Festival in Holland to do a full band live stream…and the rather excellent, Exile: Live in Lockdown was born.

You can only like and respect someone when Matt and Paul Long said in a Bluesdoodles interview which I have paraphrased here: “Blues is a strong influence on the whole band, you can hear it in the guitar, and how we write the music it is not just about a chord sequence. Blues, whatever your sound, is influenced by people. You have to keep sound and lyrics real and relevant or you just become a pastiche artist.” Now that is someone who understands the complex and beautiful genre that is the blues.

With live shows still off the menu, and Paul and Matt living in the same house for most of the lockdown, they continued Catfish’s live streams and these were done as an acoustic duo from their home studio in Sussex. Such was the popularity with the fans, they have decided to release five of these acoustic readings (four original and one cover) on an EP due for release on Friday 10 June 2022 and they’ll be doing a launch show at Temperance in Leamington Spa with further acoustic dates to be confirmed. (You can pre-order the EP at www.catfishbluesband.co.uk/shop)

The opening track, Broken Man was an eleven minutes Joey B style treat on Exile and is now trimmed back to only nine and a half minutes! The delightful bluesy guitar intro transfers well to acoustic, especially with the carefully inserted slide. It actually makes it more bluesy and when it’s time for the heavy riff, the piano replaces the Hammond and the ringing acoustic chords still work and work very well as the chorus and bridge, with father and son sharing vocals, even adds a touch of gospel blues. The piano solo has a genius bass line behind it and then a middle section is backed by bongos, which is better than you may think…then the acoustic guitar solo is a thing of beauty before the dash to the reprise of the intro…this is track is reason enough to buy the EP and is easily worth the ludicrously cheap £6 they are asking.

When BB Sings The Blues from their tribute EP gets an acoustic outing here as they honour the great BB King with an original, story focussed song. Gentle piano intro that has a jazz base and the vocal joins in with a suitable, almost, crooner tone. Once the bass and percussion comes in, it is blues as the acoustic phrasing affirms. It tells BB’s story as a salute and stays away from saccharine…the acoustic, low down solo is lovely. It won’t get you dancing but it is a clever acoustification of a strong ballad. Better Days in its original form was a happy lilting SRV touched song with tasty Hammond colouring the song behind the verses and riff and then a solo to make you smile before the guitar gets a turn to play with the harmonies and throw in a reggae bit of chord work. The lilt is maintained as the piano and guitars bounce along and the vocals fly along…the short piano solo is studied and clever, the acoustic solo is excellent and the reggae section is maintained and the smiles stay too. The Big Picture is familiar from the excellent Burning Bridges album where, in full electric band mode, it has an intro that still makes me think it could have been on Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll as Blackmore, despite his classic leanings, was a very bluesy player. Acoustically it still has weight and, whilst the electric will always be my favourite, this clever conversion is still worthy, especially the brilliant guitar and bass solos. Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word is the Elton John song…I’m sure I’m in a minority but I have never ‘got’ him or understood his popularity but, in the interests of objectivity, I forced myself to listen to Elton’s original as he is one of Paul and Matt’s favourite musicians and they have a particular fondness for this one. In their hands, it still doesn’t do anything for me I’m afraid. That’s not to say that the piano, the vocal and the superb but very short ‘Spanish’ guitar solo aren’t good…they are.

Four excellent acoustic renditions of some very good songs make this an EP worth every penny, plus one cover that a lot of people will like. As I said, the acoustic reading of Broken Man makes it essential with the others a brilliant bonus.

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Catfish are Bound For Better Days

Track listing:
Broken Man
When BB Sings The Blues
Better Days
The Big Picture
Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word


Musicians:
Matt Long: Guitar & Vocals
Paul Long: Piano & Vocals
Adam Pyke: Bass
Kev Hickman: Percussion

Connect with Catfish across SOCIAL MEDIA
Official Website
Facebook
Instagram
YouTube

(iTunes, after the run-through of Catfish’s Burning Bridges and Exile, stayed very blue and took me back to 1939 and The Cats and the Fiddle exceedingly brilliant I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water.)

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