Review: Review: Trev Turley shares those he will Cherish Ever by Tom Dixon
Are you sitting comfortably? Then let me tell you a true story about a would be guitarist who possessed a Kay’s Catalogue Telecaster copy who, at the age of fifteen, was asked to be a bass player in a local band. This youngster took up the challenge and, using a photograph of Roger Glover with his Fender Precision Bass, worked out a scale to create the neck and fret distances…yes, really, and then in his Dad’s shed sculpted a bass neck, adjusted the bridge for four strings and sawed off two of the six machine heads to make a Frankenbass, marked the inlays with pencil (renewed each night) and used it to wow the audiences at various North Eastern working mens’ clubs…OK to scare/horrify/shock the pre-bingo, blue rinse audiences but also entertain the younger, more music minded imbibers of cheap beer.
That completely true story is to sort of show my credentials: I understand the intricacies of the instrument, the intricacies and importance of the bass (and drums) to the sound and ‘completeness’ of a band, despite (usually) being out of the spotlight in every sense. So, as I listen and write about a fellow bass player who has entertained far more, far bigger audiences and done it with far more skill and ability than I ever had, I can appreciate the complexities and, perhaps, why he chose these songs.
My encounters with Trev’s playing are from the rather lovely Mojo Preachers (Man Made Monsters is reviewed on the Bluesdoodles site) and I said then that “The bass, the drums, the guitar and the keys need to be isolated and listened to…then you will truly appreciate what a sonic landscape awaits the listener.” Also in my collection is his work with Malaya Blue where he once again underpinned their sound with rock steady but imaginative bass playing.
Now the bad news: this release, called Cherish Ever, is limited to 100 numbered physical copies, and a few additional un-numbered ones still available through his Facebook page. Some of his previous recordings with the various bands named will provide the originals and can be found in the usual outlets.
To the music, and Trev has essentially written his autobiography with tracks from his fifty years treading the musical boards. Track one Black Coffee is from Trev’s Bare Bones Boogie Band days, albeit recorded afresh, and it is their take on the Ike and Tina Turner composition but inspired by the brilliant Humble Pie version. I have to say that this the next best thing to Steve Marriott’s: Joe Anderton does a great job on the vocals and the band are sparse yet weighty giving a rock solid base for the song to develop. the next track, House on the Hill, was one of Trev’s earlier bands known as Still. With the original member, Larry Homer and the delightful vocals of Yve Mary Barwood (she’s a Norfolk based songwriter with previous work on bandcamp) we get an acoustic ballad structure, a lovely electric guitar and piano solo to make this a laid back, yet powerful song of beauty. Trev’s bass, by the way, is so wide ranging, skilful and suitable I am full of envy…my Frankenbass never sounded like that! Next up is a Mojo Preachers song, Change Everything (Cave and a King) but with revised lyrics from Sophie (hence the title) to reflect what the world is going through with the damnable pandemic. The blues/prog mix is still there and retains the essence of the original with Sophie sounding as if she is talking only to you…a bit more weight to the chord work but preserving a lovely song. Love That Burns is a Peter Green composition and is a song that Trev played with his first bands, Ginger and Labyrinthus (it was the early 70s!) A neat reading of the master on a song from 1968 on Mac’s Mr Wonderful album; the sax is a little higher and Connor Selby does an amazing and empathetic solo that is fitting and wonderful in equal measure. White Rabbit (Rehearsal Take) is my favourite: the Grace Slick composition is from a Mojo Preachers rehearsal and is a second, warts and all take, from the band just being natural, feeding off each other in the studio: it has the same atmosphere from bass, then guitar, then snare and keys…the vocals are all Sophie but with such an awareness and composure. The Thrill Is Gone is so well known and Trev’s collective (Trev Turley & Friends or TT&F) who took the funk they put into their live version, polished in the studio (with none other than John Verity in attendance) and with professional singing tutor Lauren Dove showing why, the whole band put in a stellar performance and, if you only know BB King’s or Gary Moore’s version, then listen to Roy Hawkins’ 1951 recording, then this one…and be in awe: it is that good. We’ve heard the ‘chops’, as they say, of guitar/vocalist Joe Anderton; now from his own band is a Neil Young song: Down by the River. Young is a gifted composer, but one I find impossible to listen to and yet love his songs covered by people with tone in voice and guitar (ooh! controversial). Well, here is another one that proves, to my my mind, that very point throughout the entire eleven minutes…’nuff said. (Nice nearly bass solo from Trev too.) Clapton is the source of the next song, Bell Bottom Blues, in the hands of TT&F again; Yve is back on vocals and Lauren on harmonies and they bring a whole new dimension to a classic…it’s lovely the way Yve developed the melodies into a countrified blues and the band do a cracking job too. Any perceived difficulty in ‘doing an EC’ on the solo is quickly dispelled; it does nod to Slowhand but is original (and too short by the way Mark.) Another of Trev’s band is responsible for Red Hot and Blue: 3am was the band and guitar man Tim Renton penned this smoky jazz/blues/rock hybrid that has never been released until now. Sung with feeling by the lovely (and very busy) Helen Turner, it has all keys brass but a feel of blues like wot it used to be. Let’s Reinvent Love is from the Malaya Blue Band and the 2015 single: it is one of those slow blues, soulful songs that shows how every instrument can benefit from the ‘just the right amount of notes in the right place’ (I do not address that to Andrew Preview!) Add into this sensitivity, Malaya’s superb vocal, and it is the epitome of soulful blues. Back to TT&F and a Steve Winwood cover: Can’t find My Way Home first appeared on the Blind Faith album in 1969 and with Winwood and Clapton’s unique guitar work and Ginger Baker’s even more unique (?) percussion, this is one hard act to follow. Having Lauren on vocals means it starts very strong and, instrumentally, the band interprets sensitively but with their own characters showing through…in other words, they took a classic, made it their own and essential listening. Now, to wrap it up, how about some proper prog? Well, at an audition Trev was at, the band played the King Crimson track, Starless, and it has been required listening for him before and since. This new version may be half the running time of the original, but Larry does such a fine job and the concatenation actually makes it more immediate and accessible…Lauren does a fabulous job again…this may sound strange but, while listening to her on this track for the umpteenth time, it occurred that she has the nous, the drama and range that reminds me so much of Ronnie James Dio in his Sabbath days: different tonally (and in most ways) but she has a presence that enthrals.
As this is a Trev Turley album, I could have gone in to great detail about the tone, the skin and the inherent feel he injects into every bass performance…just take it as read that that does indeed apply across every track.
This is a rewarding album on every level: variation in styles and genres but always with skill and deftness of touch. If you can find it…buy it!
(P.S. I’m still fascinated to know about the eels Sophie!)
Track listing/musicians/composer: (Trev Turley, bass on all tracks)
Black Coffee/Joe Anderton guitar/vocals. Connor Selby, guitar. Matt Furness, Drums, Tim Aves, harmonica, Glen Bo, percussion/Turner
House on the Hill/Larry Homer, all instruments except bass, backing vocals; Yve Mary Barwood, vocals/Homer, Lake
Change Everything (Cave and a King)/Sophie Lindsay Hammerton vocals, Carleton Van Selman keyboards, Andy Walker guitar, Matt Furness drums/Van Selman, Hammerton
Love That Burns/Connor Selby, guitar/vocals. Joe Anderton, guitar. Phil Marshall, saxophone. Matt Furness, Drums/Green, Adams
White Rabbit (Rehearsal Take)/Sophie Lindsay Hammerton vocals, Carleton Van Selman keyboards, Andy Walker guitar, Matt Furness drums/Slick
The Thrill Is Gone/Lauren Dove, vocals. John Verity, Mark Howes & Andy Walker, guitar. Carleton Van Selman, Rhodes/keys. Phil Marshall, saxophone. Glen Bo, drums. Trev Turley, bass. Yve Mary Barwood, ‘Punctuation/Introduction’/Hawkins, Darnell
Down by the River/Joe Anderton guitar vocals, Andy Hayes guitar, Dave Tettmar/Joe Fowkes drums/Young
Bell Bottom Blues/Yve Mary Barwood, vocals. Lauren Dove, harmonies. Mark Howes, guitar. Andy Cooper, Hammond/keys. Glen Bo, drums/Clapton, Whitlock
Red Hot and Blue/Tim Renton guitar, Chris Parren keys, Helen Turner vocals, Ian Black guitar, Andy Renton drums/Renton
Let’s Reinvent Love/Malaya Blue vocals, Andy Walker guitar, Andy Cooper keyboards, Phil Marshall saxophone & Simon Dring drums, Graham Pettican piano/Marshall, Blue
Can’t find My Way Home/Andy Walker guitar, Andy Cooper keyboards, Phil Marshall saxophone, Yve Mary Barwood vocals, Simon Dring drums, Lauren Dove vocals, Mark Howes guitar/Winwood
Starless/Larry Homer, all instruments, backing vocals, Lauren Dove, vocals/Bruford, Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Palmer-James
Bluesdoodles rating: a wonderful album that crosses styles and genres but always delivers quality.
Bluesdoodles rating: a wonderful album that crosses styles and genres but always delivers quality.