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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
Just a few seconds into the opening tracks of this CD, and UK harmonica ace Giles Robson has already supplied some lovely train licks, pianist Bruce Katz (check out his CV!) is playing beautifully controlled boogie-woogie, and the great Joe Louis Walker is singing and sounding like he’s really enjoying himself. As for me, I just know that I’m gonna love this album!
The trio format means that all three musicians have to be at the top of their game – there’s nowhere to hide – but that’s no problem for these three guys. Stylistically, this is generally in an early 50s blues style – Chicago mainly, but sometimes more down-home – though with the occasional nod to the older “Bluebird” style. Listen to ‘I’m A Lonely Man’ to hear the kind of thing Muddy Waters might have laid down around 1950, whilst Giles shows his mastery of John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson’s style in addition to his already acclaimed prowess at Little Walter’s approach. Bruce indulges his Otis Spann stylings on the doomy ‘Murderer’s Home’, and the version of Big Bill Broonzy’s ‘Hell Ain’t But A Mile And A Quarter’ is another tour-de-force for Bruce, again with a lovely vocal by Joe. Giles gets to show off his 50s Chicago licks on ‘G & J Boogie’, whilst Bruce comes over all Big Maceo-ish on ‘Chicago Breakdown’; Maceo also supplies ‘Poor Kelly Blues’, the kind of number that rarely gets recorded these days but which fits these guys like a glove. Recommended? Of course!
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