Reviews roundup – James Sayer vs. The 27 vs. Stevie J. Blues vs. John Richard
Sweet Baby Jane
That there James Sayer is a right show off what with singing and playing guitar, saxophone and piano as well as writing songs. He makes a penny as a pianist in high end bars and restaurants in London but what he really wants is to be a seventies singer / songwriter.
Sadly that was forty years ago when his Billy Joel meets Elton John stylings would have guaranteed him millions and a serious cocaine habit. He managed to punt some demos to former Doobie Brother Michael McDonald and has played all over the USA.
This is his second single and it’s really good. He’s a great singer, has a way with melody and lyrics and if this were a just world this would be a huge hit. It’s up beat, swinging and infectious (in a good way). Fingers crossed he’ll find a home in the modern world.
Call Me A Friend
Some UK country now courtesy of London band The 27 who have named themselves after the mythical 27 Club, made up of famous musicians who died aged 27. You know, the whole Janis, Jimi, Pigpen thing. Lovely.
And their thing is left field seventies country rock from the school of the Flying Burritos. So it’s a shame Gram Parsons died six weeks too soon to be a 27-er. And they’ve got their sound down pat with some nice harmony work and melodies.
Fair play to Henry Parker alongside Tom Mitchell, David Page and Alex Tschaikowsky for side stepping the pop country / Americana route and playing what they want to.
STEVIE J. BLUES
Back 2 Blues
To Jackson, Mississippi for some funky, soulful blues courtesy of Stevie J. Blues who probably had no choice but to play the blues with a name like that. It’s a lively mix of all the above with some great guitar work and some well judged horns.
It’s the rhythm section that pumps up the funk, especially the bass lines and it drives along some enjoyable tunes like “Lil’ Mo’ Love” and “Good Good. Elsewhere he goes a bit Swamp Dogg as well as throwing in some gospel feel.
It’s a strong record all the way although my own preferences draw me towards the more traditional sounds of “Another Jody Song”. That and the closing instrumental blues of “Blues By the Bay” were the high-points for me but it’s a record without any lows. Recommended.
Lost In Dublin
We’re not off to my ancestral Irish homelands. Nope, it’s the Canadian colonies to catch up with John Richard and an album of very soulful blues.
The core inspiration behind the album was a trip to Dublin and “an excitement about being overseas for the first time, romanticism and loneliness about being in such a classic place alone.” Me, I found it a bit grubby and overpriced but then there is no romance left in my soul.
Thankfully Mr Richard makes up for the both of us with some really enjoyable songs. Tunes like “I Fall Apart” and “Some Things Never Get Paid” will appeal to blues fans from all eras whilst “I Wish You’d Come With Me” showcases his more soulful side.
But he can do edgy as well, something ably demonstrated by the lengthy “Black Church” a primeval tale of an ancient, cursed church. It’s an excellent release that blues fans should be checking out.