Reviewer: Helen Jones
The Public Reviews Rating:
The Blues Band were formed in 1979 by Paul Jones, Dave Kelly and some fellow musicians who all counted the blues as an influence in their music. Thirty three years on and The Blues Band can still rock those rhythm and blues with the best of them.
Interspersing tracks from their new album Few Short Lines with their earlier work, this is a night of music to get your feet tapping and a smile on your face.
Paul Jones is the best known face of the band after his fame as a actor and with Manfred Mann’s Earth Band during the sixties and seventies. He is a charismatic front man, and his voice has lost none of it’s power and tone. It is however his harmonica playing which stands out and he must be one of the top harmonica players in the country as he makes the instrument produce sounds which seem impossible considering it’s size.
Dave Kelly, on vocals, lead and rhythm guitar, is an astounding slide guitarist but shows his love of the blues best with a simple version of Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out with just a piano accompaniment. Tom McGuinness also plays lead and rhythm guitars alongside his vocals. He has a wonderful blues voice and is another hugely accomplished guitarist – and can pull some tricks as well.
On bass and acoustic guitar is Gary Fletcher. He takes the lead vocal less regularly than the others but proves that this is not for lack of ability as a singer.The newest member of the band by joining in 1982 is drummer/percussionist Rob Townsend. He is also given his chances to shine and his drum solos are a burst of extreme energy which leaves you marvelling at his skill.
The band are joined by a special guest for the show, boogie-woogie pianist Bob Hall. He adds an additional depth to the music and must surely possess the fastest fingers in the west. His solo sections of the music show the results of a lifetime spent with some of the greatest people in blues history.
The average age of The Blues Band might be above pensionable age, but they show no signs of slowing down. Their music is as loud and energetic as when they were producing singles (on 7inch vinyl) in the late seventies and early eighties and makes for a wonderful evening of rhythm and blues as it should be played.