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GHOST TOWN BLUES BAND – Backstage Pass (Independent Release – <a href=""></a>)


Recorded live on their home turf in Memphis, Tennessee, this is the fourth album from this seven piece outfit and that “blues band” tag is both spot-on and something of a misnomer, as evidenced by the opening track, a raucous Mississippi hill country stomp that is actually a cover of The Beatles' ‘Come Together’ (complete with trombone break) that also includes a nod to ‘Norwegian Wood’ and evolves organically into Led Zeppelin’s anthem ‘Whole Lotta Love’. ‘Tip Of My Hat’ is a complete change, a New Orleans flavoured double-entendre, ‘Shine’ has a lovely classic soul feel and sound, ‘Givin’ It All Away’ hits a funky late 60s groove (with the merest hint of the Crusaders’ ‘Way Back Home’), and ‘Big Shirley ‘ is a traditional sounding boogie blues number segueing masterfully into Led Zeppelin’s ‘Rock And Roll’. Whipping Post’ is of course The Allman Brothers song, running to a single second short of 16 minutes, an impressive version of the southern rock classic, whilst ‘I Get High’ covers George Porter, another Crescent City styled number with gritty vocals and some soaring guitar playing, again reminiscent of The Allman’s leading into nods to the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed and a spirited rap. ‘One More Whiskey’ is a fine blues shuffle with harmonica  The closing ‘I Need More Love’ features leader Matt Isbell on a guitar made out of his grandmother’s silverware chest but quickly turns into a huge-sounding tour-de-force for all concerned, and transforms itself into The Spencer Davis Group’s ‘Gimme Some Lovin’’. Overall, a highly charged live set, certainly blues-based but jumping off in all kinds of interesting directions.

Norman Darwen

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April 2018

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