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Blues Band - Few Short Lines

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 29 / 11 / 2011

Blues Band - Few Short Lines
Label: Repertoire Records
Format: CD


Energetic and infectious blues on fabulous seventeenth album from British blues institution, the Blues Band

'Few Short Lines' is the seventeenth album by British blues institution the Blues Band. Formed from the remnants of Manfred Mann, McGuinness Flint and the John Dummer Blues Band, the five piece quickly established a reputation for excellence both in the studio and live performances. Their brand of energetic rhythm and blues remains as fresh and powerful today as it ever was, while their musicianship goes from strength to strength with each new release. Opening track 'Few Short Lines' is an explosion of toe-tapping energy, held together by Paul Jones’ fantastic harmonica interjections and Dave Kelly’s superb blues guitar. Tom McGuinness’ vocal is accomplished and sits high in the mix allowing it to soar above the dazzling sonic interplay of the backing track. The album continues with 'My Brother was a Sailor', a traditional 1-4-5 blues piece featuring great guitar work and a wandering bar-room piano by Mike Sanchez. As with the opening track, Paul Jones is in fine voice, and his harmonica playing is dazzling. The album features piano and keyboard work from guest musicians Al Kooper, Pete Wingfield and, as previously mentioned, Mike Sanchez. As well as instrumental contributions, 'Few Short Lines' features three guest vocalists in the form of Southside Johnny (on 'You are True'), Linda Lewis (on 'Sway with Me') and former Stone the Crows vocalist Maggie Bell (on 'I Believe I’m in Love with You'). As well as his vocal, Southside Johnny provides an excellent harmonica performance on 'You Can Dance to the Blues'. The highlight of the album for me is fourth track 'You are True' – a great vocal from Southside Johnny sits well on a rocking backing track featuring magnificent harmonica work from Paul Jones. Like the album’s opening track, 'You are True' is full of energy and has a massively infectious beat. Maggie Bell and Dave Kelly duet to great effect on 'I Believe I’m in Love with You', the power of Bell’s voice blending well with Kelly’s vocal. Blind Willie McTell’s 'Statesboro Blues' is given an electric makeover, and comes alive as a rocking R&B track which, despite having been written and recorded in 1928, sounds as fresh and contemporary as anything on the album. The album closes with 'You Can Dance to the Blues', a great Tom McGuinness composition and yet another full-steam workout. Again, the musicianship is first class, and Paul Jones’ vocal is terrific as is Southside Johnny’s harmonica solo. This album is probably as good as electric blues ever gets. The band are wonderfully gifted, technically precise and yet never sterile, and they sound as though they had a whale of a time in the studio. The guest stars work well within the context of the album, with Southside Johnny’s performances standing out for me. This is very much a modern blues album, but it is one which remains loyal to its heritage. The question was once asked, Can white men sing the blues? You’d better believe it.

Track Listing:-
1 Few Short Lines
2 My Brother Was A Sailor
3 Sway With Me
4 You Are True
5 Living With The Blues
6 I Believe I'm In Love With You
7 Pay It No Mind
8 Statesboro Blues
9 Suddenly I Like It
10 My Toot Toot
11 That's My Way
12 Road
13 It Take Love
14 You Can Dance To The Blues

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