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It's been a trying week here at Blues in London Towers. Our editor was sent into a veritable trough of despair when what began as a lively forum debate on the merits of Gary Moore, culminated in us getting royally slagged off for all our efforts at supporting the London Blues scene. Considering this site is run and maintained by contributors who give their time freely and is absolutely non-profit making, we were understandably left feeling a bit aggrieved. (And that's before I was called a "two-faced, scum-sucking, dipsomaniac, fascist" by a member of a band, disgruntled that I hadn't done enough for him - Ed.)
What's the point of continuing we thought, if this is the sort of negativity we receive from the 'established' blues scene? It made us question our motivations, and we felt like saying "to hell with inclusiveness", let's just concentrate on music that gets our juices pumping and heart pounding. As if by magic, that's when the 'Taste it!' album by Dogbreath arrived.
It happens quite rarely these days, but sometimes when you put on a new record, it only takes 20 seconds before you know 'this is gonna be great'. Such is the case with the choppy riffs and wailing slide of 'I Don't Know', the opener on Taste it! And after a barnstorming start, this record just keeps on giving. Yes, the vocal stylings of Per Ahman are very much in the mould of Bone Machine-era Tom Waits, but somehow he gets away with it.
As for the band, they're a little like a louder, less ramshackle Beefheart, with a hefty dose of funky Wilko Johnson-esque staccato rhythm guitar playing thrown in (especially on track 06 - 'Roadkill'). The over-arching impression however is one of a hard-driving, blues-inspired groove machine. The rhythm section must clearly be a couple of fit blokes to maintain the throbbing pace of this record in a live setting. For me, other standout tracks: 03 - Gotta Go (although I was upset that my Mac refused to play the video Mpeg of this), and 04 - Hold Me - a totally funky gumbo, where Canned Heat came to dinner and sat down to eat some grits with Curtis Mayfield and Isaac Hayes.
This four piece hail from Sweden and have been championed in the UK by the Alt. Blues guru and Resonance FM DJ, Joe Cushley. As well as Delta and Hill Country influences, the band's website also name-checks Richard Penniman (Little Richard) and the 'hard-erected' groove of James Brown. For more info, check out:
This, the Alabama 3 gig we attended (review here) and a good long chat we had with Mr. Honkeyfinger recently (again, interview online shortly) has restored our faith that there IS something to be saved from the wasteland... What else can I say, it's bloody great!