Blues Round-up: December 2010

Henry Yates on new releases from The Russ Tippins Electric Band, Nuno Mindelis, JJ Grey & Mofro, Reverend Deadeye and The Loz Netto Band

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The Russ Tippins Electric Band: Electrickery

Let’s be honest: this wasn’t meant to happen. We had Electrickery pencilled in for a micro-review; a charitable bone thrown to a hard-working provincial band, in our role as staunch anti-Cowellists and nurturers of the blue-collar rock flame (hey, you’ve got to give something back). And yet… this album charmed its way into this month’s podium position, on the strength of the ballsiest semi-professional British blues-rock we’ve heard in a while. Far more than pub sloggers, the Tippins Trio turn in some screamingly good moments on this well-produced record, from the manic thrill-ride of Jimi Hendrix’s Freedom to self-penned crackers like Little Josephine. The band are tight, but it’s Tippins himself who emerges with the most glory, screaming the house down, flaying his Strat and always keeping a twinkle in his eye with oh-so-British lyrics about being mown down by the No. 13 bus. If you don’t support bands like this, it’ll be your fault when Simon Cowell rules the world. (810)

Nuno Mindelis: Free Blues

He has a healthy back catalogue of original material, but Mindelis’ approach on Free Blues is to take untouchable benchmarks (Messin’ With The Kid, let’s say, or Red House), apply hip-hop beats and clickety-clackety guitars, then drawl over the top like a morose gangster. He can play, for sure, but the clue is in the word ‘untouchable’, and you’ll soon come crawling back to the originals. (610)

JJ Grey & Mofro: Georgia Warhorse

Recorded in his backwoods home near Jacksonville, Florida, and named after a partcularly tenacious breed of local grasshopper, JJ Grey’s fifth release drips authenticity and fizzes with soul. There’s just a bit too much funk and country flavours for us to truly clasp this to our blues bosom, but we’ll allow a certain blurring of the battlelines for songs this good. (710)

Reverend Deadeye: The Trials And Tribulations Of Reverend Deadeye

Ok, that’ll do: we’ve had enough of the grizzly, faux-redneck one-man-bands, abusing cigarbox guitars while a million Guardian readers cream their chinos. To be fair, it’s not the Rev’s fault – his scabrous voicebox and crude bottleneck licks have a primal appeal – but he’s the straw that broke the sub-genre’s back. (610)

The Loz Netto band: Bridge Of Dreams

A weather-beaten journeyman previously scouted by Ahmet Ertegun and Gene Simmons, Loz Netto at his best is a lovely, languid guitarist and belting vocalist. This isn’t quite his best, though: the production sounds a little rough, while at times Netto’s riffing is so laid-back that it verges on the untidy (even a fluffed intro is kept in). (610)

Henry Yates

Henry Yates has been a freelance journalist since 2002 and written about music for titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a music pundit on Times Radio and BBC TV, and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Kiefer Sutherland and many more.