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Blues Round-up: December 2010

Album Review

Henry Yates on new releases from The Russ Tippins Electric Band, Nuno Mindelis, JJ Grey & Mofro, Reverend Deadeye and The Loz Netto Band

The Russ Tippins Electric Band: Electrickery

Let’s be honest: this wasn’t meant to happen. We had Electrickery pencilled in for a micro-review; a charitable bone thrown to a hard-working provincial band, in our role as staunch anti-Cowellists and nurturers of the blue-collar rock flame (hey, you’ve got to give something back). And yet... this album charmed its way into this month’s podium position, on the strength of the ballsiest semi-professional British blues-rock we’ve heard in a while. Far more than pub sloggers, the Tippins Trio turn in some screamingly good moments on this well-produced record, from the manic thrill-ride of Jimi Hendrix’s Freedom to self-penned crackers like Little Josephine. The band are tight, but it’s Tippins himself who emerges with the most glory, screaming the house down, flaying his Strat and always keeping a twinkle in his eye with oh-so-British lyrics about being mown down by the No. 13 bus. If you don’t support bands like this, it’ll be your fault when Simon Cowell rules the world. (8/10)

Nuno Mindelis: Free Blues

He has a healthy back catalogue of original material, but Mindelis’ approach on Free Blues is to take untouchable benchmarks (Messin’ With The Kid, let’s say, or Red House), apply hip-hop beats and clickety-clackety guitars, then drawl over the top like a morose gangster. He can play, for sure, but the clue is in the word ‘untouchable’, and you’ll soon come crawling back to the originals. (6/10)

JJ Grey & Mofro: Georgia Warhorse

Recorded in his backwoods home near Jacksonville, Florida, and named after a partcularly tenacious breed of local grasshopper, JJ Grey’s fifth release drips authenticity and fizzes with soul. There’s just a bit too much funk and country flavours for us to truly clasp this to our blues bosom, but we’ll allow a certain blurring of the battlelines for songs this good. (7/10) 

Reverend Deadeye: The Trials And Tribulations Of Reverend Deadeye

Ok, that’ll do: we’ve had enough of the grizzly, faux-redneck one-man-bands, abusing cigarbox guitars while a million Guardian readers cream their chinos. To be fair, it’s not the Rev’s fault – his scabrous voicebox and crude bottleneck licks have a primal appeal – but he’s the straw that broke the sub-genre’s back. (6/10)

The Loz Netto band: Bridge Of Dreams

A weather-beaten journeyman previously scouted by Ahmet Ertegun and Gene Simmons, Loz Netto at his best is a lovely, languid guitarist and belting vocalist. This isn’t quite his best, though: the production sounds a little rough, while at times Netto’s riffing is so laid-back that it verges on the untidy (even a fluffed intro is kept in). (6/10)

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