Blues Round-up: May 2011

Henry Yates on new releases from King King, Sam Hare, T-Model Ford & GravelRoad, Geoff Everett Band and Desert Storm

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King King Featuring Alan Nimmo: Take My Hand

“Stupid name,” sneered a passing colleague, spying King King atop the tower of promos. True enough, but Alan Nimmo is a better one: a well-regarded Glasgow guitarist whose work in The Nimmo Brothers has rarely been dull, and whose byline saved this CD from the ignominy of a fate in the coaster pile. Stevie Nimmo strode out convincingly last year with The Wynds Of Life, and Take My Hand has enough special moments to prove Alan isn’t DeVito to his brother’s Schwarzenegger. The five covers are decent – particularly Clapton’s Old Love – but the original songwriting (shared with bassist Lindsay Coulson) is where King King feels like a band with mileage, with opener Lose Control evoking Mick Jagger doing his best chicken dance, Heart Without A Soul riding by on a clickety-clack funk riff, and Broken Heal finally delivering the full-bore rock classic that’s been threatened throughout. It’s an album to brighten days, not change lives, but sometimes that’s all you want. (710)

Sam Hare: Down To The Sea

As a club night promoter, Hare is all over the London blues scene like crabs on a tour bus, so it’s good to find all those 12-bar jams haven’t blunted his invention on his light-footed debut. This is folky, countrified, Hammond-tinged stuff that iTunes weirdly classifies as ‘Religious’. We wouldn’t go that far, but if Hare can plug this like he does his night at the Alleycat, he could ride his talent a long way. (610)

T-Model Ford And GravelRoad: Taledragger

Ford ain’t running so smooth these days. Recent years have been blighted by strokes and pacemakers, but here his backing band GravelRoad provide a solid bedrock for that still-spectacular voice and those gnarled fingers. Some of these tracks rattle on far too long, but we wouldn’t have the balls to tell the cantankerous old buzzard to wrap it up either. (510)

Geoff Everett Band: Adult Show

“Oh yeah, I know Geoff Everett…” is a familiar catchphrase on the scene: he’s been blazing since the 60s and, in truth, probably retains more lead in his musical pencil than most of that era’s superstars. On standouts tracks like Professor Honey Juice Blues and I’m A Hog For You, guitarist Everett fuses an older man’s phrasing with a younger one’s irreverence, meaning it’s not just adults who are likely to enjoy this Show. (610)

Desert Storm: Forked Tongues

Who’d have thought living in Oxford could make you so angry? With Matt Ryan threatening to “fuck you up from the inside” and Chris White’s bombastic blues-metal riffs sounding like Rage jabbing Page with a cattle-prod, this couldn’t be further from scarves and bicycles. Don’t expect to be handed the keys to the city, boys, but the wider world should appreciate this scorching debut. (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.