Tag Archives: uk blues 2day

89. HUSKY TONES “Time For A Change” (2015)

(Pic: Husky Tones)

(Pic: Husky Tones)

After reading my review of Dave Spark’s excellent various artists compilation album UK Blues 2Day (see my review #85), I was contacted by Chris Harper of Husky Tones – one of the featured bands on the album. He sent me a copy of the band’s debut album Time For A Change on CD for review. The album has been available for a few months now, and has had some good reviews already, but I just want to say a few words about it anyway because its very good.

The band consists of: Chris Harper himself (Guitar); Victoria Bourne (Vocals / Drums); Matthew Richards (Bass); and Liam Ward (Harmonica). All experienced and competent musos; which is certainly demonstrated by their music; and there are distinctive vocals from Victoria.

Time For A Change is a ten track album with all songs written by Bourne and Harper. It contains a variety of Bluesy styles; and its clear that the band know their Blues inside out. It obviously gives a respectful nod to the classics of the genre; yet its no rehash of earlier music. It has a fresh feel about it that rejuvenates the Blues and brings it right up to date.

I particularly liked ‘I Dare You’, which has an unexpected middle section with a great SRV-esque guitar part. And the laid-back ‘Its A Bitter Love…’ with its superb harp and guitar.  There is a fine instrumental too, in the form of ‘Daybreak’. Lyrics on all songs are good – especially on ‘Fortune Seeker’, I thought.  ‘Uncle Walter’ (the track chosen for the UK Blues 2day album), covers an historical subject; whilst a lot of the rest covers the traditional love-angst typical of Blues (but that’s not a criticism!)

It was apparently recorded as live as possible in the studio, and required a minimum of overdubs to keep the sound as near as possible to the band’s live performance. This is a good thing because, as I said in my previous article and elsewhere, Blues is primarily about the live performance.

The CD comes in a standard Jewel Case with a cover featuring Victoria: and plenty of info and lyrics printed in the booklet. A very good album that’s worth buying. The band have just embarked on a UK tour to promote the album.  PTMQ

 Click here for the Husky Tones website

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