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  • daveprince3


Released - February 1st, 2023. Reviewed 29th January 2023 Rockin Rebel. Distribution: Proper Music:

Band Members Mike Thomas...vocals, harmonica, guitar. Malcolm Barclay...guitar, vocals Roy ‘Uncle’ Webber...drums, vocals Paul Cuff...double bass Tim Penn... piano, accordion, vocals

This is the bands 6th album for 33 records since 2003, each one becoming bigger than the one before. They were first formed in the year 2000 and made up of members from bans like The Poorboys and Big Joe Louis, and now, after a thousand shows, they have built a pretty good name for themselves and a fans flock to see them wherever they are appearing. Award winning performances will surely keep continuing with releases like this. This album was recorded at the mighty Grange Studios, Norfolk and produced by Dave Williams. Some mighty names have recorded in the studio such as Tom Jones, Fleetwood Mac and Tina Turner. Mixed at Ealing Central by Richard Manwaring who himself as worked with some top artist like Status Quo, Van Morrison and John Lee Hooker. Their most recent cd “The Secret of My Success” reached the number one position in the USA’s Cashbox Blues & Boogie chart in 2017. During this time some talented players such as guitarist Oliver Darling (now touring with Imelda May and boogie piano sensation Henri Herbert. They have appeared alongside and opened shows for such acts as John Mayall, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Magic Slim, Louisiana Red, Nappy Brown. You tube clips are hitting over a million with one hitting four million “Betty Lou” so its only right to say they are very popular across the UK and Europe, and I’m really looking forward to listening to the album which will be available from Wednesday 1st February 2023. OK, the good lady has gone to bed early which allows me to chuck the headphones on and have a private listening party. I love my job...

Track by Track. Doubtin’ Thomas. (Thomas) Don’t doubt it when I tell you this is one smashing track, telling the story of a lady who is not being exactly true. Awesome guitar work and getting the piano in the background just helps this bluesy track carry its way to some classic mouth organ. Four and half minutes and no doubting you will be nodding your head to this tune.

Betty Lou Just Broke Outa Jail. (Thomas) Well, as the song says, women are going to cheer and men are going to wail. Starts with a Chuck Berry influence on the guitar opening. It’s a floor filling track that will keep y'all jiving until they catch Betty Lou, but then you will want her freed on good behaviour.

Bona Fide. (Piazza, Thomas) Combine the drums with the mouth organ for a dream start to any track. it as everything you want to hear in a song. Mouth organ giving it a country feel, electric guitar keeping the blues and the piano for the rockabilly boogie, not forgetting the vocals that just a bonus to the track.

Cadillac Boogie. (Kavana, Thomas) Bone shaking, leg trembling, fast paced rocker. The accordion is pushed to the limit against the backdrop of guitars and drums but it’s holding its own. The sweet sound of the upright bass makes it through the wall of sound and says hello before going back and allows the squeeze box to take its bow.

It Ain’t Smart. (Thomas) Do the band actually know who this song is about?. Tongue in cheek lyrics to somebody that may not be as smart as they may feel. I’m sure we all know somebody that fills this character. Humour is a big part of the band’s ingredients and it's a great number which is true in many ways.

Don’t Fix it. (Thomas) Another great lyrical track from the Thomas songbook with some great advice in the song. Nicely composed backing with easy sounding licks from the guitar and drums.

Havana Mama. (Thomas) Takin' ya deep down south, folks. Five minutes of pure modern day blues. Sang in a low key to a speaking speed to help the feel along. Lyrics around a woman who has a potion for every one of life worries.

Farmer John. (Harris, Terry) The accordion comes back out for this upbeat country dance track. The mouth organ plays alongside the sweet sound of the accordion to marry the musical duet. Some major skill being displayed on these instruments. Farmer John is a song written by Don "Sugarcane" Harris and Dewey Terry, and first recorded by the two as the American R&B duo Don and Dewey in 1959

Crash and Burn. (Thomas) Title track from the album and it doesn’t disappoint. Just another track that shows just how good a writer Mike Thomas is. Took some simple words and turned them into a song fit enough to become the title track.

When One Door Closes. (Thomas) Back In the year 2000 a band formed to become one of the best blues/R-B/rock n roll and jazz bands around. Then you know you can believe when one door closes another one opens. The song telling the story of luck or lack of it for some folks. Piano is snapping at the ivories while the song gives its woes, nice backing vocals and backing.

Beer Drinkin’ Woman. (Memphis Slim) A cover version of the great pioneer in the jump blues style Memphis Slim. He led the way for introducing instruments that included saxophones, bass, drums, and piano. Know better way to learn your craft than listening to slim. This is a 6 minutes of your soul being pulled from your body and into the song. Great track.

Too Much Stuff. (Thomas) Back to having the foot firmly on the pedal with this rockin' track. lyrics telling how some people have just a little too many items in the home. Something every music loving home around the world will identify with. It's a lighted hearted winging track that will delight the male of the species.

Six Feet from a Rat. (Thomas) Steady beat track with some accordion to smooth out from being close to the rats, and not always the rodent kind. Great gritty lyrics that tell how not everyone can be trusted. Nice instrumental in the middle part.

Zombie Walk. (Maghett, Thomas) Last track and it’s a rocker. Great licks from the guitar and solo instrumental section. The bass and drums lend a hand keeping the beat.

Summary Just an awesome album. Some brilliant writing and the band play their hearts out. I can see why they are winning awards and wooing the crowds. It makes no difference what genre you are into this as everything within it. If you don’t like it, check your pulse or breath onto a mirror. Congratulation to all concerned on this release. Its truly a great album!

Recommendation Don’t miss out. Order it at the earliest convenience.

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