Mick Simpson revisits The Slow Blues Sessions

Mick Simpson revisits The Slow Blues Sessions

Mick Simpson revisits The Slow Blues Sessions a wonderful album packed with skilful guitar playing throughout the eleven tracks

Bluesdoodles rating: 4 Doodle Paws – a wonderful album packed with skilful guitar playing throughout the eleven tracks that are indeed The Slow Blues Sessions…but they knit together very well and, while you may not get up and dance, your auditory organs will be entranced and guitar envy will bite.

Like buses, you wait for one and two come along…so it is with the talented guitarist Mick Simpson. Mick has been active on the music scene for over forty years and, in addition to some fine solo albums (2010 debut album, Hard Road is particularly notable), he has worked with Bill Wyman, Roger Waters, Tina Turner, Bryan Adams, Starship, Malaya Blue, Dave Hunt and Go West. His stated influences are rather tasty… Gary Moore, Peter Green, B.B. King, Django Reinhard, Jeff Beck and Robert Johnson.

My opening comment is due to this album, and the latest from Eva Carboni arrived together. Mick made a major contribution to Eva’s very good debut, Italia Square, and is back for her second release, Smoke and Mirrors. She also did a great vocal on Mick’s 2017 album Black Rain. However, it is his own The Slow Blues Sessions that is under discussion here. This is a collection of, you guessed, slower blues numbers from three of Mick’s significant solo releases…plus one brand new instrumental track.

Love Me Tonight is slow blues (but that’s the promise of the title) with the Gary feel…and the gentle vocal and subtle backing of bass, drums and keys all allow Mick’s considerable guitar skills to shine through. The between verse runs and the dazzling solos are reason enough to buy the album! You Gotta Change stays blue and moody, again allowing for some superb guitar runs and solos to really shine.

When the Sun Goes Down has hints of blues from long ago but is brought right up to date and electrified with some electrifying playing…some very subtle slide hides away but the sparkling and atmospheric solo more than makes up for it. Shelter from the Storm moves to acoustic and shows, admirably, that Mick can play that too…a mild country blues feel is reflected in the picked chord work but the electric volume work, acoustic slide and meaningful electric solo all combine to make this a many-layered blues song that needs a few listens to fully appreciate all of the clever elements.

A Father’s Son is Parisienne Walkways inspired, but played so well that comparisons become redundant and the guitar, tone and skill on this instrumental can be enjoyed for what they are. Unfinished Business starts very jazz with the piano pulling us into the smoky lounge while the vocals, organ and guitar are most definitely the blues. Somewhere Down the Line has a hint of gospel behind the guitar-led blues as Mick again demonstrates how to make those six strings speak volumes behind his vocals.

Sweet Lorraine isn’t anything to do with Uriah Heep or Nat King Cole, it is horny, string backed blues with tinges of jazz. Drowning in My Tears references Gary Moore’s Still Got The Blues which I take as a true tribute to this bluesman who has been and still is so influential…potent guitar pays due deference to the master across nine delightful minutes. Promised the Earth leans toward the Jeff Beck style and is still very definitely the blues as the solo alone will testify. The final track, Remember, is the promised new instrumental: it has an honesty about it from the sound of the pick on string, from the repeated Moore references through to the pure Mick soloing and the simple piano and drum backing, it all works very well.

I can hear some saying that a whole album of slow blues is a little too much and more variation would be nice…that may be true to a certain extent but, at the right time, for the right mood, this is the perfect soundtrack. Otherwise, sprinkle these excellent tracks through your blues playlists for guaranteed enjoyment.

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Mick Simpson revisits The Slow Blues Sessions

Track listing (source album):
Love Me Tonight (Hard Road)
You Gotta Change (Black Rain)
When the Sun Goes Down (Black Rain)
Shelter from the Storm (Hard Road)
A Father’s Son (Hard Road)
Unfinished Business (Unfinished Business)
Somewhere Down the Line (Hard Road)
Sweet Lorraine (Black Rain)
Drowning in My Tears (Unfinished Business) Promised the Earth (Black Rain)
Remember (New instrumental track)


Musicians:
As the tracks are drawn from a number of sources, suffice it to say that Mick is on guitar and vocals and I’m sure his long term producer and co-writer, Andy Littlewood, will have been involved

Connect with Mick Simpson across SOCIAL MEDIA
Official Website
Facebook
YouTube

(iTunes took me to a fascinating and excellent interpretation of JB Lenoir and Willie Dixon’s You Shook Me…Mick Taylor and Max Middleton turning it into a very bluesy, slide and piano drenched reading from an album called White Boy’s Blues Guitar from 1999. It is the best version I’ve ever come across…apart from Jeff Beck’s.)

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