The Terraplane Blues Band jump on Stepping Stones

The Terraplane Blues Band jump on Stepping Stones

The Terraplane Blues Band jump on Stepping Stones - a great listen, a great debut and I hope the first full release of many.

Bluesdoodles rating: 3 Doodle Paws – Bluesdoodles rating: 3 Doodle Paws – a great listen, a great debut and I hope the first full release of many.

I love already the band that uses a Robert Johnson song (about a car) as part of their name and can count another Robert (Plant) as a ‘sponsor’…The Terraplane Blues Band however hail from Bristol rather than the southern states. (Interesting (?) fact, poppy ‘You make Me Feel Like Dancing’ Leo Sayer was a member of a band of the same name in the 60s!) They have established a significant fan base locally and came to wider attention with the release, and subsequent airplay, of their E.P.,  Midnight Train, which came out in May 2020. The best way I can sum their sound up is to ask you to imagine early country blues electrified and blended with the 60s British Blues Boom with the odd visit to Chicago and the southern deltas…no mean feat for a band that is closer to the Avon delta that may have mudflats but is mainly occupied by huge car transport quays and parks.

The band now have a full-length album ready to further build on that initial reputation and a dozen songs on Stepping Stones, show a skilful blues band that deserves a wider audience…shot through with traditional blues influences, and the odd 60s feel, it also gives the band an identity of their own.

The opening track, Highway 61, isn’t the revisited Dylan song, but it does reference Wyoming to New Orleans road…unless they’ve renamed the M32! It starts with some nice harp and neat picked riffing and builds into a varied, Stones-y, Kingly song.

My Malaise is very delta as the slide introduces and bounces happily in and around the percussion and harp. The Stones reappear with a bit of a Jagger-y harp and ‘…No Satisfaction’ riff. Get Along is all-new with old woven through in the best style of modern blues. Lyrically and musically it has its roots in the 50s blues but is now, and irresistible. Rattlesnake Blues starts Gallagher, moves into Stones with some DC styled snake analogies and is fun with the rolling snare, interjecting harp backing the riff nicely. The harp solo keeps it nice and bluesy as the lady transmogrifies from a rattlesnake to a queen bee and then a mean red spider, paying dues to similar titles and still innuendo-laden…in the best possible taste.

Pick Myself Up is porch styled blues: brushed snare, a harp that talks and a rhythm and style that is rooted in the 30s but is new in these guys’ capable hands. The guitar solo is clever, considered and fits perfectly. Don’t Do Me Wrong would be a hit on any jukebox in the 60s as their R’n’B side comes to the fore…imagine a premium Feelgood song at a slower pace with slighter more subtle guitar.

Night Bus has a great intro that will have you saying “sounds like…”, but the cleverly dropped notes at the end make it work and it builds into a good time R’n’B song about err, a bus that travels at night. Ain’t Had No Lovin’ has a drum backed great bass solo as an intro as Feelgoody riffs and a neat guitar solo draw you in and, despite the grammar, makes for a song that is pure fun even if Nick is all alone.

North Street Blues is back to pure blues with lovely slide as the band prove that you can write modern blues about Bedminster and remain authentic and even have a beer in the Spotted Cow. The Ballad of Ragtime Texas sums up its style in that title…a story of a real country blues musician called Henry Thomas who performed as Ragtime Texas. Dylan, Grateful Dead and the Lovin’ Spoonful are among the artists that have covered his songs, and the Terraplanes do him justice here.

The penultimate and title track, Stepping Stones, is more carefully crafted new, old blues with some neat lyrical references peppered through the story. A nice bluesy riff, harp and bounce carries it to a phased sounding guitar solo that works well.

The Lonesome Crow wraps up the album with a guitar that may purposely hint at another crow based song…regardless it’s a sort of meaty blues ballad that is filled out by some nice keyboard work and a fitting guitar solo.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable album, packed with blues and R’n’B (as in proper R’n’B) and delivered with skill. If I hadn’t moved away from Kingswood, I’d have ordered tickets because I just know that this band will be a blast live.

The Terraplane Blues Band jump on Stepping Stones

Track listing:
Highway 61
My Malaise
Get Along
Rattlesnake Blues
Pick Myself Up
Don’t Do Me Wrong
Night Bus
Ain’t Had No Lovin’
North Street Blues
The Ballad of Ragtime Texas
Stepping Stones
The Lonesome Crow

Musicians:
Nick Scrase – Guitar/Vocals
Eduardo Allen – Harmonica
Tom Turner – Drums
Andy Wood – Bass

Recorded at Foel Studio, Wales and Pirate Studios Bristol

Stepping Stones is released on March 4th

The band have the following shows lined up in and around Bristol plus a London show:

March

Sat 5th 9.00pm THE OLD STILLAGE, REDFIELD, Bristol

Tues 8th 9.00pm BRISTOL BLUES CLUB, Bristol

Sat 12th 9.00pm THE STAR, FISHPONDS, Bristol

April

Sat 9th 9.00pm THE SIREN’S CALLING, Portishead

Thurs 14th 10.00pm GAZ’S ROCKIN’ BLUES CLUB, London

Fri 15th 9.00pm THE OLD MILL, Portishead

Fri 22nd 9.00pm THE ROLLESTON ARMS, Swindon

Sat 23rd 9.00pm KINGSDOWN VAULTS, Bristol

Sat 30th 9.00pm THE ISCOED TAFARN, Newport, Wales

May

Fri 6th 9.00pm THE FORK & ALE, Weston Super Mare

Sat 7th 9.00pm THE BLACK HORSE, KINGSWOOD, Bristol

Sat 14th THE BRIT BAR, Weston Super Mare

Sat 21st 9.00pm THE TWO BREWERS, Chepstow

Fri 27th 9.00pm THE OLD STILLAGE, Bristol

June

Sat 4th 9.00pm THE PLOUGH, KINGSWOOD, Bristol

Sat 10th 8.00pm THE STAR, FISHPONDS, Bristol

July

Sat 2nd 9.00pm THE OLD STILLAGE, REDFIELD, Bristol

Sat 9th 9.00pm THE MINERS SOCIAL CLUB, Bristol

Connect with The Terraplane Blues Band across SOCIAL MEDIA
Official Website
Facebook
Instagram
YouTube

( iTunes brought Terry Reid (a very underestimated and forgotten British vocalist with many many tales to tell about Zeppelin and Purple amongst others) and the ‘Superlungs Anthology’ reminding me how good he is and his cover of Pinball Wizard is rather good too.)

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