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N. H. Foster "Crazy Diamond" (UK)

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Ragged & Dirty
Ragged & Dirty
Price: £14.53

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Allman heritage in safe hands, 20 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ragged & Dirty (Audio CD)
Ragged and Dirty – Devon Allman

Tonight after the inaugural listen Devon Allman’s Ragged and Dirty goes straight in to my list of serious contenders for ‘album of the year.’ I have been grabbed immediately by the sounds emitted throughout and it sure is one lean mean mother of 12 tracks at 48 minutes.

The title is just apt, the vibe of the album is ragged and dirty thanks to some sparse but spacious production from Tom Hambridge and the edgy spontaneous playing of Allman and a top notch band. Bearing the name Allman must bring its own pressures but here Devon demonstrates just how much he developed his own style, one that draws from that family lineage but also shows the influences garnered from his prominent role in the awesome Royal Southern Brotherhood.

On Ragged and Dirty Allman has filled his palette with many colours and then splashed them in generous proportions throughout the aforementioned 12 tracks. Reading the sleeve notes it was a conscious decision to locate to the ‘electric mecca of the Blues’ Chicago and that shines like a beacon in the sonorous sounds that reached these ears. The overriding sensation for me is real honest rootsy Americana with splashes of the Blues, swathes of soul and dashe of funk.

Allman himself delivers authoritative vocals throughout diving effortlessly in and out of the varying genres and as you would absolutely expect, the guitar playing is totally peerless but, in keeping with the feel of the album there is a real rough unpolished edge to the man’s playing that adds extra dimensions. Allman’s dexterity with a Gibson in hand is nothing short of exhilarating whether he is slapping out the rhythms, peeling off the dirty riffs and licks or delivering coruscating solos.

The whole album really has made an instant impression on me and as I write I have just hit the repeat play button but a number of the tracks command your instant attention and deliver powerful messages.

Ten Million Slaves is a melting pot of sounds and hues from the dynamic delta swathes of Allman’s hooky riffs and rootsy Blues that conjure the images of a chain gang right through to some Eastern tinged tones and backing vocals that meld in to world music sensibility.

Back to You is all slow-burn Blues the embers flickering throughout via dexterous keys that are interwoven around Allman’s fret flurries and deeply soulful vocals. The title track really is aptly named as it is let loose on a slab of honky tonk keys and booming rhythms and Allman’s distorted lead breaks.

The closing track, Leave the City would nestle neatly on RSB’s debut album it has got such a massive soulful groove and spiritual vitality conjured by Allman’s expressive vocal and sublime Resonator slide work and the addition of some sparse drum fills.

The absolute standout is the instant 9 minute epic that is Midnight Lake Michigan, I give fair warning this will stun you in to silence, it is a majestic edifice of a tune that defies description. It is psychedelic, moody, it rocks in passages and it has got a bucket load of soul through Devon’s drawl of a vocal and his spellbinding fretwork that switches from low end hooks to clawing distorted and reverbed solo that splices the whole thing up. Live this is going to be a something to witness.

All I want now is Devon to find time to come tour this wonderful album throughout Europe!

Army Of Three
Army Of Three
Price: £14.57

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Join the VATA Army now!!, 17 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Army Of Three (Audio CD)
Virgil and the Accelerators – Army of Three

‘They’ve only gone and blown the bloody doors off! No not a movie quote quiz, my one liner that sums up the storming new album from Virgil and the Accelerators.

VATA may be a power trio but what power, enough to make them sound like a full on 5 or 6 piece rock band and with Army of Three they have just delivered one of the finest hard rock albums of the year. In my estimation this is immediately up there with the offerings of Red Dragon Cartel, California Breed, Black Stone Cherry and Slash and Myles, it is that good!

No fat to trim here, lean and very mean weighing in at ten tracks and around 55 minutes of rock heaven. Virgil McMahon is an undisputed star and searing guitarist with every weapon in his arsenal and the vocal has matured rapidly and gained an edgy rasp that suits the music perfectly. However, VATA are the sum of their parts and Brother Gabriel McMahon on pounding drums and Jack Alexander Timmis on booming bass make a fine contribution throughout slamming down furious rhythms and grooves.
Praise too for legendary Producer Chris Tsangarides for bringing it all together and letting the band fully express themselves. If you like touch stones for comparison at various points there are shades of the melodic hard rock of Thin Lizzy, early Iron Maiden at full tilt and the riffing power of Black Sabbath.

One of the albums strengths is that as well as being a full on rock album there is variety and skill in the song sequencing and increasing maturity in the song writing.

If pedal to the metal rock is your bag you will delight in the power and velocity of cuts like the ripping opener Take Me Higher and the bombastic drive of Blow to the Head. For me the standout rocker is the tumultuous Stand Up, pounding drum runs, deep bass lines and a filthy distorted riff ushering Virgil’s lascivious vocal in depicting a sassy bad woman and the effect they have on us guys. The rhythm section grind away and Virgil jabs out the looped riff, the chorus booms out and then a violent solo from Virgil that tears up the melody as he hits the limiter. Then it is back into the groove, pulsing bass, full drum fills and the refrained riff.
VATA can also lay down some serious rock funk as evidenced on the swaggering slaps and chops of Love Aggression and a little bit of doom laden ‘Stoner Rock’ looms up on the menacing riffing of Anymore.

These guys do epics too and if you like waving your Smartphone aloft at a gig, make sure the batteries are fully charged when you see these guys live and they dip in to the sprawling sonic soundscapes of Through the Night and the truly sublime Free. On these two power ballads VATA combine wonderfully sending out sumptuous rhythms, pleading deep vocals from Virgil and massive slices of six- string wizardry. The solos that bring Army of Three to an outstanding close are exquisite and demand repeat plays.
When Joe Bonamassa hears this album, if he has not done so already, I am sure he will smile and nod sagely. As the world’s official ‘Blues Anti-Christ’ in young Virgil McMahon I think he has just found a true disciple.

The Dirty Truth [Digipack]
The Dirty Truth [Digipack]
Price: £12.41

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truth is - JST is brilliant, 24 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
So after the excitement of listening to Bonamassa’s latest opus today was my chance to unwrap Joanne Shaw-Taylor’s ‘The Dirty Truth and slide it in the CD player.

My first impressions are very favourable and if you love contemporary Blues Rock you will find much to delight from this, JST’s fourth album. It sees the lady re-united with producer Jim Gaines (Diamonds in the Dirt) a smart move as the two clearly work well together. Gaines creates the space for JST to strut her impressive stuff and brings the rest of the band to the fore resulting in a full and clean sound.

I have to admit to liking the approach of many artists at the moment in adopting the less is more approach and JST follows suit, ten original compositions clocking in at an economic 40 minutes. That said Joanne packs a lot into that space as the album is brim-full of foot to the floor Blues Rockers, a couple of Blusier shuffles, some giant slabs of soulful funk and a tender ballad.
The rhythm section are super- efficient creating solid platforms for Shaw-Taylor and keys man Rick Steff dovetails seamlessly with the front lady, matching her guitar work stride for stride and wrapping itself around the rasped vocal. Suffice it to say JST’s guitar playing is extremely accomplished but not to the point where it sounds formulaic. The vocal is an acquired taste but once you have the measure of it is suits the musical style very neatly. The slightly nasally and raspy voice adds power to the rockers, soul to the funk and tenderness to the ballad.

And across the ten tracks these styles are front and centre. Things get off to a storming start with a couple of pedal to the metal rockers in the shape of Mud Honey and the title track The Dirty Truth. The coda of these two is hard driving drum and bass runs boosted by unrelenting JST riffs and a fair smattering of string bending, and scorching solos, the notes tearing and crying out. Penultimate track Struck Down closes the circle, furious drum beats, hard edged jabbing riffs ripped up by a distorted killer solo, short and sharp as the tune then gets low down and dirty on a pulsing rhythm and a hooky riff.

The Blues hues are to the fore throughout the album and never more so than on the impressive Outlaw Angel. This is a true Blues shuffle structured on the rhythm section grooves that Shaw-Taylor splinters with a distorted riff, strong rasping vocal and another hot solo.

Enough room here for a little foray into Country on the bright Fool in Love, taut lead break, smooth velvet like vocal and that trademark country ‘twang’ emitted in a sharp solo.

Joanne seems very happy getting the funk out and into her music and there are a couple of gems here. Wrecking Ball has the rhythm section ploughing a deep furrow while Steff’s Hammond Organ notes oscillate away weaving in and out of Shaw-Taylor’s slapping razor sharp lead breaks. The soul in the vocal fits perfectly.

The album’s ballad appears in the form of the delicate Tried Tested and True. The pace slows right down as a meaningful hurting vocal is poured over crystal clear organ and guitar notes. The combination of the band members working in harmony is full, rich and moody.

Saving the best till last, my favourite track is the glorious Wicked Soul. Soul being the right word as JST displays the breadths of her talents to delve into a deeply soulful number musically and vocally. Funky grooves set the tone for the melody; undulating reverberating riffs chime out, add in a super but restrained solo and bathe it all in a perfectly phrased and soulful vocal. This is the track where I knew Gaines was back in the saddle as the sound is very reminiscent of what the two achieved on Diamonds in the Dirt.

The Dirty Truth showcases the talents of Joanne Shaw-Taylor and this album shows her growing maturity as a musician and a lyricist. For me the very best place to hear this lady’s music is live and up close. There you get to see the lovely smile that shows Joanne truly loves her work. For now this will do very nicely indeed!

Different Shades Of Blue [Ltd. Edition Digibook]
Different Shades Of Blue [Ltd. Edition Digibook]
Price: £19.93

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different Shades of Genius, 22 Sept. 2014
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Different Shades of Blue – Joe Bonamassa

Roughly translated in to ‘Different Shades of Genius,’ that makes up Joe Bonamassa.

Masterstroke 1 – surround yourself with a truly world class band that includes Carmine Rojas and Michael Rhodes on bass, Anton Fig on drums, Lenny Castro on percussion, Reese Wynans on keys and then drop in a top notch brass section.

Masterstroke 2 – construct and deliver an album that deviates significantly from the formula adopted on recent albums and apart from a short intro (Hendrix), pen the tunes.

Masterstroke 3 – Adopt the less is more approach and deliver 11 tracks in less than 50 minutes.

None too shabby a start and after just my first run through Different Shades of Blue strikes me as a very apt title as the album can be broken down into component parts; trademark Bonamassa Blues Rock, sorties in to more traditional Blues territory and a couple of sprawling epics that Joe is so very adept at.

The inclusion of the brass section adds light, colour and texture to the sound and provides Bonamassa an even larger platform to perform on and he seizes the opportunity. Throughout the album the standard of musicianship is precise and peerless. Bonamassa displays every facet of his sublime guitar technique and the band are there every step of the way, both shining and supporting.
For me there are six immediate and absolute standout tracks that capture the very essence of the album and this extraordinary artist. Oh Beautiful follows the Hendrix styled intro and erupts on the scene the way a Bonamassa rocker does, driving heavy duty and dirty riffs spitting out over pounding drum and bass lines and an infectious vocal chimes in to great effect.

Love Ain’t A Love Song features scintillating boogie woogie piano runs, swinging driving horns in step and a squally edgy Bonamassa lick that when melded together hits high on the register.

I Gave Up Everything for you ‘Cept the Blues is a roaring slice of the Blues built on solid grooves, the brass section jumping and jiving throwing out the notes, more infectious honky tonk piano and hook laden lead runs from the master. A Blues shuffle to delight.
Bonamassa is also very adept with a ballad and for me I was instantly drawn to album closer So What Would I Do. Gentle piano and organ flurries usher the vocal in and Joe sings low and slow providing the space for empathic guitar notes that suddenly open out in to a beautiful and gentle solo that just takes the mood deeper and deeper and a lovely way to close out the album.

And so to the two aforementioned epics; Never Give All Your Heart is stunning in arrangement and delivery. The piano and guitar woven intro open up a wide vista of moody atmospheric music that just gets straight in to your conscious. Wonderful pawing emotive piano and guitar solos step in and out of the melody to stunning effect. Bonamassa sends shivers down the spine here with his playing. Like me I think you will hold your breath as the final single note drifts away. An utter delight.

The title track is every bit as impressive a sprawling melody evolves from the opening bars, deft acoustic guitar notes lie gently underneath the bruised and pained lead breaks and an impressive deep hurting vocal adds mood. The interplay from the whole band is mesmeric as each steps out of the shadows to shine and then back into them to ease along the ebb and flow of the melody
Joe’s first solo album in over two years, a long time by his prolific standards but for me, worth every second of the wait!!

Temperature Rising
Temperature Rising
Price: £12.51

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Heat is on, 5 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Temperature Rising (Audio CD)
Temperature Rising – Danny Bryant
Call me sentimental if you wish but are there even more of the touch and feel of Danny Bryant’s mentor Walter Trout on the new album? I think so and if so surely that is the result of the even closer bond that has developed between the two as Danny has been so close to Trout throughout his serious illness.

Temperature Rising is certainly Danny’s most complete and fully rounded album to-date. Across the nine original tracks at an economic 42 minutes the album displays many shades from the densely coloured full on Blues Rock numbers to the vibrant shades of Blues on the more traditional Blues cuts and finally delicate pastel shades on the ballads. This album is the sum of its parts and rather than have one or two absolute standout tracks, each one of the nine deserves your equal attention.

As ever Bryant’s playing is immaculate throughout and he has certainly developed a more rounded vocal. Ostensibly a power trio, there are consistently impressive contributions from Trevor Barr on drums and Alex Phillips on bass.

One single listen to the album put me in immediate touch with it and every track spoke to me in a differing way. Hitting the play button leads you straight in to a very muscular opener in the shape of ‘Best of Me,’ a scorching lead break right from the off heralds Bryant’s arrival, the rhythm section match the pace and move the song along at rapid but melodic pace. ‘Take Me Higher’ is a prime example of the heavier sound, rebounding clipped riffs pulse along over the dense drum and bass runs. Bryant’s lead breaks are tight and doused in plenty of distortion.
‘Nothing At All’ is the first sortie in to more traditional Blues, structured on honky tonk keys, fast rhythms and Bryant effortlessly peeling off the guitar licks. The first of the two ballads is ‘Together Through Life,’ a beautiful delicate arrangement that provides the space for a vocal narration that is total conviction and heart felt, Bryant’s guitar tones match the mood perfectly.

Razor Sharp and the title track are an excellent pairing at just over the half way mark, here we are right back in the rock territory, aggressive powerful vocals, punchy rhythm section hooks, razor sharp lead breaks. On these two Bryant, Barr and Phillips are toe to toe trading blows. To my own ears Temperature Rising is the most immediately accessible track on show and deserves mainstream airplay.

Time follows and brings the volume and mood right down, a melodious ballad with a very delicate fractured vocal performance from the main man accompanied by soft keys and drum flurries and his own plaintive guitar strokes.
Mystery is back on the Blues train, barrelling along at pace with guitars and keys duelling and the rhythms urging the tune on and inviting Bryant to deliver a hard edged vocal.

Guntown brings the album to a fitting and powerful climax, a deep atmospheric song that features stunning guitar work in the form of flourishing notes one second and single plucked notes the next. It is however, the mid song solo that takes the breath away, Bryant’s fingers caress and squeeze the strings to produce exquisite sounds that you just want to go on and on.

Danny Bryant stands in the shadow of no man now, he is in the Premier League on his own terms as this album proves. He has also proved himself a great pupil having studied with the best!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 8, 2014 8:21 PM BST

Price: £12.68

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marsden's star shines brightly, 22 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Shine (Audio CD)
Shine – Bernie Marsden
The summer of 2014 looks like being an Indian summer for fans of Blues Rock, especially if you love your Blues with plenty of guitar sonics. Philip Sayce, Danny Bryant, siren Joanne Shaw-Taylor and Joe Bonamassa all have albums set for imminent release.
If you have already or are set to purchase this heady quartet then I implore you to make it a quintet and add in ‘Shine’ the brilliant new album by Bernie Marsden. The album shines so bright it will bring a huge grin to your face and have you tapping your feet.
Marsden’s stature as a modern guitar maestro is indisputable and across the 13 tracks here Marsden’s full repertoire of skills are showcased. From the traditional Blues notes and hues of opener ‘Linin Track’ with sparse arrangement through to the beautiful acoustic tones of NW8. Across the tracks there is Blues here to suit every palette.
Wedding Day has an instantly radio friendly accessibility built on a looping Marsden riff that fizzes and crackles that is matched every step of the way by a funky rhythm section groove. Think of Joe Walsh circa Rocky Mountain way and you are in the right ball park.
Kinda Wish She Would chimes in on honky tonk piano and a catchy vocal but what really kicks this one into life is the booming metronomic riff that Marsden spits out straight from the Southern Boogie States of the USA, this one has echoes of ZZ Top at their boogie best.
Coming in half way through Marsden teams up with former Whitesnake buddy David Coverdale and the two deliver a killer revamped version of the Snake classic Trouble. This hits every sweet spot for this listener, Coverdale’s iron fist velvet glove full throated roar struts atop Marsden’s slide driven licks and bruising riffs. Mid song Bernie slips the shackles and fires off an deep aching solo. This is as good as anything Whitesnake produced at their zenith.
Bad Blood signals another direction change and gets all mean and moody, a hard lyric nailed in the very competent hands of the young and talented Cherry Lee Mewis, Cherry lays down a sassy confident Bluesy vocal that is paired with a searing hard edged solo from the head honcho.
As if that were not enough Marsden’s good buddy Joe Bonamassa breezes in on the brilliant title track and delivers a trademark fiery and scintillating solo that climbs all over Marsden’s bombastic riffing. This is a real rocker!
Ballads get their billing and Who Do We Think We Are is a fine example. A lilting mellifluous tune that will just wash over you on a wave of harmonised vocals and some haunting fretwork from Marsden. Album closer NW8, a tribute to Abbey Road where the album was recorded is an acoustic instrumental beauty that provides a fitting end to what is a fantastic album that should stand alongside the quartet mentioned at the top.
Convinced you to indulge yet? You should!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 2, 2014 4:03 PM BST

Trout Walter & Yates Henry Rescued From Reality Life And Times
Trout Walter & Yates Henry Rescued From Reality Life And Times
by Trout Walter & Yates Henry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.55

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walter only deals Reality, 22 Jun. 2014
Rescued from Reality - Henry Yates and WALTER TROUT

So I have heard The Blues Came Callin' many times now and adore it. Have watched the accompanying DVD twice and was enraptured by it.

I have now just finished the book, Rescued from Reality and was engrossed from the first word to the very last.

The cover style and format provide the clue to the content of the book, it is part autobiographical and part coffee table read, resulting in a book that can be read straight through or dipped in and out of. Needless to say I dove in and only emerged as I closed the book for the final time.

This is not a painstaking chronology of every facet of Walter Trout's incredible life it is more the opening of a window into a world of all things Trout. The man, his family, his career and most of all his massive canon of music, from the early days of Canned Heat to the release of the new album.

Praise must go to Walter and Henry Yates for the adoption of an interview style of narration that enables the great man to do what only he can; tell it like it really is. Yates also provides concise but informative context that excellently links together the life and career of contemporary Blues Rock's Godfather.

Oozing from every page is the character of the man we all know and love, humour, humility, brutal honesty and that fire in the belly that has fuelled WT in what ever he has undertaken.

The humour abounds in the form of life on the road and Walter's singular ability to smell bulls*** from some pretty heavy Blues legends.

The humility is palpable as Walter describes his deep rooted insecurities that Mayall would want him as a bonafide Blues Breaker and that he was good enough to become a solo star.

The honesty pours in torrents of anger, emotion and love as Trout describes his almost cruel but strangely loving childhood, his raging battles with drink and drug addiction and the iron will to kick both habits.

The fire in the belly passions of the man leap off the page where there are accounts of his incendiary live performances, which is about every time he has ever taken to a stage.

The love is saved for his wonderful wife Marie Trout and his boys. The unit that has given Walter the will to confront his battles head on.

The last year or so of the man's life is discussed but not picked over as is his childhood at the hands of a dysfunctional father. However, there is not one hint of self pity, just honest assessments of passages of life.

For me the true glory is in the man's own assessment of his work, especially his solo career and it is hugely illuminating to read the gestation of songs and albums that will punctuate any Blues fans collection. As the book moves through time WT provides the narrative about the process of making an album, the live and raw recording style and the real tightness of his long time band.

What this terrific section does is amplify Walter's rightful place as the leader of contemporary Blues Rock but also his status as a true man of the people. A man with a social consciousness and a deep rooted disgust of the power corruption of lies of the late 20th and early 21st century. Like Springsteen Trout is the voice of Blue Collar America and a great social commentator, without the political rhetoric.

Before I close mention and praise must go to the myriad of photographers that have provided truly iconic images that tell you all you need to know about the man. Many of the speakers tell a tale of their own.

So I go out where I came in, my admiration for Walter Trout enhanced even more.

Thank you gentlemen for opening the window to the world of this amazing man. The title again; Rescued from Reality but Walter only deals in reality.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 24, 2014 8:45 PM BST

The Blues Came Callin'
The Blues Came Callin'
Price: £12.56

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walter Answers the Call, 3 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Blues Came Callin' (Audio CD)
The Blues Came Callin’ – Walter Trout
The release of any new Walter Trout album is an occasion to rejoice, never has it been so much like that than with the release of the great man’s latest album. Coming as it does at the time when Blues fans globally are thankful that Walter has successfully come through his liver transplant and is recovering so well. It is almost as though the planets have aligned to give the legions of Blues fans worldwide a cause for double celebration.
Certainly I cannot remember the last time I awaited my first listen of a new album like I have this. And so instantly have I fallen in love with it that this review is written after one take.
On the opening two tracks we are in familiar Trout territory, Wasting Away and The World Is Going Crazy. The anger about his own condition within the former and his railing against the corruption, lies and inequality of modern life in the latter, evident through the rasped angered vocal and the furious fiery fretwork.
The Bottom of the River tells the story of Trout’s recent struggle for life, the depths of the water a metaphor for his ill health and the light above the surface that pulls him up as he realises it ‘Ain’t Your Time to Die, being the catalyst for survival. The musical arrangement is empathic, deft rhythms and soft keys and the strength to fight his battles evident in the driving, powerful echoed solo. Now we know the fight is on!
The Whale Have Swallowed Me is a reflective narration of the mortality of man and the search for inner peace and once more Trout and the band, assisted by the great John Mayall support the lyric. Then the street fighter that Trout has always been shows his courage with some heavy chops and a searing solo.
All thoughts of ill health are swatted away on the next two cuts. The bombastic Willie, all heavy riffing and pounding beats and keys as Trout regales the story of the vulnerable victims bullied by the ‘stronger’ cowards. A vicious solo expresses Walter’s disgust at the injustices of such realities of life.
Mayall’s Piano Boogie is exactly what the title says; Trout’s former employer sits at the piano and pounds and dances across the ivories producing a flood of notes that weave an uplifting melody. The band lift the tune to a higher plane before Walter shows his former boss he learned his lessons well with a razor sharp clipped solo before the two true friends trade some serious licks. This is an instant classic and one that could have run and run.
Born in the City could only have been recorded by Trout a violent low down dirty groove provides the framework for Walter to remind us all that you can ‘Take the man out of the city but you can’t take the city out of the man.’ The anger and passion for city life encapsulated by a truly scorching, solo. Trademark Trout!
Tight Shoes is an instrumental that is all about the man and his guitar as Trout displays all his prowess, power and feel through punchy riffs, serious finger picking, and string bending fury. This one song proves there is still fire left in the man’s belly.
The title track is outstanding, a song to love and savour instantly. This is Blues Walter Trout style and it gets no better than that. The rhythm section lay down an earthy groove lighting the touch paper for the man to step in with a laconic vocal and some low down riffing. Just listen to the mid-section call and respond incendiary solos from Mayall and Trout, totally mesmeric.
It is no surprise that Trout closes out the album with a love song dedicated to his amazing wife Marie on the beautiful Nobody Loves Me Like You Do. If you have followed Marie’s posts on social media, as the couple have travelled this long tortuous road throughout Walter’s illness her total love and devotion has been evident and she has been by her man’s side every step of the way. This is the great man’s way of expressing his love, so very openly in the touching lyric but most of all when Walter does what Walter does best, the solo that forms the song’s centrepiece is nothing short of magnificent, the notes and tones showing the depth of feeling. It is very touching and a privilege to get first- hand accounts of the journey travelled and now the picture is complete with this outpouring of love for a wonderful woman.
This track points the way forward, it is uplifting, inspiring and optimistic, hinting that this is just the beginning of the next chapter of this amazing man’s life.
Walter Trout – The Blues Came Callin’ and as ever the man has answered the call emphatically!
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 4, 2014 6:04 PM BST

Turn Up, Be Nice, Play Hard
Turn Up, Be Nice, Play Hard
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock Hard, Ride Free, 18 May 2014
That is the coolest album title I have heard in years and this is the coolest Blues Rock album I have heard in ages. Blacktop Deluxe have delivered a monumental album of high octane, pedal to the metal Blues Rock that should become the soundtrack to any self- respecting fan’s summer of 2014. The conspirators of this crime are vocalist and supreme guitarist Keith Howe, Tim Chapple on bass and Alan Ibbotson on all things percussive.
The album cover and inlay are totally cool too and hint as to what drives Blacktop Deluxe, black tarmac, blurring white lines and inside the gleaming cylinder block of a pure muscle car. This is hard muscle music, played with total conviction.
Click the ignition, open the valves and we are heading out to the highway. Those are literally the sounds that open the album and fire up lead off track the strident Mustang 429, the Band’s pile-driving homage to a real muscle car. The engine purrs away on a deep groove and a pulsating Howe riff, the road opening up before us and disappearing behind us, such is the fury of the rhythm. Blacktop hit the red zone as Howe screeches out a rev limiter of a solo.
Voodoo Slide brings an immediate gear change built on a ton of low end torque, driven by the pounding drum and bass lines. Danger signs ahead as Howe regales the tale of the dangers of the bottle and the booze, painting an image of the futility of resistance through some scorching sparking slide.
Outta the Red erupts on another jagged cavernous riff that never lets up and and a rhythm section groove that oozes venom. Metronomic timing is maintained by the guys providing a platform for Howe to spill out an angered vocal about a Blues band paying their dues, striving for recognition. The anger evident in a blistering bent out of shape solo. A real AC/DC vibe circa Highway to Hell, If AC/DC had recorded this it would be play-listed on every rock station on the planet.
Colour Me Gone, another gear shift. The backdrop to the song is Howe’s lengthy time in an induced coma and tells the tale through words and sounds of the disturbing trips he experienced. The beautiful instrumentation and melody, haunting gorgeous Sax solo and Howe’s unremitting solo will leave you ‘Comfortably Numb. 7 minutes of sprawling splendour.
Shotgun Calling Blues to coin BTD’s own phrase is a chugging riff fest, pummelling along on deep drum and bass lines and a bombastic Howe riff. Foot stamping fist pumping Bar Room Blues, nuff said!
Blacktop Deluxe can do mean and atmospheric too on the sublime But Not Today, a real showcase for the awesome talents of Keith Howe. The materialistic throw away 21st century and the collateral damage left in its wake the lyrical content. The guitar parts from Howe are jaw dropping moments to savour. The crying calling of a Gibson Les Paul and the pleading refrain of a screaming Stratocaster.
The accelerator is pressed to the floor and the needle flickers on the edges of the rev limiter as the band lay down an urgent groove on the furious Moving Up A Gear. Drum and bass licks pump away like screaming pistons and Howe has the valves burning hot as he flays out a shredding solo. Flesh it out with some honky tonk keys and a catchy as hell chorus and Mad Max is on the road again.
Smouldering Blues bleed out on Should Ha’ Gone Yesterday. The tale of broken love of a broken man. The picture painted by Howe’s clawing vocal and the swirling brush strokes of a sombre solo. The femme fatale arrives to deliver some velvet rich and powerful vocal harmonies and a sad Sax solo away in the background.
Always Been A Sinner is as low down and dirty as a Blues tune can get, another gargantuan grinding rhythm and a fearsome furious riff drive the whole thing on, think ZZ Top meets Seasick Steve meets Free and you have a measure of this thunderous number.
The shimmering sheen of Cascade is a delight. A bright airy melody that takes me back to Romeo and Juliet era Dire Straits, crystal clear flourishes and then a real surprise some sumptuous Latino licks reminiscent of Santana. This is no plagarism, this is the band just drawing on influences and interpreting things their way. This put a massive smile on my face as it washed over me. One for the sun with a beer or cocktail in your hand.
A mere 40 odd minutes from the opening salvo and we are heading for the finish line via the clean beauty of the instrumental Short Walk. Lilting melody with a little funk weaving in and out, a mellow way to close out the album. The brothers heading off into the sunset as the engire and tyres smoke and cool.
I absolutely adore this album and I know that feeling will grow and grow as it becomes even more known to me.
Roll out the Hot Rod, flick the ignition switch, slide this in the CD player, ramp up the volume and floor it. Anchor that belt though because you are in for one hell of a ride.

Too Many Roads
Too Many Roads
Price: £13.19

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uber Cool Vibes, 19 April 2014
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This review is from: Too Many Roads (Audio CD)
One look at the very cool album cover told me I was going to love this album, boy was I right, I absolutely love this and you will too!

If the Rat Pack had done Blues, this is surely what it would have sounded like, ultra cool, classy, sassy and supremely confident and that is exactly how TR and the Black Tornado come across. And convince me Risager does not cut more than a passing resemblance to a young Sinatra, razor sharp suit, to match the razor sharp voice.

Travelling through Too Many Roads takes you through many intersections across the state line, raw Blues, Jazzy vibes and full on Swing all delivered by musicianship of the highest quality. Thorbjorn has a marvellous voice that slides effortlessly between the genres, gravel soaked in velvet rich honey! And Risager and Skjerning combine flawlessly throughout on guitar, producing a number of stellar standout moments. The slide playing is absolutely sensational, forceful and empathic in equal measure. The whole sound is given added depth and texture from the tones of a solid rhythm section, peerless keys work all topped off with a blistering brass section with the usual suspect instruments on parade.

Twelve tracks nudging the clock at 48 minutes tells you this is energetic stuff with no time for irrelevances. Every track bounds in, makes it mark and ships out to be followed by another killer.

The Blues is well represented by the lead off track; If You Wanna Leave, a bruising guitar riff kicking straight in looping around Risager's angry vocal then the sound opens out in to a sprawl of full on brass and coursing keys runs. First evidence of a sumptuous saxophone in full flight. Great choice for an opener.

The pace of the opener is juxtapositioned by the equally Bluesy mid tempo China Gate, a real gem of a song. A nimble fingerpicking lead break opens proceedings and meanders away in an out of another magnificently mournful Risager vocal delivery. That lead run then explodes into some of the very finest jagged searching slide I think I have ever hear. It is simply breathtaking and had me hitting repeat play. The emotion of the song is punctuated by deft percussion and sympathetic soft brass intonations.

Backstreet Driver ups the ante even more, possibly the most accessible track on the album, absolute killer slide playing jabbing in and around Risager, whose nimble footedness enables him to deliver an ultra cool vocal that smacks of total confidence and when a voice is this good why not? The song is lifted even higher with a monster groove from the rhythm section. This is sleay Blues that should be heard in a basement club!!.

If possible the ante is upped even more on Long Forgotten Track. Just imagine yourself jumping in the car hitting the road, rolling down the window, easing the elbow on the frame, turning up the volume and watching heads turn as the hooky laden motif oozes out.

Then for me, the absolute standout track on the album, the utter rip snorter that is High Rolling. Risager and Co take no prisoners and punch out a Stonesy sound as good as anything Mick and Co delivered circa Satisfaction, Jumping Jack Flash and Brown Sugar. Just catch the huge fat dirty riffs that erupt all over the place prompting an equally dirty urgent Risager vocal. Keys and brass chime in before the squalling duelling guitars are scythed open with a scorching lead break that has shades of Sir Keef at his beligerant best. Live this must be an absolute showstopper.

Too Many Roads is far from all foot to the floor Blues it does swing and encompass Jazzy notes and such sounds can be picked out on the light spacey sweeps of Long Forgotten Track, meandering lazy melody that evokes Dire Straits at their groove laden best for me.

Red Hot and Blue is a dance floor winner, soulful sweeps and booming brass bouncing along, another that in a live format wil surely fill a dance floor. Penultimate track Play On is a riot of sounds and as catchy as hell, honky tonk heaven and then some as the keys come to the fore and thunder along at 100mph, matched by Risager's swinging voice, swooning and swooping. Fabulous playing and fabulous song selection.

Buy this album if you just love to be entertained in your lounge in the same way you do at a gig. There is so much energy packed in to 48 minutes it is unbelievable.

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