Album reviews

Tedeschi Trucks Band

MADE UP MIND

Sony

Last year’s Revelator was a fixture on our stereo until this latest missive swiftly took its place. This 11-piece troupe stirs up an addictive soup with classic flavours, and with Trucks’ skilled touch and Tedeschi’s all-round talents they simply can’t fail. Part Of Me is a radiant old-school R&B duet, the title track is fierce blues goodness with flabbergasting slide, and the touching Idle Wind and funked-up Misunderstood seal it.

Moreland & Arbuckle

7 CITIES

Telarc

M&A’s newest undertaking charts the story of Coronado, a Spanish explorer in search of the Cities Of Gold. An odd theme for a rootsy, rocky blues album one would think, but instead it works a charm and propels the LP forward. Opener Quivira is riffed-up garage, The Devil In Me adds twang, Road Blind is an unfettered stomper… but Everybody Wants To Rule The World? For us, that’s a mismatch.

Jonny Lang

FIGHT FOR MY SOUL

Provogue

The last we heard from Lang was his superb Grammy-winning album Turn Around. Now he breaks a seven-year silence with this powerful and moving follow-up. Equipped with an angelic voice and an equally soulful set of digits, Lang is as proficient in gentle fingerplay (All Of A Sudden) as upbeat, driving soul (River), Prince-like funk (Not Right) and refined balladry (I’ll Always Be). Recommended.

The Rides

CAN’T GET ENOUGH

Provogue

Stephen Stills, Barry Goldberg and Kenny Wayne Shepherd? With a fine pedigree such as this we expect big things, and big things are afoot. There’s a simple, robust thread that holds this US blues-rock set firmly together. Originals blend with covers including the Stooges’ Search And Destroy, Neil Young’s Rockin’ In The Free World and Muddy Waters’ Honey Bee for a cohesive diversity, and Shepherd and Stills’ vocals mix it up further.

Deke Dickerson

ECHOSONIC ELDORADO

Raucous

A fantastic title for a pearl of an album with 14 spine-tingling rockabilly treats. Fans of slapback vocals, twanging guitars and general sonic mayhem will love Dickerson’s style. Little Innocent and I’m Getting Your Message, Baby are boppin’ standouts, Sneakin’ All Around is Piano-backed fun and Big Guitar is a rock-steady homage to the six-string. Deke takes an authentic Sun Records sound and adds his own peerless flair.

Hamilton Loomis

GIVE IT BACK

Ham Bone

Funked-up blues has never grasped our attention quite like this tight yet breezy, affair. Loomis explores soul, R&B, pop and rock too and in doing so carves out his own joyful niche. Cuts like She’s Had Enough skirts funk, blues and rock for a unique tilt, Partner In Crime is slinky stuff, and ballad A Woman Like You is Rhodes-led silk. Bass god Victor Wooten joins the fray on groovesome opener Stuck In A Rut too. Unquantifiable.

Norman Watt-Roy

FAITH & GRACE

Cadiz

Named after cockney slang for bass, Watt-Roy’s first solo LP is a shopfront for his talents that swerves excitedly from animated vitality to graceful jazzy strains. A woozy take on Ian Dury’s Billericay Dickie and a revamp of Wilko Johnson’s Roxette (with Wilko) are inspired, his own Me, My Bass & I is a biographical thrill and a cover of My Foolish Heart, his late wife’s favourite song, is bliss. Robin Hood (good).

Buddy Guy

RHYTHM & BLUES

Sony

Buddy is joined by an elite headcount including Beth Hart, Kid Rock and Steven Tyler for this double disc, split into ‘Rhythm’ and ‘Blues’. The quality of workmanship throughout vindicates Guy’s legendary status, particularly Best In Town, with some unique unhinged wah-wah guitar; One Day Away, a soft duet with Keith Urban; and fiery thrills on Blues Don’t Care with Gary Clark Jr. A master in action.

Oli Brown

SONGS FROM THE ROAD

Ruf

This electrifying live CD/DVD was captured at Brown’s homecoming gig in Norwich last year, and it’s one hell of a workout with cuts from all three of his excellent albums. There’s hot-blooded fretwork from set-starter Speechless through to the raucous Stone Cold that ends the gig, with intermediate highs including the bile of Manic Bloom, Devil In Me’s creeping riff and a brutal cover of the Black Keys’ Next Girl.

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