The Ben Poole Trio ///– Live ‘19

Please Note: This is republished from 19th January 2020
Guitar playing to the fore on the new live album from steadily rising blues star

There are different approaches to recording live albums; in some cases, the approach is to treat fans to a different experience, hire in a sharp horn section, perhaps add some sassy singers and give old numbers a new coat of paint and an extra lease of life.  Ben Poole has gone down a different, more minimalist route, losing his keyboard player and paring his band down to a trio.  It’s a bold move, particularly as, without a large back catalogue, he’s also plumped for a double CD set.  Does he pull it off I hear you ask?  Well, yes, just about.  There’s certainly a lot here for lovers of guitar playing; definitely no shortage of soloing – although it occasionally strays into self-indulgence, there is some lovely fluid and punchy playing. Fans who like to hear a guitar player improvise live will doubtless really enjoy this. Ben Poole sounds at his best, I feel, when he’s going for the slow burn and plays some classic blues licks, as on one of the standout tracks on disc one, the classic Freddie King signature number “Have You Ever Loved a Woman”, where he takes it way down and leaves more space between notes, slowly building up the intensity.  The album mainly features songs from his two studio albums, opening up with one of the stronger tracks from  2018’s “Anytime You Need Me”, the riff-driven chugging rock of “Take It No More”, setting the scene for what follows, mainly mid-tempo blues-rock sung quite soulfully (the guitarist is in fine voice throughout) punctuated by long solos and underpinned by the reliably steady backbeat laid down by drummer and producer Wayne Proctor and unfussy bass playing of Steve Amadeo.

To be honest the best numbers are the covers, Jude Cole’s “Start the Car” helping to keep the show on the road early on, a song that really suits the guitarist’s singing and rhythmic telecaster playing.  Jeff Healy’s “I Think I Love You Too much” is another standout. The recordings are drawn from three gigs performed in intimate settings and the sound reflects that, relatively raw and unprocessed, providing listeners with a front of stage audio experience.  The two-CD set is a very good representation of the guitarist’s current live show and it will be interesting to see what direction his guitar playing and songwriting takes him in future (Ben Poole Live – 2022?).  It certainly whets the appetite for his forthcoming live appearances, in particular, the intriguing double act with Kirk Fletcher at the 100 Club on 19th January.

Great Listening – a worthwhile addition to your collection 

Tracklisting

CD ONE

  1. Intro
  2. Take It No More
  3. Win Over You
  4. Start The Car
  5. Have You Ever loved A Woman
  6. The Question Why
  7. Further On Down The Line
  8. Don’t Cry For Me


CD TWO

  1. Lying Too Me
  2. I Think I LOve You Too Much
  3. Found Out Teh Hard Way
  4. Stay At Mine
  5. Anytime You Need Me
  6. Time Might Never Come
The Ben Poole Trio ///– Live ‘19

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