Tag Archives: mat walklate

105. MAT WALKLATE & PAOLO FUSCHI “Kicking Up The Dust” (2016)

(Pic: Walklate & Fuschi)

(Pic: Walklate & Fuschi)

When Mat Walklate asked me if I’d like to review the album Kicking Up The Dust which he had recorded in collaboration with Paolo Fuschi, I had no hesitation in accepting because I’d already heard good things about them and their album.

Playing the CD it was soon clear that these boys have been doing some serious listening to some old Blues records! Now I must admit that I haven’t listened to stuff like this for quite a few years… since I lived next door to the late Ray Topping of Ace Records, in fact. It was he who introduced me to a lot of old Blues like this; and he would have loved this album. As I do.

Mancunian Mat plays harp and sings; whilst Sicilian Paolo plays guitar and sings. As a duet they have gelled perfectly; demonstrating tight arrangements and complimenting each others strengths. Together they have picked up the vibe of some authentic Blues masters.

Kicking Up The Dust is a ten track disc of mostly old Blues covers of 50s / 60s vintage (except for one track penned by the duet themselves). Classics by the likes of Willy Dixon (‘As Long As I Have You’); Lightning Hopkins (Black Cat Bone’); and Mud Morganfield‘s tribute to his Dad (Muddy Waters) ‘Trouble No More’, are covered with an impressive degree of accuracy and authenticity in both sound and performance; whilst still demonstrating a new interpretation too. Their own number ‘Don’t You Know Me?’ fits nicely with the general vibe of the old classics in the collection; and shows that these boys are capable of writing as well as covering. Its a pity though that they didn’t include one or two more of their own songs.

The album was recorded at Eve Studios in Manchester. The CD comes in a simple card gate-fold sleeve with photos, track listing, thanks and credits etc. It is already released and is available from their website (link below). If you’re into classic Blues then you’ll need to hear / buy this album. PTMQ

Website…   www.walklateandfuschi.com

85. “UK BLUES 2DAY” (Vols 1 & 2): Dave Spark Music Compilation Albums (2015)

(Photo: Dave Spark)

Volume 1 cover. Volume 2 is similar (Photo: Dave Spark)

Not too long ago, Essex Blues aficionado Dave Spark contacted me to say that he was compiling an album to promote new British Blues artists; and wondered if I could recommend some bands and review it for him when ready. It sounded like an interesting and worthwhile project – one that I was fully in favour of and only too pleased to help out with if possible. I suggested a few names and I’m glad to see that a couple of them are included. Dave has done an impressive job of it too. He in fact had enough material for two albums, and released them simultaneously. He also got it done pretty sharpish too! The collections are entitled UK Blues 2Day (Volumes 1 & 2); and they each contain 14 exceptionally good tracks.

I received the downloads from Dave recently, and I must say, I was very impressed with the sheer range of Blues styles that he’d managed to squeeze into the 28 tracks of the two volumes; giving a good selection of what British Blues artists are all about these days.

The whole gamut of the Blues spectrum is represented – from the traditional sounding ‘Uncle Walter’ by  Husky Tones; to the Rock end of the genre, courtesy of  Ali Clinton’s ‘The Lie 24-96’. There is the dulcet voice of Zoe Schwarz on ‘Beatitudes’; contrasting with the gravelly vocals of T Belly’s ‘Respectable Man’. We have the R’n’B of Rev. Ferriday’s ‘Red Painted Lips’; compared to the Country influenced vibe of Mat Walklate’s ‘So Long’. Several artists, such as The Della Grants; and The Blue Horizon, have a song on both volumes. And there is a lot more besides: Dave is keen to especially point out ‘Layla’ by FutureBlues: ‘…it is a strange bed-fellow with the other tracks…’ he told me ‘… but with a new twist on the modern side. I felt it deserved a place on the album’.

(Photo: Dave Spark)

(Photo: Dave Spark)

But being a big fan of female vocal, I was especially pleased to see that tracks by several ladies that I have been very impressed with lately have been included; ie: Ruby Tiger’s ‘Best Friend’; Tanya Piche’s ‘Blues Child Woman’; and Angela Lewis Brown’s ‘Ice Cold Tears’. Ruby and Angela were my recommendations; but Tanya was already known to Dave. (I have reviewed music by all three of these very talented ladies quite recently – see my List of Contents). In spite of the fact that there is lot of female vocal on these two albums (I’m glad to say); there is also some talk of a separate Women In Blues album too; so that sounds promising as well.

I’m recommending both volumes to long-term Blues fans; as well as those who are interested to find out what the UK Blues scene is all about. These albums are good samples of the genre as a whole. At the moment they are only available as MP3 downloads, but there is the possibility of a CD version of each in the future too. Downloads are available from Amazon.

(Photo: Dave Spark)

(Photo: Dave Spark)

Dave has also been busy compiling two similar collections entitled UK Ska 2Day (Also on Amazon). He asked me to review these too, but unfortunately I don’t feel qualified to do this. I’m sure he’s done a damn fine job on them too though. Dave has been promoting British Blues bands at gigs lately too; including the wonderful Malaya Blue gig that I attended a few months ago (see my review #64); and The Tanya Piche Blues Band have also appeared at one of Dave’s promotions recently.

Dave seems to have his finger on the pulse of the UK Blues scene, and is working tirelessly to promote some of the very promising artists currently emerging in the UK. So I’m wishing him the best of luck in all of his very admirable projects. PTMQ