Blues Round-up: October 2012

Henry Yates on new releases from Ian Siegal & The Mississippi Mudbloods, Gwyn Ashton, Blue To Brown, Muddy Waters and Simon McBride

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Ian Siegal & The Mississippi Mudbloods: Candy Store Kid

Last year, Ian Siegal risked embarrassment and sunburn with The Skinny, a hook-up with the hill musicians of Coldwater, Mississippi, on their own hallowed turf. He held his own, and, logically enough, for Candy Store Kid, the 42-year-old returns for a second crack of the whip. Here Siegal kicks back seamlessly into the skinny groove to preside over a second batch of classics. It kicks off with the fruity Duke Bardwell ballad Bayou Country, reminding us of the thrill of the roughneck Siegal voicebox, before Loose Cannon sets off on its chippy strut. The bone-rattling I Am The Train truly sounds like a freight-hopped locomotive, while the backyard vibe of Kingfish shows Siegal is just as visceral when tickling a slide guitar to sparse accompaniment. By the time the wah-powered groove of Hard Pressed (What Da Fuzz?) plays out, you sense that Mississippi has a new adopted son and Britain a national treasure. Success tastes sweet. (810)

Gwyn Ashton: Radiogram

The Aussie guitarist revoked the initial promo of Radiogram, citing production niggles. In vindication, his second stab is hairier-chested and pleasantly torn and frayed. A strong set of songs, it peaks on the speaker-ripping cover of Willie Dixon’s I Just Wanna Make Love To You, and dips slightly with the casual casualness of seven-minute Roy Buchanan tribute Bluz For Roy. (710)

Blue To Brown: Blue To Brown

There remains something disconcertingly cosy about father-and-son bands, but Blue To Brown prove a convincing family unit, with guitarist Dom Brown – while presumably not quitting his day job with Duran Duran – showing an instinctive, stinging blues touch on Blue Boy, and vocalist Rob Brown delivering some strong melodies in the craggy croak of a 40-a-day Barry White. (610)

Muddy Waters: Screamin’ And Cryin’ The Blues

The oft-trotted-out line is that Waters was adrift in the 70s until Hard Again relocated his mojo (with a little help from Johnny Winter). True in the studio, perhaps, but these live cuts from Warsaw in 1976 are anything but a death-rattle, finding the veteran easing through Goin’ Down Slow and rocking the house on Caladonia. Hardly ground breaking, but still enjoyable. (610)

Simon McBride: Crossing The Line

The chops remain stellar, but you suspect that at 33, Guitarist magazine’s former shred-off champion would rather we focus on Crossing The Line’s evolving songwriting. It’s cracking stuff, with McBride taking swipes at fat-cat culture on Lead Us Away, rebooting Dazed And Confused on the stabs of Starve This Fever and rattling teeth on Go Down Gamblin’. Not just for guitar shop employees, then. (710)

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.