Reviews roundup – Thornetta Davis vs. Manitoba Hal vs. Ash Wilson
Sweet Mama Music
Time for some prime blues shouting courtesy of Thornetta Davis. The latest in a long line of ladies who like to blast it out, it comes as no surprise to learn that she spent some time working as a backing singer for Kid Rock. So she knows what loud is.
Hailing from Detroit she’s been singing for a long time now and this album showcases what is a tremendous voice. There are a few special guests popping in to say hello including Kim Wilson from the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Larry McCray but this is very much a Thornetta Davis album from start to finish.
Whether you like it hot and sweaty as on “I Gotta Sang The Blues” or laid back and soulful as best displayed on “Am I Just A Shadow” this is a record that has a lot to offer to fans of the blues. Elsewhere I was well taken with the blues rock of “I Believe (Everything Gonna Be Alright)” but whatever groove you drop the needle in, this is definitely a record that just keeps on giving.
Live In Ghent
To the Canadian colonies now for some more blues. Well, I say Canada but it’s via Ghent in Belgium and the brilliantly named Missy Sippy Blues & Roots Club which is where this double live album of acoustic blues was recorded.
Again I say acoustic but what I actually mean is ukulele blues because that’s how Manitoba Hal likes to play. You don’t get that very often in the blues but it actually makes for a very invigorating sound. Of course I’m a ukulele fan so it may not be your cup of tea but in a good voice and some great songs and you went up with an entertaining listen.
He mixes up classics from the likes of Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Mississippi John Hurth, B.B. King and others with his own material, which touches on Delta blues, cajun and country blues, but wherever he lands he does a fine job. If you like your blues in an acoustic style and are looking for something a wee bit different, then this is a record you should be checking out.
Wilson Brothers Music
The latest in a line of UK blues rockers is Ash Wilson whose debut album is certainly worth a listen, assuming you are happy to take your blues rock with a large dose of classic seventies styled rock.
He’s got this brother Phil on drums along with Roger Inness who plays with Laurence Jones), and keyboards / Hammond by Bob Fridzema (King King, Ben Poole etc), so there is no doubting the musical chops that are on offer. Song wise he likes to range far and wide on ‘Broken Machine’ going from the trad blues rock of “Show Me How To Love You” and the shuffle of “Peace And Love” to the pop rock of the title track and the balladry of “Holding Hands”.
There are some really good songs on offer here which showcase the promise of Mr WIlson with “The Hitcher” (which has The Hoax’s Jesse Davey on vocals) an absolute jawdropper. His scope might be a tad on the wide side for the more traditional blues fans but for those who enjoy a broad palate of sounds, then this is a debut that should give them cheer.