Flyinshoes Review

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SHORTSTUFF — BIG BLUE (Blonde On Blonde/ Digital (Records) Limited

www.thedavethomasband.co.uk

Blues brothers Dave Thomas and Hugh Gregory debuted on the UK folk club circuit in 1974, and though they recorded a few tracks in 1975 the tapes were thought to be long, long gone. Before that is, the tapes reappeared in a Hackney attic. Now the best have been joined by some 1992 recordings the boys did and at long last their debut album. Big Blue is a loose affair, one that fits like an old shoe, as blues, country blues and a sampling folk and blues-rock are spiced together as one.

On choosing traditional tune “Honeybabe” plus Johnny Cash’s “Hey Porter”, JJ Cale’s “Magnolia”, Dan Hicks’ “O’Reilly’s at The Bar”, J.B Lenoir’s “I Sing ‘Em The Way I Feel and John Mayall’s “Sitting In The Rain” plus two from Terry McGhee (“Sitting On Top Of The World” and “Love’s A Disease”), and the likewise two from J.J Cale “Magnolia” and “Same Old Blues” they keep it simple and at the same time varied. Enough to ensure one song doesn’t run into the next. From the opening line on “Hey Porter” I was taken with the relaxed ambiance of the duo’s work, nothing was over done or lacking in accompaniment as the songs became their own!

“Magnolia” offers quite a challenge to them, but through gentle coercing of electric and acoustic guitar and sympathetic vocal and otherwise arrangements Thomas and Gregory (plus the third member of the unit, Steve Jinks on percussion, bass, etc) conquer without a hint of trouble. Dan Hicks’ music (“O’Reilly At The Bar”) was an even bigger one, and though I have always found his work in general a little too eclectic the boys are once again up to the task. On showing a little more urgency, perfect timing it is too they follow with “Same Old Blues” with a mighty version of “Sitting On Top Of The World”. Where Thomas who has a band of his own and renowned for his blues guitar playing utilizes his skill on harmonica as old McGhee favourite not only gains a run out, but a really good one! Back to “Hey Porter” I just love what they do with it more every time i hear it. Nice work boys, for those interested Thomas and Gregory will be supporting the album with live shows.  

Maurice Hope      

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Year 2016

1
Levi Parham
90 pts.
These American Blues
Music Road Records
GC,JBO,TK
2
Martha Fields
86 pts.
Southern White Lies
Independent
BP,BH,FB,JAB,RW,SP
3
Carter Sampson
75 pts.
Wilder Side
Independent/CRS
AN,CRS,JB
4
Anna Elizabeth Laube
65 pts.
Tree
Ahh...Pockets! Records
DH,NC
5
Michael McDermott
60 pts.
Willow Springs
Pauper Sky Records
BK,MM
6
Shovels & Rope
54 pts.
Little Seeds
New West
 
7
Robert Ellis
53 pts.
Robert Ellis
New West Records
DHO
8
Sturgill Simpson
52 pts.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Atlantic Records
JJ,JF
9
Douglas Greer
50 pts.
Baja Louisiana
Zilker Park Records
HDB,ML
10
Lucinda Williams
46 pts.
The Ghosts Of Highway 20
Highway 20 Records
EM
11
Buddy Miller & Friends
44 pts.
Cayamo Sessions at Sea
New West Records
 
12
Wink Burcham
43 pts.
Cleveland Summer Nights
Continental Song City
 
13
Eric Brace & Peter Cooper
42 pts.
C&O Canal
Red Beet Records
BR
14
Brent Cobb
41 pts.
Shine On A Rainy Day
Elektra Records
HH
 
Daniel Romano
41 pts.
Mosey
New West
CVL
 
Leonard Cohen
41 pts.
You Want it Darker
Sony Music
HO
17
Christian Kjellvander
40 pts.
A Village: Natural Light
Tapete Records
BM
18
Drive-By Truckers
39 pts.
American Band
ATO Records
AR,EZ
19
Birds of Chicago
38 pts.
Real Midnight
Five Head Entertainment
LM,SZ
20
John Prine
37 pts.
For Better, or Worse
Oh Boy Records
FS,MB
21
The Cactus Blossoms
36 pts.
You’re Dreaming
Red House Records
GS,HD
22
Richmond Fontaine
35 pts.
You Can’t Go Back
Décor Records
FCE
23
Gillian Welch
34 pts.
Boots No.1: The Official Revival Bootleg
Acony Records
LK,PR,TJ
24
Sarah Jarosz
33 pts.
Undercurrent
Sugar Hill
RM
25
Joe Purdy
32 pts.
Who Will Be Next?
Mudtown Crier Records
AL
 
The Devil Makes Three
32 pts.
Redemption & Ruin
New West

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