Sadly, the front or back porch is something that doesn't really figure in British architecture but if you had one, that would be the best place to pull up your favourite easy chair and listen to this evocative album. Although there are only a couple of covers included - the rest being self-penned - Eddie Martin's new album 'The Blues Took me By The Hand' in turn takes the listener by the hand and leads you down a wonderful acoustic blues-lined sometimes sweet, sometimes raw and mean avenue of superb classic blues.
Eddie has already released thirteen albums and this is the first part of a two album retrospective - the second to be electric based. Apparently, he even took the risky democratic step of canvassing his thousand of fans to get a view on what to reprise. You may know him as a One Man Band, his spectacular harp playing, or fronting a trio or quartet or a big band complete with horn section. Eddie has been a travelling man and as well as hard touring for twenty years or more around Europe, he has paid his dues elsewhere, living in Texas and gigging in Beal Street, Memphis and Clarksdale Mississippi. All those influences have been absorbed and many are evident here from from Broonzy to Barrel House and Beyond. Everything about this retrospective has a nostalgic and authentic feel and yet, weirdly, there is nothing here more than a couple of decades old.
The opening and title track gets straight on with the job in both mood and location and by using a double bass and having the brilliant piano of Paddy Milner rolling and barrelling along with him (on this and some other tracks) this kinda defines the rest of the album. Quickly followed by the highly traditional 'Keep on Working', we know where he is coming from. There are many examples here of his huge talent as a musician with both guitar slide and pick as well as harp and the album also underlines his ability and versatility as a song-writer. He moves from the rollicking driving lick of 'Kind Lady Moon', the subtle bossa nova of of 'Month of Mondays' with its plaintive harp and the atmospheric 'Gone away to Canada'. If you want to hear his distinctive voice in serious action go straight to his splendid cover of 'Key to The Highway'.
Having a look-back album can be a risky business. The pop chart remainder bins are full of them. Eddie has shown here that if you have such a huge back catalogue of top quality stuff then the hard bit is deciding what to leave out. This is good proper original acoustic blues. Looking forward to the electric album due in November.