17 May 2015

A-E: Dave Arcari. Tom Attah. Babajack. Band of Friends. BlueKings. Blues Boy Dan Owen. Boneyard. Boom Band. Kyla Brox. Dan Burnett. Paul Butler. Pete Brown. California Honeydrops. John Crampton. Robert Cray.

Dave Arcari - Hebden Bridge Blues Festival 2012

The Hat can only describe Dave Arcari as a man who does not play blues for the faint-hearted. You really would want him on your side in a Guitar Street Battle. Although off-stage he is a sweet and charming man, on stage H.G.Wells intervenes and he turns into a roaring and towering, spectacularly talented raw blues musicman.With the occasional beer in hand and an intimidating head-on engagement with his captured audience, this is exciting music. Scotsman Dave plays brilliant slide guitar and Delta blues and yet just when you are not looking he manages to inject it with wild trash country and even punk. Hugely entertaining, he has played Glastonbury and across Europe. I have no idea what they made of him in Estonia but Hebden loved him.
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Tom Attah - Hebden Bridge Blues Festival 2014
If you thought that you knew all about the wonderful and charismatic Tom Attah, that cheerful geezer from Leeds who does brilliant solo guitar and travels the world with tales of Son House and Bam Bam the 

dancer – then think again. 

Tom was back at Hebden, but this time he brought The Bad Man Clan with him.
The electric stage room was packed, with no place to swing a Hat and, like moths 
to the Clan's flame, they were drawn in by the dynamic sound coming from this crew. They roared, they stomped, they sang all the words to 'Born under a Bad Sign' and 'Mojo Workin' and they punched the daylights out of what little air was left in the room. Tom started at 100 miles an hour and didn't slow. With another fine guitarist and a harp alongside, as well as the back two, Tom and The Clan cooked a storm and delivered the kind of set, with encores, that festivals were invented for. Melting Hot.

Tom Attah - Hebden Bridge Blues Festival 2012
For some obviously colourful reasons, The Hat enjoys the jokes that the charismaticTom Attah tells as part of his relaxed rapport with the audience. However, the fall-about patter does nothing to stop you from being totally aware that this is a seriously accomplished guitarist who understands the meaning, history and styles of blues playing and delivers them to you in an articulate and intelligent way. He is not above riffing off into tales of Leeds, acting and burlesque and his number on nice Lucy the dancer otherwise known as Bam-Bam brought the house down - and yet the next minute he wheels out Son House and Howlin', the audience silences and we know we are listening to a proper bluesman. Top drawer.

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Babajack - Hebden Bridge Blues Festival 2012

Babajack played to a jumpin' house at Bar place. Where d'ya start? Fronted by Beccy Tate on percussion and vocals, this acoustic blues band play across every boundary. With songs like 'Gallows Pole' and 'Rooster Blues' we ran the gamut of emotions.Trevor Steger effortlessly moved from slide to harp to winebox and laid his Tom Waits voice on us like fire on dry tinder. Passion and tenderness and rockin' from these guys. You can see why they are on the Blues Awards nomination list...

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Band of Friends - Too Much is Not Enough

It is an important pre-requisite of any reviewer who encounters the words 'hommage' or 'celebration of' or 'tribute to' in the description or pitch for a band or a musician, that they have to make an extra effort not to bring their inevitable presumptions and prejudices to the table. Thus armed (or disarmed?), The Hat approached the first EP/DVD package from the Band of Friends with an open ear and a determination not to be overwhelmed by the Rory Gallagher history and legend that comes with it. I am so glad I did.

Gerry McAvoy stood alongside Rory on bass for two decades and played on every studio album. Then he went on to play with Nine Below Zero and Champion Jack Dupree and in 2010 set up the Band of Friends along with drummer Ted McKenna (who has Alex Harvey and Ian Gillan on his CV), played with Rory for four years and is on three of his releases and Marcel Scherpenzeel, ex Wolfpin, a hugely talented guitarist steeped in Gallagher music and style. So we have three mega talents, all of whom have paid their substantial dues over many years, share a great love for Rory Gallagher and his music and have a common interest in delivering the finest blues rock.

The DVD is a well produced record of a 2013 live concert at Remchingen in Germany and within minutes you can see why they won the Best Live Band Award at the 2013 European Blues Awards. Their energy is astonishing. Eleven, mainly well-known Rory numbers are covered and the screen positively crackles with the electricity generated by this powerful trio. Whilst the playing and singing of Marcel is superb and central and the driving force from Ted wraps round everything, it is Gerry who dominates the stage, striding about and prowling around, bonding directly with the audience and almost controlling their excitement and passion. There are several points where this trio take the crowd from wild air punching and clapping to almost total silence in the space of one number. The Band is having fun and is totally in charge. Classics like 'A Million Miles Away' and 'Bought and Sold' could not have been delivered better.
Inevitably, the Rory loving audience are on their side from the first note and the call and response numbers have the band flying and the audience roaring -  but what comes across from this DVD is that this is as far away from being a 'tribute' band as you can get. They play brilliantly, they play Rory brilliantly but in doing so they leave no one in any doubt that they are a superb band in their own right – who happen to love Rory Gallagher and his music. The DVD is terrific and you must see them live.

The EP is totally different. There are six self-penned numbers and a final famous Rory song “If I had a reason”. McAvoy has made it clear that although they are anxious to keep the Rory flame burning, there is more to them and the range of song-writing and musicianship shown here clearly demonstrates that. The lyrics are for the main part reflective and full of sometimes bitter memories of lost times and lost love, but occasionally, as in the track 'Leap of Faith' there is an optimistic look to a future promised land. The closing track, their version of 'If I had a reason' is delicate and beautiful balanced. Rory would have been proud.

For The Hat, this trio live know how to whip up the perfect storm. They are currently on a fairly lengthy tour taking them through Germany, France, the UK and Italy – ending up appropriately in Dublin and Belfast. Check their website and get to a gig.

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Bluekings - Hebden Bridge Blue Festival 2012

Down at the Picture House the Bluekings had the unenviable job of stepping in at the last minute after a cancellation and they saved the day with aplomb. Dashing in from Weatherby Yorkshire, these guys put the pedal to the metal and never let go. A fabulous wall of sound of solid blues, they rocked through the classics with their harpist vocal front man getting the stomping feet going. Thank you guys!

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Blues Boy Dan Owen - Hebden Bridge Blues Festival 2013

Opening up for a Blues Festival is never an easy gig. Tonight that short straw was given to BluesBoy Dan Owen - and it could not have been in safer hands. Despite the fact that he is only just twenty one, Dan has the self-assurance and talent of a seasoned pro and he captured his packed audience as soon as
he picked up his guitar. 

Weirdly famous for appearing both on prime-time Croation television and the Andrew Marr Politics Show, Dan has quickly established an enviable reputation in the blues world. With a quite amazing rich voice that soars and swoops with huge power, he commanded from his first note when he opened up with a foot stomping and slide version of Walkin' Blues. He then produced a terrific set of both covers and original material which included a wonderful rendition of one of The Hat's favourite funeral songs – Willie Nelson's 'Roll Me up and smoke me when I die'. High point for The Hat though was when the guitar, voice and harp all came together for a pew-shaking Little Red Rooster where Howlin' Wolf almost came and joined us in the chapel. No wonder he is being mentored by Mick Fleetwood. Now here's an idea....that peak-time tele programme 'The Voice' should really be dedicated just to Bluesboy Dan – a proper amazing voice and a class act.

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Boneyard - Hebdon Bridge Blues Festival 2012

The Hat was obliged to test the'Howlin Fox' beer and then was helped down the road to Marshall's Bar where Boneyard were kicking up the dust. You would never have noticed that they were having to deal with the absence of their Hammmond keyboard man and using a stand-in drummer. Coming from Leeds, the smart and fast front duo had a clear rapport with each other and the audience who loved the local banter and backchat. During a wonderfully varied gig, they gave us a terrific version of' 'Superstition' with guitarist Sam Hirst soaring through a long and impressive guitar break and we were treated to some classic John Lee Hooker with an up-tempo twist on 'Boom Boom'. These guys can probably play anything and just to prove it they got everyone up with the Nashville Teens number 'Tobacco Road'. A great set to a packed house at Marshalls Bar...and it was free! Wow!

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The Boom Band - Taster CD

Oh, super! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it is the beautifully formed and delightfully packaged promo Cd from The Boom Band landing at Hat Mansions. The word 'super' gets bandied about rather too much, as in super group – and we all remember where that got Bruce, Moore and Baker – but this band is really something special. When Van Morrison (a man not known for his loquacity!) says this group is 'Great. They are on the money', you know you have to make time to stop and listen.

Formed last year, the band fronts up with four guitarists and keyboards – and you don't get many of line-ups like that for your money. Matt Taylor, Marcus Bonfanti, Mark Butcher. Jon Amor and Paddy Milner are all good friends and great singers and song-writers as well as being superb musicians. They also all happen to be dashing around working solo and with other bands as well. You know without asking, that the words ' mutual respect' are the crucial ingredient in this mix

I love the way they describe the genesis of the idea..”we thought we would all meet up, get drunk and have some fun” and then “we realised it worked, it was rather good”. This takes The Hat straight back to Laurel Canyon CA, when Dave Crosby would ring up Neil, Steven and Graham and they would all drop in, get drunk and have some fun.....and yes, that was pretty good too.

Appropriately, the first track on this mini EP, 'We Can Work Together' blasts straight in with five voices full on and you see immediately that they do indeed work together vocally, both as full harmony and the separate single gospel-like call refrains. It is a sign of their skill and maturity that, even though the talent is obvious, no-one gets to grandstand – and as Paddy says of his four guitarist friends 'they leave me space for my thing as well'. The great lyrics on the song are ambiguous enough to be both personal and deliver a wider hopeful call for resolution – 'you can change somehow'.
The second track 'Sweet Alberta' comes from another world. It has the same full voice harmonies and the same delicate guitar fills but you are taken off to the back porch where - with Paddy's keys beautifully and evocatively rattling and rolling along like some barrel house piano-man – the talk is of country friends, late hours, whisky and the heart within. A great atmospheric fondness pervades.

This a tremendous taster for things to come and the full Cd is scheduled for April 13th. It is smart, tight and a lot of fun. The enjoyment going on is palpable and it would be a hard heart who does not put this on their must-buy list for next month...

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Kyla Brox - Hebdon Bridge Blues Festival 2013

Kyla Brox hails from not far from Hebden - her reputation got there a long
time before she did and she was welcomed to the Hebden Bridge Festival Family with wide and rapturous open arms. Oh Lord, did she give back in plenty! This was a spell-binding set. Surrounded by a group of faultless musicians who were totally immersed, committed and involved in every number; absolutely top-rate arrangements with beautiful spacy solos  - it's called 'leaning-in' - as if you didn't know - Kyla's vocals became the glittering diamond dead centre stage. She Put A Spell On You from the moment that first Blue Note emerged. Kyla is an authentic soul and blues singer with a tremendous pedigree, coming from a musical family and singing from a very early age. She also plays a number of instruments and her wistful and haunting flute played an important role in her set often during numbers where the brilliant Tony Marshall on sax rolled smooth Mulligan style riffs and solos around the perfect sound chamber of the chapel.

When Kyla moved into pure soul mode a Breathless Hush descended on the place. The way she moves her hands and her body when singing numbers like the famous Etta James 'At Last' and the Nina Simone sensual 'Do I Move You' is totally at one with the mood and 'yes' was the rapturous shout when she got to 'and the answer had better be Yes'. This set brought Fine Art to the Festival stage and it was right and proper that it finished with a bang...or rather a 'Wang Dang Doodle'....and a standing ovation. A Master Class.
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Pete Brown & Phil Ryan: Perils of Wisdom

This album came out eighteen months ago – but given that Pete is right now putting together the finishing touches to what promises to be a fascinating film based on and around his long career and his book 'White Rooms and Imaginary Westerns' – plus the fact that he recently delivered a well-received stonking live set at the Skegness Rock and Blues Festival, I thought it was well worth having a fresh listen.
Working again with long time collaborator, arranger and keyboard genius Phil Ryan, an old mate from his Piblokto band days, this album is a rich mixture of mainly jazz based numbers, laced with a bit of swing and an occasional laid back blues. The arrangements on this fusion of material are absolutely terrific and are the solid core making of the album with Phil's keyboard and the superb sax, trombone and horns frequently mixing it and overlapping with the sweet female backing vocals. Pete would be the first to admit to not having the biggest range or the most distinctive of voices, but as with all his stuff, this is as much about the lyrics as anything else and they are as strong and as interesting as ever. Whatever the project, Pete seems always to have been true to his roots of poetry and lyric.

Given that he set out over fifty years ago reading poetry in The Partisan coffee bar in Soho and segued through working with the beat poets, lyric writing with Jack Bruce and much other material for Cream, plus establishing himself as a sought-after record producer by others in the industry, it is great to see that he can still turn a lyric for himself.

As always, some of his stuff is ironic and humorous ..'Don't Want Nothing Old In My Life', some is wistful and mournful as with the poignant 'Eva's Blues' and - as you would perhaps expect from a long-time bolshie rebel - some can be angry and bitter.....as in ' Living In The Sleaz System'. For me though, everything comes together on the final track 'Go Down Fighting' where the stunning quality of the arrangement (every instrument breaking out a groove) shines through and Pete's lyrics...' we are only growing; when we come back we'll be really blowing' kick the track along to mean effect.
An interesting album that is in some ways a curate's egg of work with some tracks more notable than others. It reminded me briefly of the material jazzman Tony Kinsey did with the poet Christopher Logue in the sixties. Good jazz-based arrangements and fine words can work if they are fine tuned.

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Dan Burnett: The EP

Brilliant high profile UK front line keyboard soloists like Paddy Milner, Ben Waters and Dale Storr are becoming as rare as hen's teeth, so when a good one comes along we must nurture him or her. One such is Dan Burnett who has just released a four track EP, his first, that gives a glimpse of what he can do. Bear with me a moment.

There was a time, not too long ago, when the single keyboard or piano man was a star - particularly in the jazz world where names like Erroll Garner, Earl Hines, Keith Jarrett and Art Tatum abounded. Later, Dr John, Professor Longhair, James Booker and Fats Domino covered another corner and then the rockers Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard did things with the keys that most of us can only dream about. Piano crossed into the mainstream without pausing for breath.

But that was then and now they are becoming more of a rarity. After the dozens of early blues pianists faded out of ear-shot (when did you last hear a track from Memphis Slim or Otis Spann?) and their music gets played less and less there has been a sad lack of British soloists. The talented keyboard players are out there of course but they tend these days to be subsumed by the band they are in. One of Pink Floyd's worst kept secrets was the brilliance of Rick Wright and the fabulous Jonny Dyke tends only to reach a wide audience with Matt Taylor's Motives – and you will certainly know of many others performing spectacularly behind a flamboyant frontman.

The Hat first saw Dan Burnett and reviewed him doing a solo live set at the final Hebden Bridge Blues Festival last year. He smashed it. Subtle and innovative, using the whole keyboard, he left his mark as a talent to take note of. Of course he didn't just appear out of nowhere and he has served his time over many years supporting some major artists in both the UK and abroad.

Three of the four tracks on this EP have his group backing him. All of the songs are self-penned. He opens up with 'Happiest Man Alive' which showcases both his ability to lay down a nice funky upbeat groove and work an arrangement with a tight band. 'Before you go' is a dramatic change of mood, slow with some sumptuous brass and backing vocals which give the sad story lyrics a great platform. 'More Than You Deserve' gives full range to his bluesy voice and lets the band open up, with lots of inter-action across the drums, horns and guitar. Great number to get the audience off their seats and bopping.
The last, and stand-out track is 'You're Going To Shine'. Everything about this is quality. The lyrics and vocals are sublime and the keyboard work shows the subtlety of someone who is totally at home playing and singing solo. This is a beautifully written piece and it's worth downloading his EP just for this on its own.
I understand that this is Dan's first step towards a full album later in 2015. For my part, I would like to hear much more of his solo work without band support on the final album as his range is obviously substantial. Buy this EP - and make a note now - this guy is going to be around a long time.

Dan Burnett: Hebden Bridge Blues Festival 2014

Dan Burnett was a tour de force and his gentle and charming stage style had the audience locked in – indeed at one point he quite
accurately expressed delight at playing to 'a listening audience'. This is a distinguished talent and it was good to hear rock solid left hand alternated with slow wistful originals and he really uses the whole of the keyboard. Dan has played alongside many of the greats but is only now about to produce a solo CD 'Storyville' which you should get your hands on. I do hope he includes “You're gonna shine one day” which was a moving and eloquent self-penned piece worthy of Randy Newman. Solo blues keyboards are alive, well and in talented hands.

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Paul Butler: Cities Made of Gold
In another profession Paul Butler would be known as a sleeper. He was there. He disappeared and decades later he emerges from the shadows, still fully formed, totally professional and delivering the goods. He first crossed my horizon in the distinguished company of Stan Webb at the end of the 70s (one of the many Chicken Shack line-ups) but he was well known before that for fronting the British Blues Band Jellybread and his work with the famed drummer Keef Hartley. Recordings with BB King and Mike Vernon are also part of his back list. And then... like so many talents, struggling for a foothold in the shambolic music business at that time...he decided that he should give it a rest. Thankfully for us, in 2009 he picked up his guitar again and in 2013 produced his well received CD 'Days Will Come'.

The new CD 'Cities Made of Gold', released this month is a terrific 
example of how, even after decades of absence, a talent steeped in 
such a technicolour musical history can still produce a fascinating mix 
of blues tinged tracks that keep you absorbed from beginning to end. As
a bonus, the album is overflowing with nods to musical influences and 

With the very first notes of the very first track 'Just One Bite' he has 
you brassing your way back into New Orleans - maybe walking behind 
the coffin - whilst Paul ironically reflects on being in love with a 
vampire. As a storyteller, - and many of these tracks are tales of
some dark life – Paul Butler has the perfect cool lived-in blues voice.
The arrangements are first class and he has some pretty accomplished
musicians with him, notably Pete Wingfield on piano and Tammy
Rogers on violin. The piano strides centrally in the up-tempo and
atmospheric house party 'I remember Mabel' where some female
backing singers join in the fun. By dramatic contrast, the very next 
track, the terrific 'Can't Make That Call' could have been produced by 
Dylan at his saddest and most mellow. In another side-step 'She Runs
with the Foxes' took The Hat straight back to the Hot Club de Paris.
Tammy's violin dives and slides while the guitar teases with some
Django full chords. Loved it.

This is a first-rate album and you should get it on your listen list. It is
certainly different. Pretty rootsy rather than bluesy but there are any
number of really thoughtful tracks on here, displaying the talent to
advantage – brass arrangements, some mellifluous picking on the title
track, delicate slide, mandolin, harp and even some steel pan gets a

look-in. It is good to see Paul Butler back in business.

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The California Honeydrops: The River's Invitation

The California Honeydrops are about to release a fabulous, feel-good,
fun-fest album of joyous musical partying. If you wanna dance, sing, groove and do some serious smiling - this is one you are going to have to buy. Every track absolutely insists there is no hiding place for wallflowers.

The Honeydrops have a wonderful musical back story which gives us all hope. Starting out busking on the streets of Oakland, they absorbed musical and vocal influences from the Californian club circuit, mainstream soul and jazz singers, funk, soul, blues roots and rhythms and slowly found themselves occupying that much coveted place called Original - with a style that is as vibrant and energetic as it is creative. Subsequently, having done their time and learned their chops and with several tours under their belt and supporting roles with BB, Buddy Guy, Alan Toussaint and Dr John they have now produced their fifth album 'A River's Invitation'. It illustrates, with some panache, that they have lost nothing of their brilliant street vibe on their musical journey.

The opening title track, 'A River's Invitation' leaves you in no doubt as to what's in store. If you listen to this in decent stereo then two things happen. Firstly you are grabbed by the brilliant balance, production and inventiveness of some really complex arrangements – there is a part for everyone and everyone plays a part, coming at you from all sides - and then, for a moment you wonder whether Sam Cooke had popped in a session. Central to the whole album is the voice of the band founder, Lech Wierzynski (yep, he's Polish but flushed through with southern drawl) which just oozes that clean and pure soul influence. It's all there from Memphis soul to eighties funk. He is also a professional trumpeter and the swinging brass influenced arrangements on a number of tracks are central to the feel-good nature of the album.

There are some really beautifully arranged, subtle and interesting keys on the album, clever backing vocal fills and even the melodica gets to star. As if to highlight this band's terrific range, I can point you to three consecutive stand-out tracks: 'Cry Baby Blues' and 'Jolie' followed by 'Crazy Girls' where they manage effortlessly to move from cool blues via an up-tempo reggae beat to an almost fever pitch, brass led gospel swing. Wow – you would have to be tied up not to leap up and throw some shapes to that lot....!

This a great sound blast of an album, difficult to resist its stomping charm, difficult not to admire its musicianship and above all, difficult not to wave your arms and shake your booty. Out soon, go get.

John Crampton - Hebdon Bridge Blues Festival 2013

John Crampton just about brought the whole building down.
This was a quite breath-taking performance by a phenomenal musician who brought the clamouring audience to its feet on more than one occasion and had everyone shouting for more. 

John is a complete orchestra of sound. Voice, acoustic, national steel, pick, slide, banjo, harp...he picks you up, shakes you warmly by the throat and throws you around the room while you try and hang on to your seat. This was exciting blues and blue grass of the very top quality. John's intensity and furious attack is totally compelling and his skills totally beyond question. When a single artist sitting on a small chair on a big stage can get hundreds of blues fans off their heads with mad loud pleasure then he is pretty damn good. If you were at this gig you knew you were in the presence of a mighty talent. If you weren't? Rush to the next one.
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Robert Cray: In My Soul

Over the years The Hat has taken many opportunites to see Robert Cray perform live both in the UK and in the USA and I slowly determined over the years that there were actually two Mr Crays. One was the intense, powerful and moving soulful blues man who could hold an audience in his hand and take them wheresoever he chose and the other was the hang-loose festival performer, shaking it all up on stage with his mates and some extravert joyful abandon.
On reflection, it not that difficult to understand. Cray has always been something of an enigma as a public performer and those who first came to him as a blues player often see him as a 'Marmite' character. Apart from eschewing virtually all effects boxes and the sometime irritating habit of having his techy changing or re-tuning his guitars after every number, Cray has always insisted on
ploughing his own furrow and trying not to compromise for the sake of sales and popularity.

This is not a blues album although it has Cray's blues credentials all over it. This is wonderful laid-back sometime retro soul. Produced by the experienced and acclaimed Steve Jordan (who as well as playing on some of the tracks, many of you will know from the John Mayer Trio and his fun stuff with Keith Richards famous Winos), it has a lean, spare and haunting soul atmosphere mostly throughout.

Cray is reported as saying that on this (his seventeenth) studio album the emphasis is on the story of the song and in an album of eight self-penned and three covers, the clarity of his voice is paramount. With an instrumental nod to Booker T in 'Hip Tight Onions' and covering Otis Redding, Lou Rawls and the fabulous Bobby Bland number 'Deep in My Soul' - which gives the album its title number - it is, for The Hat, the self-penned stuff that gives the album its real appeal. While in the slow and melodic 'What would you say' Cray is on familiar political ground, the opening 'You Move Me' and 'You're Everything' and 'Hold On' he is back talkin' 'bout love and its power. Those three in particular have a potency that will appeal to the romantic in all of us. I'm guessing that the 'Fine Yesterday' track will become a radio play favourite. Not only does it feature Cray's beautiful clean guitar and voice, the quizzical lyrics will take you straight back to the classic sixties soul era and you will once again understand why this multi Grammy award winner is able both to sneak up on us from left field and still be brilliantly entertaining. This is a superb album and Cray fans will be delighted to know that he is coming to the UK in the next few weeks.....

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Tony Devenport: Back in The Land of The Living

I first stumbled across Tony Devenport when he played a live set last year on the famous Raven boat on the Thames when, amongst other things, he delivered a stunning version of the Thin Lizzy classic 'Still In Love With You'. You must catch this here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2Y6w2oWjZ8 and you will get my drift when I talk about 'the voice'.
This five track Cd, which is presented as an eloquent dedication to his late father, is all about the Voice. His accomplished album 'Concrete Bound', released last year, got far less attention than it deserved and it is to be hoped that this CD, which is already getting some good air-play puts that to rights. Tony's voice on here is pretty special.

What you hear is a very raw and soulful vocal talent. His apparent early influences, Sam Cooke and Bill Withers would be proud he has picked up the torch and carries it with such style. There is pain and grit and every kind of emotion as he delivers some stylish and poignant lyrics. The clever accompanying arrangements, with both plaintive and feisty guitar,bass and
drums, never intrude and provide the perfect platform for whatis a compelling and experienced soaked voice.

Devenport's biog hints of some tough times and a life of some knocks and one suspects that it is this colour that has brought him to this point in his career. He has served his dues over a long musical life and clearly worked with some major talent, both musicians and song-writers. He appeared to great acclaim at the Blues on The Farm festival last year and it seems that he is now, after a long time in the shadows, emerging, quite rightly onto centre stage. This CD has put down a solid marker for a serious talent.