Just a little news from England:

First of all the biggest news of recent months was the UK tour by 92 years old David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards, in the company of his manager and harmonica player Michael Frank, and with the support of UK singer and guitarist Dave Peabody, with whom Honeyboy worked back in the eighties. There were rave reviews everywhere for this!

There were a few new developments with innovative UK blues outfit Giles. There was an acoustic gig supporting Hans Theessink, and gigs in France and Scotland – nice to see the band are stretching out a little! See www.gilesmusic.com

New and upcoming releases from the UK Blues scene include two CDs from Note Records. Singer Paul Cox has ‘Real World + 5 Live’ (Note NCD 1014), a tasty blend of rock and soul tinged blues and R&B, whilst trio The Barcodes are augmented by sax and flute player Nick Newall on their classy, jazzy blues outing ‘Live! In Session For The BBC’ (Note NCD 1012). Check out www.note-music.co.uk.

The Five Aces (formerly known as The Boogaloo Investigators) are a Scottish band specialising in the hip London club sound of the mid-sixties i.e. they mix blues, soul, rock and roll, R&B, beat music and jazz into a heady brew – check out ‘Shout & Shimmy!’(Saag Aloo SAAGCD002). They can be found at www.thefiveaces.co.uk. Another eclectic and accomplished band performing not only blues, R&B, and soul, but also ska and reggae is Manchester’s Cabbage Alley. The four-piece (sax, keyboards, guitar and drums) recently launched its excellent debut album ‘Now With Added Sound’ (Morelianvibe MVB001) with a gig at the city’s Matt & Phred’s Jazz Club. Finally for new releases, heavy guitarist Pat Travers may be Canadian but he got his big break in Britain in the mid-seventies – his rock album ‘Stick With What You Know – Live In Europe’ (Provogue PRD 7227 2) includes several blues numbers performed in heavy metal fashion.

‘Clapton Is God! The Cream Of Early Eric’ (Castle Music CMEDDD 1531) is a new double CD Eric Clapton reissue of material he recorded in the sixties with The Yardbirds (including accompaniments to Sonny Boy Williamson), John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Champion Jack Dupree, Otis Spann, Jimmy Page, Martha Velez and Viv Stanshall. There is nothing unissued but this is Clapton playing the blues and establishing the reputation that has kept him going for the last forty years or so. (www.sanctuaryrecords.co.uk)

That’s about it for now!

----- Norman Darwen

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