Mudlow take a Bad Turn

Mudlow take a Bad Turn

Mudlow take a Bad Turn a wonderfully inventive and satisfying album which, after a few listens, allows a full appreciation of the layers the band sprinkle liberally across the songs. Lots to enjoy so don’t dismiss it after one cursory stream…give it a few run-throughs and you won’t be disappointed.

Bluesdoodles rating: 4 Doodle Paws – a wonderfully inventive and satisfying album which, after a few listens, allows a full appreciation of the layers the band sprinkle liberally across the songs. Lots to enjoy so don’t dismiss it after one cursory stream…give it a few run-throughs and you won’t be disappointed.

Brighton based band, Mudlow, have been entertaining audiences for over twenty years; they supported Seasick Steve, amongst others, and have built a loyal following with their blues-based, power trio approach to ‘Americana’. On their latest album, Bad Turn, they keep the grit and dark edges, add some funk and deliver a solid set of ten songs that deliver on the promise of their Welcome to Mudlow County release I latched onto only recently, although it actually surfaced back in 2012. They also do a sleazy version of Ace of Spades that I think Lemmy would approve of….it’s the b-side of their latest single, Red Rock.

With stated influences such as Junior Kimbrough, Tony Joe White, Jerry Reed and Tom Waits, you can guess the blues mix is going to be eclectic. (Plus, when the album is on a label called Whiskey Preachin’ Records, how could I resist?)

Opening the CD is the very descriptive Lower Than Mud. It is a tale of ejection, rejection and broken legs…it also has the immortal line “sitting in your underpants feeling blue”! Set to a lovely, bluesy guitar intro for the gruff, apt vocals to expand the melody and the band join in to make it whole: the guitar solo is great fun with some clever runs built-in. The single, Red Rock, starts off like great glam-rock of years gone by, but soon becomes heavy, sleazy blues with the drums and bass pinning down the dirty riff as the vocals and guitar revel in the melodies. Another tasty guitar solo that is a bit short but packs in some true feeling. One Bad Turn turns the wick down as the guitar caresses and gentle vocal lull you and you sway to the heavy country blues feel with the subtle guitar crying out for a solo. Further Down the Road is back to weighty, fuzzed blues but with the lead guitar in counterpoint clarity behind the verses and in the fractured but crafted solo. 

Three Crows in a Row has non-crow birds and frogs chirping (I think) before a tasty acoustic intro leads to a short but effective song. Electric strumming brings to Clean Slate: a mid-paced garage-y blues that, like most of the lyrics, sounds as if the band were from the American rather than the English South…no matter, they are fitting for the soundtrack they’re attached to. Crocodile Man is a blend of southern rock, country and blues and is a cleverly put together song with semi-spoken verses that work well. The guitar solo is another too short fractious piece of genius. Tobias’ vocals hint a bit of Leslie West here. The Last Rung Down to Hell, strangely, shares the title with their 2017 album of the same name which didn’t have the titular track…it takes a familiar structure of chord work as the complex tale revolves around drinking. More spoken verse and raucous chorus joined by an off-key, very short solo that is a treat before the pace picks up for the second half.

So Long Lee (Redux) is a “redux” as it is an updated version from the Welcome to Mudlow County release. The original was rougher than this and used a massive drum intro whereas this better, in my humble, version has a great guitar intro instead that makes it bluesier without losing the feel. The drums still pierce, the bass is brilliant and the solo inventive as ever as the essence remains true.

The final track, Sundown, is acoustic led and, again, uses clever readings of country blues but brought into a heavier and modern setting. Hints of Oh Well hidden in some of the acoustic phrases but that’s fine by me.

This is a very inventive and satisfying album after a few listens which allows a full appreciation of the layers the band sprinkle liberally across the songs. Lots to enjoy so don’t dismiss after one cursory stream…give it a few run throughs and you won’t be disappointed.

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Mudlow take a Bad Turn

Track listing:
Lower Than Mud
Red Rock
One Bad Turn
Further Down the Road
Three Crows in a Row
Clean Slate
Crocodile Man
The Last Rung Down to Hell
So Long Lee (Redux)
Sundown


Musicians:
Tobias Mudlow: guitar, vocals
Matt Latcham: drums
Paul Pascoe: bass

Produced by Paul Pascoe

Mudlow are touring:
June 2nd – Red Rooster, Thetford
June 3rd – The Chambers, Folkestone
June 9th – Prince Albert, Brighton
(Also appearing at Bahia (4th June) and Orange Blossom Festival (5th June) in Germany.)

Connect with Mudlow across SOCIAL MEDIA
Official Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
YouTube

(iTunes took me to a little known American rock band with a great sense of humour (or humor as they would say) called My Son The Bum…the title of my selected tracks sum it up: Nuckin’ Futz and the more subtle Denile, as in “Denial is a river in Egypt!”)

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