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It’s strange to think that this is the debut album from Mike Vernon considering his history. Founder of the legendary British Blues label, Blue Horizon who gave starts to Peter Green, Rory Gallagher, Paul Kossoff and Christine McVie to name but a few) and producer of some of the finest British Blues (John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Ten Years After, Savoy Brown, Fleetwood Mac, Chicken Shack), not forgetting, Focus, Freddie King, Climax Blues Band, Level 42 and Roachford.
He’s always wanted to front his own band; it’s only taken him 61 years to do it! The Mighty Combo features Kid Carlos (guitar), Ian Jennings (upright bass), Matt Little (keyboards), Paul Tasker (saxophone) and Mike Hellier (drums).
They open with the Swing/Jump of We’re Gonna Rock The Joint, a tight easy going start to the album and follow it up with a cover of the Brook Benton song, Kiddio. This standard Blues based mid-pacer is led admirably by the guitar of Kid Carlos. Heart & Soul and I Can Fix It offer up nothing out of the ordinary and the second cover of the set, Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry’s (I Don’t Know Why I Love You) But I Do confirms my opinion that covers are rarely better than the originals, Good effort though.
Be On That Train reaches the standards that I expected. This R&B swinger has Carlos’ guitar and Paul Tasker’s sax combining well. Things continue to be on the up with the final cover on the album, Mose Allison’s Your Mind Is On Vacation. The polished, slow shuffling Blues is complimented by Vernon’s languid vocal and peppered by guitar and sax from the aforementioned Carlos and Tasker.
The end of the album has a couple of highlights in Old Man Dreams and Jump Up with the former being a true Blues and the best guitar work to make it the highlight of the collection.
Mike and the band are currently touring the album through to the start of October.
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