Tag Archives: chris corcoran

115. KATIE BRADLEY with THE CHRIS CORCORAN TRIO (+ support MARTIN McNEILL) at THE NEW CRAWDADDY BLUES CLUB, Billericay, Essex. Friday 29th July, 2016.

Katie sings the Blues! (Photo: K.Bradley)

Katie sings the Blues! (Photo: K.Bradley)

Back in January, at a gig at Peggy Sue’s Music Bar (see my review #87), Blues singer Katie Bradley told me that she and The Chris Corcoran Trio would be headlining at The New Crawdaddy Blues Club, Billericay, Essex later in the year. That was, of course, a date I was eager to keep. But I had to rush from work to get there; and even so I completely missed the support act Martin McNeill (who of course is the host at Monday Blues At Peggy Sue’s); and I arrived just as Katie, Chris and the boys were beginning their set.

Katie of course often gigs with Chris Corcoran and his band; and they work very well together. Mr.C himself is a guitarist of great and unique ability; and he is aided by the remarkable and respected JJ Zarbo on Double Bass; and the highly rated Rob Pokorny on Drums.

Katie’s vocals are smooth and soothing; with charming nuances inherent in her voice. A joy to hear and see perform. And apart from being a fine vocalist, Katie is also a bit tasty with the Blues Harp too; and this was certainly in evidence tonight.

The four of them got through a single fine set of mostly well-known Blues covers. I like fresh interpretations of classics; and they didn’t disappoint in this – reworking several Blues staples with a refreshing zest; melding the familiar with the new. Luminaries such as Georgia White; Billie Holiday; Big Mama Thornton; and Muddy Waters; were brought back to life in Katie’s inimitable style. We heard Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘My Baby Caught A Train’; BB King’s ‘Three O’Clock In The Morning’ and ‘Every Day I Have The Blues’.

Chris Corcoran (Photo: Karen R)

Chris Corcoran (Photo: Karen R)

We were also treated Katie’s own ‘Be Careful With My Baby’ which featured a great solo from Chris.  Its only a shame that we didn’t get more of Katie’s own material, which (in collaboration with Dudley Ross) has brought her much acclaim in recent years – particularly at the BBA last year.

My personal favourite was the classic Kansas Joe McCoy’s old Jazz-Blues number ‘Why Don’t You Do Right?’. I’ve always loved this song, and I’ve heard many covers of it over the years – this being one of the best. It featured fine solos from all three of the band, and some particularly good vocals from Katie of course. Excellent!

Several people I knew present in the audience on the night had been looking forward to the gig for some time, and showed their appreciation by demanding a double encore. It was well deserved. If you like your Blues on the traditional side – yet with a spark freshness too – then I’d say get along to a KB gig ASAP; and you won’t be disappointed. I had time for a little chat with Katie and Chris after the show. They are working on a new album; so that is something to look out for.

Big thanks to: impressario Paul Dean of the New Crawdaddy for hosting a fine night of Blues yet again;  to Paul’s fine team of volunteers for making it run so smoothly; and to Karen of the club for supplying great photos once more. See my review (#66) of a Red Butler gig at The New Crawdaddy last year for basic info on the club; or see their website. PTMQ

Katie’s website

Chris’ website

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87. MONDAY BLUES AT PEGGY SUE’S, 25th January, 2016. Host: MARTIN McNEILL; with special guests: KATIE BRADLEY and CHRIS CORCORAN.

(Photo: PTMQ. Katie herself chose this pic from those I took on the night)

(Photo: PTMQ. Katie herself chose this pic from those I took on the night)

My first trip to Monday Blues At Peggy Sue’s, this year, was a good’n to say the least. As usual, it was hosted by the inimitable Martin McNeill – this week with special guests: the incomparable vocalist Katie Bradley; and the impressive guitarist Chris Corcoran.

Now, Martin hosts his Blues night at Peggy Sue’s every Monday, and I must admit that I haven’t been there too often; but when I have, its always been very good indeed. But tonight’s show was, I thought, exceptional – even judged against the high standards I’ve seen set previously. It is a measure of Martin’s success at Peggy Sue’s that he is attracting ever bigger names from further afield. And long may that continue.

Katie and Chris, although both having their individual projects, collaborate often, and work very well together. Both are making quite a name for themselves in the UK Blues scene of late; especially Kate, who only last year won the British Blues Award in the Best Song-Writer category (for her work in collaboration with Dudley Ross); and was runner up in the Best Female Vocal category.

I arrived early and had a chat with the three performers and a few others of my acquaintance – including Russ Cottee of The Blues Spiders, (I’ll be writing about this band’s new album on my site shortly). All were friendly and approachable of course.  Katie and I had a nice little chin-wag. I found her to be a genuinely amiable lady; who is open and modest. Hopefully I can get a proper interview with her some time later in the year (watch this space).

Martin and Chris began proceedings by opening with ‘It Hurts Me Too’ and followed with ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin’. Then, with Katie taking up the mic and joining the boys, the trio launched into Jimmy Reed’s ‘Baby What You Want Me To Do?’ There then followed a remarkable set of (mostly) covers – Blues standards as well as lesser known numbers. They got through songs by such luminaries as Howlin’ Wolf; Willy Dixon; Memphis Minnie; Little Walter; Ray Charles; and WC Handy; plus others. A good selection of classics.

There was also; an excellent cover of Etta James’ classic ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ (which went down particularly well with the audience);  ‘Hey Now, Aint That The Blues’ by the uniquely named Rubberlegs Williams;  then one of Katie’s own songs ‘Be Careful With My Baby’; and a couple of instrumentals by the lads without Katie. But I particularly liked their renditions of Greeny’s ‘Need Your Love So Bad’; and Kansas Joe McCoy’s ‘Why Don’t You Do Right’ best of all.

At all times the performances by all three was classy and faultless. Martin’s slide work was superb as usual – which I have of course, documented before. To be honest, I wasn’t at all familiar with Chris before this gig. Katie said that as a guitarist myself I would like his work. She was right; I was very impressed by his consummate playing style, which seemed to accurately pick up on the vibe of the early Blues numbers that he covered. Add to this a good clear tone from his semi-acoustic; and some great lead guitar work too.

Katie herself sung beautifully – confidently and elegantly delivering Blues classics with ease for the small, but very appreciative audience. I never look for imperfections in anyone’s performance, but if I did, I’d have found none at all in Katie’s performance on the night! Both her voice and her vocal style are impressive. She obviously has a great knowledge of the great Blues singers of the past; but delivers in her own unique style too. She sings a little Jazz too, she told me; and I think that is discernible in her style as well. There is no wonder then, that she came second in the Female Vocal category at the prestigious British Blues Awards in 2015. She proved herself to be more than a bit useful on harp too – although she apologised for not bringing her best set of harps with her to the gig. We forgave her – she was fantastic anyway!

All in all it was an excellent little gig indeed – only marred by the fact that I had to leave early to go to work! Thanks to all the staff at Peggy Sue’s for fine hospitality as usual. PTMQ.

Click below for my other reviews of gigs Monday Blues At Peggy Sue’s, see…

#38. Martin McNeill; with Steve West Weston and Rob Glazebrook. 2nd March 2015.

#47. Martin McNeill; with Roy Mette. 20th April 2015.

#63. Richie Milton and Bill Farrow. 3rd August 2015.

For my review of Martin McNeill’s excellent album Lately I’ve Let Things Slide; click here.

For Martin’s website, click here

For Katies website, click here

For Chris’ website, click here

For Peggy Sue’s Face Book page, click here