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Here are a selection of blues album reviews as an occasional series, of artists / bands mainly linked to the blues gig reviews.

 

THE BIG WOLF BAND

'A Rebel's Story' - Self Release: May 2017

The Big Wolf Band hail from the Birmingham area and bring us their exciting debut album 'Rebel's Story' in their classic electric blues style. Fronting the band on excellent vocals and guitar, is the master of the strings  Jonathan Earp. Joining him on bass is Mick Jeynes  with Paul Brambani on keys and Tim Jones on drums. Guests on the album were Deano Bass on bass and Emma Jonson on piano, with Pete and Deb Harvey on backing vocals. The album was produced by Mark Stuart, Sheena Sear and Jonathan Earp and all the numbers were self penned.

The first track 'Heaven's Got The Blues', is a steady rocky blues with great vocals and keys input, plus a classic guitar solo. This is followed by a well put together blues shuffle, 'Done Wrong By You'. There is plenty of fine guitar work on the next track 'Hot Blooded Woman', an up tempo blues shuffle with strong vocals. The piano and Hammond work well, along with the solid back line of bass and drums.

Slowing the pace with a beautifully put together track, 'Darkest Of My Days', with haunting guitar work and  piano working well, adds to this well sung number with excellent lyrics. Next another classic blues shuffle, 'Long Time Mary' with some great honky tonk piano.

'Rolling With Thunder' gives us some powerful electric blues and I love the piano solo on this one. Bringing in a Hammond drenched rocky number 'One More Time', a foot tapping number leaning towards Americana with a superb rocky guitar solo on this one.

Continuing to rock it up on 'A Rebels Story' . Then a really well done meaty track 'Been Here Too Long' . Plenty of Hammond, piano and earthy guitar on an up tempo number 'Love That Hurts', with a flavour of Americana.

The train is certainly on its way on 'I Don't Love You'. Solid drumming and superb piano with added wah wah on the guitar, gives this number a great sound. Moving towards southern rock, on the penultimate track  'Love Isn't Free.  An interesting track with the Hammond at the fore.

The final track on this excellent album  'If I Loved Another Woman',  a beautifully put together slow blues with superb vocals. The guitar was certainly in the vein of Peter Green, showing the competence of guitar man Jonathan Earp, a lovely number.

The whole album was a good listen and well mastered. With a group of great musicians you can't really go wrong, so it's a 'well done' to The Big Wolf Band for the debut album.

Rosy Greer - Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer
http://www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

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RAINBREAKERS

'Rise Up' - Self Release EP: 2017

The Rainbreakers have been working hard to get their second and new  EP 'Rise Up', out on the public circuit. From Shrewsbury, the band have raised their profile over the past year with many prestigious gigs throughout the UK and have been hailed as 'one of the freshest new sounds in the UK blues, rock and soul circuit'.

Fronting the band on classy vocals and guitar is Ben Edwards, with Charlie Richards on superb lead guitar, Sam Edwards on excellent drums - with plenty of interesting fills and competent Peter Adams on bass.  They have developed a sound that brings in elements of  blues, rock  and soul with a dash of reggae for good measure. All the tracks on the EP are self penned.

The opening track is 'On My Own', a rocky blues with some superb guitar work. This is followed by 'Rise Up', the albums name sake and funking it up with great vocals and excellent interplay from drums and bass. I really enjoyed the classy fazed guitar work too.

'Waiting For You' is a slower blues soul number with some great reverb on the guitar. A lovely track with excellent vocals. Next, bringing in a reggae feel was 'Perception', a well put together track with excellent drum input again.

The final track on this superb album was 'Living Free'. With some great phrasing and hitting the rock side of blues, the rhythm section certainly did their job well, with superb vocals and guitar solo.

They are certainly a band I would recommend to see live to get the full 'Rainbreakers' experience, so keep your eyes open for a gig in your area.

Rosy Greer - Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer
http://www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

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WILLE & THE BANDITS

'Steal' - JIGSAW - Cat No SAW6 - 2017

Hailing from the South West, the hard working  Wille & The Bandits have become a household name on the festival circuit and deservedly so. With their own individual sound and style, they cross over genres and proudly take the label 'alternative' . With three previous self released albums, their new album 'Steal', has now joined forces with the 'Jigsaw' label and was produced and engineered by Dave Williams at Grange Studios, Norfolk.

Fronting the band with raw and passionate lead vocals is Wille Edwards who also plays exceptional  electric and acoustic guitar, lap steel, Weissenhorn and Dobro.  Matt Brooks, plays a six string electric bass  and also a bespoke five string upright bass. He was responsible for the string arrangements on the album and is one of the most able and versatile bass players I have seen of late.  Matt was a finalist in the British Blues Awards 2016 for 'Bass Player of the Year'. Exceptional percussionist and drummer, Andrew Naumann,   who's individual style deservedly earned him the title of 'Drummer Of the Year' in the British Blues Awards 2016, is an exceptional talent.  Wille & The Bandits  were joined on the album for three numbers by Don Airey (Deep Purple) on Hammond and keys. All the tracks on the album are self penned.

The first track 'Miles Away', in the unique Wille & The Bandits style, is slide drenched with the added Hammond from Don Airey,  giving an incredible sound. Following, a rockier number than some of the rest, with 'Hot Rocks' with solid bass and drums including African drums.

'Scared Of The Sun' has a haunting sound with meaningful lyrics and vocals from Will. An ethereal feel with the addition of Hammond and slide, shades of Pink Floyd spring to mind.  An amazing bass intro' from Matt with full on up tempo drumming from Andrew on 'Atoned'. Gutsy vocals and hard hitting,  it certainly raises the hair on the back of the neck.

With superb guitar and bowed upright bass on the slow 'Crossfire Memories', a beautiful track with strings input to add to the ambiance. The next track has its roots firmly in the era of the 70's rock '1970' says it all, but with a Bandits twist. Great guitar work, solid drumming and bass line.

'Our World' is a song with meaning, acoustic guitar, African drums and some great harmonies, a beautifully put together track.  One of my favourites on the album is 'Living Free'.  A superb track with strong vocals and slide drenched, giving a full-on sound. The final track 'Bad News' , on this brilliant album is a haunting song leaning to the dark side, breaking into  gutsy rock. Brilliantly played and the added Hammond input worked well.

The whole album is exceptional.  I thought they would have difficulty topping the previous album 'Grow', but I think they nailed it!

Rosy Greer - Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer
http://www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

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More soon ...


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