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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
KEITH THOMPSON BAND
Catch The Fire
There’s no fuss and few frills from Keith Thompson, his rhythm section (Neil Simpson, bass and Roy Adams on drums, borrowed from The Climax Blues Band) and special guests, including Buddy Whittington and the precocious Laurence Jones, on Catch The Fire.
The eighth album of a career where Thompson’s also a go-to session player, this outing has a gritty honesty about its relatively-unadorned content and from-the-heart delivery. It’s gratifying to note from the sleeve that no track extends beyond six minutes, suggesting that guitar histrionics are unlikely, this hint borne out on listening. Although not possessed of the strongest blues voice, Thompson puts as much effort into vocal emotion as he invests in his impressive single-coil attack and, at times, there’s as much honest soul as there is soloing.
‘Crazy’ exemplifies this, building from an intimate verse delivery into a rock ballad refrain, yet without losing the essential melancholic, pleading bluesy edge and never deviating into self indulgence.
The swinging shuffle of ‘Don’t Come Running To Me’, with Patsy Gamble’s sax adding a 50s feel, displays the versatility which has seen Thompson called upon to enhance recordings by, among others, Ruby Turner and Steve Winwood.
‘Paid My Dues’ is also worthy of mention, its riff-based dynamic allowing Simpson and Adams to display their well-honed skills in the light-and-shade balancing act that is tasteful three-piece rhythm accompaniment. And, of course, if you need a slide frenzy fix, ‘Send Your Fire’ is the one, an explosion of Delta howl atop a rhythmic bombast, guaranteed to raise roofs on the short English tour Thompson has scheduled for September and October.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAOXUMqR1PA - live cover of Jimi's 'Little Wing'
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