Quintessential British R&B With a Country Heart.
My father used to have a saying that I now use; “God acts in mysterious ways” and that may sum up why I selected this album to listen to last week.
First of all the band name is a bit of a mouthful isn’t it and the sleeve isn’t exactly eye-catching but as soon as I heard that wailing harmonica and thumping bass on opening track Little Black Book I knew I was onto a winner.
For what should be a relatively simple Classic British R&B foot stomper there’s an awful lot going on behind Jamie Williams gut wrenching vocal performance; not least Dave Milligan’s searingly hot guitar runs.
I Don’t Want To Break My Baby’s Heart which follows isn’t quite so earthy; more Manfred Mann than Dr. Feelgood if you know what I mean; but a helluva corking love song though, but man.
Nothing here is ever anything less than interesting with a couple of cool acoustic tunes thrown in for good measure, with Godsend and Bastard County both being glorious toe tapping Country Blues tunes of the highest order.
But it’s the glorious Rhythmic Blues of the electric persuasion that I’ve fallen in love with all over again with that harp from Nick Garner sending shivers down my spine on the chilling Voodoo Man (which also features the band on ‘harmonies’) and on Lonesome Howl From The Heart I was transported back to those drunken nights in the Red House on Newcastle’s dangerous Quayside long before it became gentrified.
While they obviously love 60’s British R&B and probably 70’s Pub Rock the band show that they aren’t a Retro Showband with Reaching For The Stars and One Man Mission To Mars which both fit in perfectly; but go off in spectacular new directions all of their own.
But; the title of RMHQ Favourite Song goes to a “Most Blues Wailing” song worthy of The Yardbirds, Feelgoods and even the Stones when they really were Rolling……..Baddass and Lazy is one of those songs that sounds great on record but will surely be a showstopper when played loud and at 100mph on stage. Williams sings from the heart over an industrial strength rhythm section and an electric guitar and harmonica that both need a bucket of cold water at the end of this spectacular 2 and a half minutes.
This is the music that first instilled my love of ‘The Blues’…..the quintessential British version and Jamie Williams and the Roots Collective aka JWRoots are every bit as good as anything that I’ve heard in the last twenty years; primarily because they aren’t trying to sound like anyone but themselves which is a winning formula at RMHQ.
Released 16th March 2018