Category Archives: blues

MOODY MAAS + GLEN — Live in Staines

This week MOODY, MAAS and GLEN played a tasty selection of emotionally soul-stirring songs from their recent album Black & Chrome live in Staines, Surrey.

We went along to see.

Black & Chrome – Ali Maas & Micky Moody

The collaboration of Ali Maas and Micky Moody started in 2014 as a songwriting project that quickly developed into some excellent album work. Another album is on the way.

Their musical union results from a shared admiration for blues, soul, Americana, palpitating rhythms and captivating melodies.

Aside from his well-documented time with Whitesnake, Micky Moody was also a member of Juicy Lucy, Roger Chapman and the Shortlist, Snakecharmer and others.

Ali Maas was lead singer and writer for critically acclaimed band McQueen.

Their highly accomplished studio band comprised of a group of luminous musicians that included the amazing drummer Jimmy Copley, who sadly died this month.

The British harmonica player Alan Glen — who was a member of Nine Below Zero (1991-1995) as well as The Yardbirds — was also involved.

Their pruned-back live-show boasts that same trio — Moody, Maas and Glen. We saw their concert at the Staines Riverside Club on May 18th. Other dates have also been announced.

Ali Maas- Frequent cloud-bursting highs…

Ali Maas took centre stage at the Riverside, with the master-musicians at the flank.

Her vocal style was reminiscent of Alannah Myles with many velvety, sorrowful layers and frequent cloud-bursting highs. The light accompaniment from Moody & Glen reminded us of stripped-back Fleetwood Mac.

Moody, who told the audience he suffered from bad back, “caused by a dishwasher incident...” created delicate and fanciful guitar notes.

In particular, his slide guitar-work was skilful. And even though there was no drummer on stage, he frequently provided percussion through clever touches and slaps of the guitar body and picking the strings.

Glen played electric rhythm guitar for the most part, often adding rich and expressive lyrical moments to songs with his blues harp or providing intense emotions via those howling solos.

The show began with the magnificently melancholic “A Change In Everything” with thoughtful contemplations behind every loose-toned reflection and haunting lyrics like, “Sometimes we are better off alone...”

And then we enjoyed “Woman Be Wise” with those warning words: “Don’t Advertise Your Man…

Ali Maas suggested she suffered from “fried egg” after a cold — although her vocal was rich and satisfying, and did not seem fatigued or overly mucoid. Moody remained perched on his stool for the duration — maybe his back felt a little sore.

Excellent covers included the excellent “In My Girlish Days” [Memphis Minnie] and the syncopated standard “San Francisco Bay Blues” [Jesse Fuller] made famous by Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and more.

Dusty’s “Son of a Preacher Man” went down particularly well with the Staines crowd. The interpretation by this talented trio was lunar and majestic.

The soft-shoe number “Emotional Powder Keg Blues” was apparently written by Ali when she was going through what she described as a “bunny-boiler phase…

This number had pat-a-cake rhythms and expressive guitar-lines provided by Alan Glen.

Towards the finale we had “Big Mama” Thornton’s 12-bar blues song “Hound Dog” that has been recorded over 250 times and is one of the world’s best ever sellers…

The MOODY, MAAS and GLEN rendition had all the impudence & euphoria we appreciated in the original.

This was a thoroughly pleasurable evening filled with artistry and flair.

Words & Pictures: @neilmach 2017 ©
You can read a recent interview with MAAS & MOODY here: https://rawramp.me/maas-and-moody
Black & Chrome by Ali Maas & Micky Moody ‎is OUT NOW via Armadillo Music
Link: https://www.mickymoody.com

Moody, Maas & Glen – expressive lyrical moments…

Papa George and Micky Moody – Live at The Riverside Club, Staines

You couldn’t get two more talented bluesmen together than this. Rock guitar wizard Micky Moody (Whitesnake) along with classic ‘Blues With a Feeling’ guitarist Papa George at The Riverside Club Staines. Micky Moody seated slightly loftily on the glittering stage of the Staines Club, vaunting his Les Paul, and Papa George, slightly lower, embracing his custom steel guitar.

“Well, are you ready for this?” George asked the crowd, the excitement already building. A warm round of applause followed. “Right, then, lets move on …” And we went straight on a trip … starting with the warmth and glowing hypnotic genius of “You Can Love Yourself.” ( contemporary Delta blues artist Keb’ Mo’)

Clearly, both artists are masters of the guitar – but the voices are also impeccable. As we approach “Jesus on the Mainline”  (trad: but normally associated with slider Ry Cooder,)  Papa George’s voice is darker, more whisky and dry whilst Micky’s vocals are finer, they seem stretched-  they are harder.Together, these elements create a magical potion. Crowd participation was encouraged gently, without becoming uncomfortable. As I looked around the club I could see almost everyone was happily singing along to the chorus.

The atmosphere was relaxed and unpressured.  And you felt that you were witnessing two of your favourite artists jamming away in your own lounge. Such is their easy-going style and their friendly light-hearted manner, it is as if you are enjoying an evening with friends. And that’s how it should be.

Included in the set were at least a couple of Papa George’s own compositions, including one of my own favourites “Broken Mirror”. It is at these points that you realize how skilled these musicians really are. Their improvisations are amazing. Both guitarists consistently demonstrated a mastery not only of the blues guitar, but also classical and flamenco guitar. The finger tapping percussive style of Micky Moody was particularly fascinating.

Songs like “Sailin’ Shoes”  (written by Little Feat guitarist Lowell George) allow the partnership to flourish. Here the intricate patterns created by the splendid finger-picking from George, surround the sweeter notes soared up by Micky.This song allows the duo to explore new undiscovered territories – all the while branching out with fresh sounds – whilst the audience happily goes along for the ride.

Papa George is a first-class vocalist with a creamy dark chocolate voice that smothers you in those deep molasses.  Micky Moody is a snake-charming smooth handed guitar player and a talented vocalist. Together they played a concert that was uplifting – almost spiritual …. what a night!

© Neil_Mach April 2012

Links:

http://www.papageorge.co.uk/

http://www.mickymoody.co.uk


Roland Chadwick – Staines Riverside Club

The humble Staines Riverside Club has gradually emerged, quietly yet earnestly, as an interesting and valuable local music venue over the last few years – with regular live music slots – along with plenty of other cultural activities.  As a result of a lot of hard work from some of the music-loving club members , the venue has been able to entice some formidable artistic talent to their tinsel fringed stage in recent months – such as Papa George, Big Jim Sullivan and the Good Old Boys. Last Thursday night the club opened their Thameside doors to welcome in the gifted Australian guitarist and composer Roland Chadwick.  Roland’s career has spanned from the blues to world music and then to pop, and he has been hailed as a ‘guitarist’s guitarist’ by the likes of John Renbourn and Tommy Emmanuel. He has recorded and worked with the likes of Steve Vai, Barriemore Barlow (Jethro Tull),  Mike Lindup (Level 42) and Alan Glen, (The Yardbirds.) He has also been greatly praised for his work with the English Chamber Orchestra.

Starting off a two-part set with some rootsy blues guitar work, the quixotic and, frankly, Van Dyckesque musician and his resonator guitar seemed comfortably at home in front of the relaxed Staines audience. Technically brilliant, he is also emotionally inspirational and possesses an unerring instinct to tease the sounds out of the twanging strings. The sights, smells and the sensations of the Delta come alive with his sublime use of bottle-neck and picking. But much of his blues derived material has a loftier and even classical guitar ‘edge’ to it, and is played with an observant nod towards the Spanish ancestry of his instrument. His voice is high and sweet, and has a sad quality to it. Sometimes these high notes are extended to falsetto- reminding the listener of bluegrass yodeling.

The more rounded, and probably the most commercially viable piece in this portion of the set, was Chadwick’s own song ‘Valentina’ during which he plays the guitar with such speed and melodic tone that it almost sounds like a mandolin. The tune is heart-achingly beautiful and has an emotional dimension that reminded me of the Led Zeppelin song “Thank You” (off their 1969 album Led Zeppelin II containing the lyric … “Little drops of rain”.)

Other highlights of the performance included an even handed yet thrilling version of  “Come Together” (The Beatles – Bluesman Muddy Waters is mentioned in this song) and an exciting version of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” the Delta blues number Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

In the second half Roland Chadwick introduced the audience to Nick Linnick, a young ‘student’ guitarist of his acquaintance. Nick is a prodigious talent in his own right and his youthful and relentlessly high quality guitar-play is delivered at formidable speed. Balanced with an eloquent style, and in terms of talent, it was often hard to separate the master from the apprentice. This  half of the set was dominated by jazz numbers including some standards like “Ain’t No Sunshine” but also included some more demanding improvised work. The guitar duo created seductively mellow colours, often given backdrops of brooding and melancholy chords, and punctuated by vivid fluidity. A lighter moment was a show tune from ‘The Sound of Music’ but the most memorable number was the blues standard “Hoochie Coochie Man” ( written by Willie Dixon and first performed by Muddy Waters in 1954.)  When played by the duelling guitars, this song became a poignant melange of swampy, smoky delta blues laced with enough exhilarating xampany to evoke an exhilarating and dazzling percussive flamenco style. Chadwick’s nimble fingers picked and plucked the strings with astonishing speed – trickier and nippier than a ferret in a trap.

Roland Chadwick is class act and provides a hot evening of fun.  And he got the mojo too!

© Neil_Mach
September 2010

Link:

http://www.myspace.com/rolandchadwick

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Albany Down, The Hob Staines, May 6

Wow! What a show!  As if touched by grace during the past six months, Albany Down put on a mesmerising and masterful show for the eager crowds at the Staines Hobgoblin last Thursday.   The breadth of their musical achievement is amazing. High dancing vocals from Paul Muir, exciting solos and pushing,  tearing power-chords on the guitar by Paul Turley, pounding great grumbling bass notes from Billy and wildly wicked thunderclaps of earth-shattering power from Jonny on drums.  It was like an eruptive force of nature exploding onto the stage at The Hob.  Those of us who had witnessed Albany Down in the past were in for a surprise.  Expecting their usual subtle blends of ‘grown up’  Rock, Blues and Indie originals  (with maybe a few exciting covers chucked in) none of us could have foreseen such a seismic change in the talents of this ‘conservative’ looking and ‘conservative’  sounding young band.  But their new show is classic rock to be reckoned with.  And this was more than just a performance. It was an urgent, volatile, flaming heart, ears buzzing declaration of power and creative energy.

The band shared a bundle of new material with the delighted crowd at Staines. ‘The Morning After’ with it’s progressive bass-play and  pulsating rhythms of tension and groove constructed to create a mocking anthem  for sliders and shifters…  laced with those treacly lead guitars and culminating in an elegant and hummable chorus. This is an accomplished and worthy song. And  ‘Wasted’ starts with a riff that is so tense that it makes you want to urgently seek much needed climatic release. This is a poisonous mix of clean-cut vocals and dirty, dirty guitars – all chugging along with that insistent drive.

Evidently someone must have whacked a rattlesnake up Paul Muir’s kilt at some stage, because he is now a rampant beast…   prancing, jumping and parading around the stage like an addled Mick Jagger crossed with a libidinous Marti Pellow.  He really ‘held on’ to the heartstrings of the crowd. And Paul Turley not only gave up his quality southern-soaked guitars, but also gave us some note-perfect, sizzling lead vocals on a blues number, and plenty of melodic and expressive backing vocals on other songs. Billy the Bruiser was equally flamboyant on bass guitar, lurking, leeching and leering his way all around the stage whilst  wildman Jonny, on those frantic drums, provided a confetti of pyrotechnic percussive achievements.

The final four songs of the set; The Albany’s blues-style version of the Steve Booker / Duffy hit ‘Mercy’, followed up by the ‘Train Song’, ‘Jealousy’  and ‘Save Me’ draw influences from early Stones, Who even Zeppelin. And these numbers demonstrate that the band would be comfortable working in a blues club, an indie rock venue, a metal festival or up on the high altar at a stadium sized event. Such is their ability and their scale of work.

Yep, Albany Down are now as hot a volcanic ash and yet as cool as snow slippers. This sparkling band goes from strength to strength. Check them out as soon as you can. They will pour passion into your pumps, fire flames up your flares and ram jumping beans down your jumper.  True quality!

© Neil_Mach
May 2010

http://www.myspace.com/albanydownofficial

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Gemma Lawrence Trio – Staines Conservative Club

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The Gemma Lawrence Trio – She’s The Bossa

Under the watchful eye of Winston Churchill the sultry sounds of the Gemma Lawrence Trio trilled through the Staines Conservative Club bar. Gemma Lawrence was giving up her smoky best for a handful of true-blue blue-rinse blue-blood Tory ladies and their senior partners, who gave polite but mild applause. The atmosphere was, in every respect, ‘genteel’.

Gemma is a jazzy blues singer with leanings towards Country. A little bit country and a little bit rock n roll, if you like. In fact, she has recorded a Country album in Nashville with some of Tennessee’s musical royalty – including Gordon Mote. The trio is a guitar based combo, perhaps lacking the heartbeat of percussion at times, but never lacking direction or gusto.

The band includes singer/songwriter and all-round renaissance man Jonny Palmer on one guitar (together with his handy synth) along with Mark Dorsett and his fresh-faced blues-style pickin’ on the other.

But the main focus is on the classy lady Gemma and her slinky voice. Gemma reminded me of Diana Krall, not only in appearance but also in style. Like Diana, Gemma is able to ooze out those husky contralto lows and also the nerve tingling highs. Another piano based singer that came to my mind was Vonda Shepard, perhaps because of the mid-tempo jazzy familiarity of the sounds.

Gemma is very much the ‘band leader’ of the trio, constantly pointing direction and motivating the other musicians, getting things moving if needed or slowing things down when the mood requires. Her voice is strong, dense and smooth as an all-over cocoa butter body rub. Sticky and sweet. It gets right into all those aching places. The Southern U.S. swamplands are dark, mysterious places with hidden depths. And those Southern bars are smoky, sultry and  somewhat risky. These are the colours, smells and textures expressed in Gemma’s songs. Deep, deep lows are contrasted against ringing highs and cheerfully sweet melodies.

Gemma’s set started with the somewhat ironic ‘Stealers Wheel’ piece “Stuck in the Middle With You” (possibly more famous these days as a theme from the ‘Reservoir Dogs’.) This song kinda summed up what it was like playing the Staines Con Club on a cool quiet evening in Staines. “It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face…”

The set also included some old favourites like the Hoagy Carmichael ‘Georgia on My Mind’ or ‘Ventura Highway’, ‘Under The Broadwalk’ and even ‘Suspicious Minds’. I particularly liked the upbeat “I Saw Her Standing There” (one of my favourite Beatles numbers) and the Kenny Young / Drifters classic “Under the Boardwalk”.

At times I could have done without the ‘nuts and bolts’ being on show so much. You know the kind of thing, “Another key change now” or “We need more time here” or the fiddling with amps / mike stands etc. In my opinion music, like all craft, should magically conceal the hard work, grease, sweat and effort that goes into making it. The rough edges need to be smoothed out for public consumption. But, maybe I am being too harsh.

Stand out songs for me were the self penned “Always The Same”, a soothing and reliably efficient song (the delivery reminded me of Crystal Gayle,) and the Duffy/Hogarth track “Warwick Avenue”. It is a shame that Gemma didn’t include any Amy Whinehouse in her song-book too but maybe that would have been a step too far for the respectable members of the Con Club!

For funky, jazzy, smooth sounds, the Gemma Lawrence Trio can be thoroughly recommended. Catch them soon at a venue near you or you could see the trio at this years  Walton Soundfest.

© Neil_Mach
May 2009

www.myspace.com/gemmalawrencetrio

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Papa George & Steve Simpson April 16

Papa George & Steve Simpson Staines Riverside Club April 16 2009

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Papa George is generally regarded as one of the major electric blues musicians playing on the British blues scene today.

Although inspired by the Southern style of country blues that grew out of the Mississippi Delta and Louisiana his sounds and techniques also lean heavily towards the influence of the Chicago blues sounds reminiscent of  Muddy Waters – who himself became a success in the UK after an acclaimed tour in 1960.

Papa George’s style is characterized by the use of amplified resonator guitars or Fender Strat, picked or bottled, as each note is gently squeezed from soulful strings. His deep, great smoky voice is a mixture of honeyed molasses and Tennessee sourmash whiskey- sometimes dark and bitter as the cocoa bean, but most of the time, as sweet and as merry as a Piña Colada.

There is enough bitterness and maturity in and around Papa George’s chord progressions to ferment a state of melancholy in the heart of everyone in the room, without resorting to farce or fantasy. In his concerts, you remain firmly within Papa George’s world of blackjack back-room bars or windswept palm-fringed beaches but the settings and vibrations of all the songs seem authentic enough to  be recognisably rooted in West London and the English blues setting.

Papa George employs a more up-tempo style than many of his blues playing buddies (reminding me of John Lee Hooker) with a driving rhythm and a tendency to walk the bass pattern with his thumb- this especially nimble method helping to illuminate and add texture to the rhythm of the faster numbers. Papa George treated us to great big dollops of shoofly pie and soda and cream with cheery songs like Chuck Berry’s ‘You Never Can Tell’ and soulful numbers like ‘Moonshadows On Coconut Grove’. At times the sounds were as fiery as a string of Texas jalapeños and at other times as passionate as a fling on the Yazoo River. His fighting spirit is always served with generous spoonfuls of butter and cream.

Ably and competently supporting him, and taking some astonishing lead parts, was the loveable Stevie Simpson playing accompanying Strat or, at times,  his amplified Hathaway mandolin. Steve is a class-act in his own right, having played with all the ‘greats’ including Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, and Ry Cooders’ Chicken Skin Music Band. His slightly higher and sweeter vocals helped to lighten the mood and his amazing finger pickin’ techniques and his overall clarity and precision meant that this duo put on an immensely tight show.

Although George and Steve took us on a voyage through the history of rhythm and blues, rock ‘n’ roll, folk, jazz, and even country it is their style of electric blues that is the most important lesson in musical history- as each carefully picked or bottled tune directs the audience ever closer towards the sounds we now take for granted in the genres of hard rock and heavy metal.

© Neil_Mach April 2009

Links:

www.myspace.com/papageorgeblues

www.stevesimpsonmusic.com/

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Blue Fuses – Staines 28 MARCH

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SAT 28TH MARCH 2009 – JOLLY FARMER STAINES

The four piece line up of Noel, Doug, Pete and Will lasted 15 years from end of 1994 until 2009, when they became a power trio.

Originally a blues band (THE STAINES DELTA BLUES BAND), they now cover pretty much everything from AC/DC to Frank Zappa, via Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. In other words, CLASSIC ROCK!

The band delivers a tight, highly entertaining performance, every time. This is not a band that hides in the corner apologising for its existence! They play for the sheer enjoyment of entertaining an audience.

The band has a secret penchant for anything by British Rockers ‘with a colour in their name’. Think pink, black and purple…

ADPONTES describes the band as “impressive guitar…a skilled and compelling live performance…”

See the entire BLUE FUSES Adpontes LIVE REVIEW here >>

Link:

http://www.bluefuses.co.uk/

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