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Albums reviews here. If you need one Muddy Waters collection to preface the later, classic Johnny Winter-produced Hard Again, then buy this; you’ll relish every note. Roy Bainton

PEARL, TN Leave Me Alone Rattler Records

What a charming CD; combining English folk with less obvious influences from the sensibilities of traditional Country &

Western music. Overlaying the gentle instrumentation of this five-piece band comprising, piano, guitar, dobro and bass is the wistful and beautiful voice of Harriet James. All but one of the songs are self-penned and mostly speak of loss and regret. This is its charm, for it blends the seemingly innocent and dulcet tones of Harriet’s voice with some truly embittered sentiments, for example You Never Said Goodbye and resigned Slipping Away. Johnny Cash with its subtle trademark Cash guitar figures, is a tribute to a former lover whose errant ways are pithily encapsulated, rhyming a relationship described as ‘hell on earth’ with the man’s incarceration on ‘the very night when I was giving birth’. There is longing in Can’t Wait Forever, loss in Fly, Mother, Fly, playful lust in Kissing You, resentment in Dirty Lie and concludes with the self-explanatory Leave Me Alone. The one cover on this album is Bill Trader’s beautiful and highly apposite A Fool Such As I. If you have any albums by the wonderful in your collection, this will suit you perfectly. My only complaint is that at only half an hour long it left me wanting much more – maybe the occasional happy ending! Nogin

PHILLIP WALKER The Bottom Of The Top & Someday You’l Have These Blues Retroworld

Retroworld are currently releasing a series of overlooked blues and R&B albums, including Big Sandy and his

Fly-Rite Boys, James Armstrong and this release of Golf Coast blues by Phillip Walker. Having only recorded several singles prior to The Bottom Of The Top, Walker was joined in the studio by a young producer Bruce Bromberg, who was later to produce the works of Lightnin’ Hopkins, Joe Louis Walker and Robert Cray. Having served his apprenticeship with Clifton Chernier, Walker was a seasoned performer of 20 years. The album is comprised primarily of his interpretations of earlier blues musicians, yet songs such as Bob Geddins’ Tin Pan Alley are interpreted in an original, and then contemporary fashion. Not only a fine guitarist, Walker’s vocals are pleasing, with a fine take of Sam Cook’s Laughing And Clowning. One of three self-penned tracks, It’s All In Your Mind features saxophones and a trumpet, and indicates the emergence of his own song writing style. Also of note, is his version of Hopkins’ Hello Central. Someday You’ll Have These Blues bares little in way of differentiation, although it is a little more stripped back with keyboards generally replacing the horns of the first album. The two standout tracks being the Beaumont Blues and the title track. One feature of the second disc is the song-writing of bassist and co-producer Dennis Walker, who was to earn greater credits in the following decade with Robert Cray. While this is not an essential purchase, it will hold the attention of those fond of his contemporaries Magic Sam, Otis Rush et al. Duncan Beattie

PINK TURTLE Á La Mode Frémeaux

There is a fairly straight line linking Cab Calloway, Louis Jordan and Louis Prima in the evolution of jump-jive – French outfit Pink Turtle can now be added to the contemporary end. They have immense musical talent and the same kind of sense of humour as their predecessors too; they are happy to take hits of the last few decades, deconstruct them and then rebuild them as, say, a jumping, Jordanesque blues shuffle (Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop), a

Calloway-ish jiver (Sultans Of Swing, appropriately enough) or 50s flavoured group R&B (Baker Street, in the vein of a very early Leiber & Stoller composition). For me though, best of all is You’re The One That I Want, with its echoes of Duke Ellington’s ‘jungle sound’, though Bob Marley’s Get Up Stand Up runs it close, a cross between Cab Calloway and Ray Charles, or maybe the smoky, early 50s blues ballad rendition of The Kinks You Really Got Me (with flute). Oh heck, just take a listen to the whole album – it will certainly bring a smile to your face. Norman Darwen


The coming together of three of the jazz-fusion world’s premier players has created great excitement within jazz circles. Scott Henderson is accredited as one of the world’s leading jazz guitarists, whilst Jeff Berlin in acknowledged in a similar vein for his work on bass. Dennis Chambers is an almighty powerhouse on drums and has occupied the stool behind Carlos Santana for many years, yet in the world of jazz fusion, he is the most recorded drummer. All three players can cite stints with jazz musicians like Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and others. Their pedigree is second to none, and throughout, each musician sounds as though he is following his own solo route, each attempting to outplay the other. However, within that statement lies the true artistry of jazz-fusion as the overall complex sound comes together as one. Composers here include Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul and Billy Cobham, and of the nine tracks, only two, have been written by the three musicians. Threedom was written by Jeff Berlin and is an intricate bass solo, whilst Wayward Son Of Devil Boy co-written by the three of them is a straightforward Blues style stomp. It opens with some really heavy laden guitar by Henderson, demonstrating

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b lu es matters! | fe bruary–march 2013