Produced by Zachary Gabbard of the Buffalo Killers, “Do What Comes Naturally” is the latest offering from Handsome Jack and features Bob Nave (of the legendary Lemon Pipers) on hammond organ. Packaged in a beautiful double album type card CD case with retro photos by Natalie Solotes, it impeccably meanders through deep dark mid-tempo boogies, smoky upbeat burners, and soulful feel-good rockers with a serious swagger.
The vocals on here remind me of 60’s R&B maestro A.C.Reed during his period recording for Nike Recordings. Couple that with some wonderful Muscle Shoals type Hammond from Nave, and it is a proper foot-tapper from start to finish. Highlights come thick and fast, but include the harmonica-led ‘Creepin’ and the Stax/Volt-influenced ‘Between the Lines’. Taking the simple line of “You and me”, it gets right down to basics and proves that you really don’t have to venture far to find the groove in this package – it is in every track.
Soulful stirrings then from Handsome Jack, which are guaranteed to get your feet tapping. Marvellous!
Their ages belie it, but the members of the Bloodhounds remember good ol’ rock & roll. Or at least that’s the indication on the East L.A. quartet’s debut album Let Loose! The band reaches back to the pre-psychedelic days of 50s R&B and 60s garage rock, sticking in the main to the classic two guitars/bass/drums formula stamped into eternity by the Rolling Stones and the Beatles a half century ago.
It’s a pretty basic setup, but the ‘Hounds make it fresh, sounding like they’re having a blast jumpin’ in the night through “Saint Dee,” “Indian Highway” and a cover of Bo Diddley’s “Crackin’ Up.” The band also goes for a more overtly bluesy vibe on “The Wolf” and “Bottle Cap Blues.” The surprise, however, comes from “Olderbudwiser,” “Hey Lonnie” and “Dusty Bibles & Silver Spoons,” which dig even further back to the U.K.’s brief but memorable skiffle craze – not an influence usually heard, especially not from a band this young. It’s that kind of open-mindedness that make the Bloodhounds more than just a retro revivalist bar band and Let Loose an auspicious debut. – Michael Toland
November 23 @ Bierkeller — Bristol, UK
November 24 @ The Portland Arms — Cambridge, UK
November 25 @ Dingwalls — London, UK
November 26 @ Slade Rooms — Wolverhampton, UK
November 27 @ Fibbers — York, UK
November 28 @ O2 Academy 2 — Sheffield, UK
November 30 @ Belgrave Music Hall — Leeds, UK
December 1 @ The Cluny — Newscastle, UK
December 2 @ King Tut’s — Glasglow, UK
December 3 @ Kazimer — Liverpool, UK
December 4 @ The Ruby Lounge — Manchester, UK
The album hits a soul stride with “Leave it All Behind” and “Right On, the former sounding as if Arthur Alexander stepped out of the studio just long enough for the band to work up an original, the latter could be Little Feat’s heavier alter ego. Handsome Jack’s music resonates with the atmospheres of rock’s great ballrooms – the Avalon, Fillmore, Winterland, Agora, Grande – and the bands who rocked them. They call their music “boogie soul,” but the boogie gave birth to rock and their souls are plugged into an extension cord that stretches from Buffalo to the Delta.
The Blues Magazine has been named Best Publication at the 2014 European Blues Awards.
The award was announced by Gateway 97.8 FM’s Ashwyn Smyth via the station’s Digital Blues Show.
The Blues Magazine editor Ed Mitchell says: “We’re especially thrilled to receive a European award as we’ve been working hard to establish the magazine in Europe. Receiving this award shows that we’re making our mark on what is a huge scene. We’re still only just over two years old but I think we’ve caught the spirit of a reinvigorated blues scene in the UK, Europe, USA and the rest of the world.
“It takes a great team effort to keep the quality as high as it is. The mag’s art editor Steven Goldring and production/live editor Claudia Elliott have been pivotal in the success.
“Steven Goldring has given the magazine a look which puts it in a league above the competition. I’ve always said the blues – past and present – should be celebrated with the best photography and writers. We give blues the respect it deserves.
“Claudia has taken control of the magazine’s live reviews pages. Blues is at its best on the live stage, it’s the scene’s lifeblood, and her sterling coverage has helped make the magazine an important resource for blues fans.”
Congrats to the Blues Magazine for this award, and thanks again for the nice Alive feature!
The album ends with an unexpected one-two punch; first, there’s a stellar cover of the Four Tops’ classic “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” which holds tight to the heartfelt soul of the original while grinding down the song’s edge to something that’s more jagged and roughened. Collins and company come off like distant cousins to The Animals, and that’s no bad place to be in my book. Then there’s “Walk Away,” sweet and forlorn, with Collins being left but seemingly resigned to the end of the relationship. – Read the whole review on the Space City Rock site
Power-pop is one of the most contradictory forms in rock n’ roll. A genre designed to mine from the best parts of early Beatles and Beach Boy harmonies, Pete Townsend’s massive guitar jangle and sweetness and simplicity of The Everly Brothers, power-pop is so expertly enjoyable that it is rarely present in the world of mainstream music. On his last record, Paul Collins crowned himself The King Of Power Pop, a title he makes a strong argument for. He is most famous as drummer of The Nerves, the influential but short lived 70’s group best known for “Hanging On The Telephone” which would later become a radio staple when covered by Blondie on their humongous Parallel Lines record. He would later play in The Breakaways and The Beat (later re-named The Paul Collins Beat) and has been recording and playing shows fervently for the past 30 years.
Feel The Noise is as pure to the form as any record in his Collins’ career. His voice has barely aged, executing Buddy Holly hiccups on “Baby I’m In Love With You” and pulling off a far-fetched on paper cover of The Four Tops’ “Reach Out (I’ll Be There.”) A hard working master of his craft, Collins rarely misses a step, singing love songs and songs about rock n’ roll, like the inspired title track. He may not be reinventing the wheel, but he is a master of his craft, of which he has few peers. – Jamie Frey
If you had any fear that rock n’ roll was dead, don’t worry because all the things that you love about it are alive and kickin’ now that East Los Angeles four-piece The Bloodhounds have released their debut studio album, Let Loose! via Alive NaturalSound Records. Power pop legend Arthur Alexander (Sorrows, The Poppees) produced this mouthwatering slice of rock ‘n’ roll pie and I highly recommend you sink your teeth into it. Steeped in and indebted to the rock ‘n’ roll traditions of the Rolling Stones honky tonk swag, Dylan’s epic vocal drawl, and everything in between — The Bloodhounds draw from the greatest of influences but create one kickass record to call their own. Throw your shoulders back, roll up your sleeves, and buckle up for maximum rock overdrive.