8 pm for 9 pm show –£15

Ben Tyzack and Guy Tortora

In our opinion this is likely to be the gig of the year when the two London based Americans Ben and Guy get together for one of only a handful of duo gigs this year. Ben is known to many as the guitarist from The Spikedrivers and Guy leads his own band and their acoustic gigs have been greeted with great plaudits

Check the YouTube clips to see what we have in store, we promise you it will be a real treat.

For all gigs, please check availability first by mailing  petevans@btinternet.com or ringing 01948 770215. Cheques with SAE to be made out to Hooker Blues Club and sent to Oak Cottage, Wallington Lane, Worthenbury, Wrexham LL13 0AL.

Thanks for everything . . .

Posted on: Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015

Due to circumstances I am no longer able to contribute to this site. I’m not sure of the proprietor’s intentions . .  . please contact him via usual channels.

Thanks to everyone out there who has ever sent a review CD, news, gig listing or live review . . . I thank you all.


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RIP Allen Toussaint

Posted on: Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015

Passed away yesterday in Madrid.  He may be gone but his legacy will live forever.



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We are happy to announce that the 2016 North Wales Blues and Soul Festival will take place over the weekend of 5th – 7th August 2016. Here’s hoping you will join us for another great weekend of live music on the field and around the town.

To celebrate this announcement, we have released some special super-early-bird weekend tickets only available via our website. This fantastic deal will only be available until the end of 2015.

Spread the word, we hope to see you all next year.

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Live gig review for ‘KING KING’ + ‘REBECCA DOWNES’ by Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive @ The Grand Venue, Clitheroe – 30/10/15 http://www.kingking.co.uk/ http://www.rebeccadownes.com/

A full house greeted us at the Grand Venue in Clitheroe, for a wild evening of blues and rock.


Opening the evening, in this amazing purpose build venue, was vocalist Rebecca Downes and her band. Rebecca hails from the Midlands and gave a brilliant performance, showcasing her new album ‘Back To The Start’. Laying down raw and powerful vocals, with blues with soul overtones, Rebecca certainly had us spell bound. She was well supported by her five piece band and made a great impact on the enthusiastic audience.

The sell- out headline act, King King, were welcomed by a rapturous crowd. Kicking off with a great rocky opener they gave us the taster of what the rest of the evening would bring. Fronting the band on amazing guitar and vocals was award winning Glaswegian, Alan Nimmo, with Lindsay Coulson on bass, Bob Fridzema on keys and award-winning Wayne Proctor on drums.


Playing many numbers from their exceptional new album ‘Reaching For The Light’ including ‘Rush Hour’, ‘Hurricane’, ‘You Stopped The Rain’ and ‘Crazy’ with also a collection of classic King King, including the epic ‘Jealousy’, they didn’t disappoint. With the finale of the mega-number, ‘A Stranger To Love’, you could hear a pin drop, such was the atmosphere in the venue, magic. A well deserved encore completed the evening with standing ovation from the very happy crowd.

A great evening was had by all.

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

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Review: Chris O’Leary – Gonna Die Tryin’

Posted on: Sunday, Nov 8, 2015


Chris O’Leary – Gonna Die Tryin’

(American Showplace Music: ASM5227)

The New York State-based Chris O’Leary is a mighty fine harmonica player and possesses a huge vocal delivery, perfectly suited to the material on “Gonna Die Tryin'” – 11 tracks of varied blues, in the company of a top band who perfectly embellish the music.

Apart from O’Leary himself on vocals, harmonica and guitar, the band comprise: Chris Vitarello (guitar), Andy Stahl (tenor saxophone), Chris DiFrancesco (baritone saxophone), Matt Raymond (bass) and Jay Devlin (drums). Also helping out are some top additional players, including the mighty Bruce Katz, on piano and organ.

I would say definitely not a duff track to be found here, from the opening ‘Wolf like’ “Can’t Help Yourself”, to the closing “Tell It To Me Straight” – a funky blues with some very Albert Collins-like guitar flourishes from Chris Vitarello – all great stuff indeed.

The soulful “Hook, Line & Sinker” bursts out of the speakers, with the horns of Stahl and DiFrancesco to the fore, with guest trombone from Vinnie Nobile, and Bruce Katz’s trademark superb organ playing.

The lengthy slow blues (7:25) of “Letters From Home” is the album’s centre point, with brilliant guitar from Vitarello and Chris O’Leary’s ‘from the heart’ vocal; his harmonica playing is out front on the great shuffle, “Walking Contradiction”, with the band locked into a mighty swinging groove.

A really class offering from a top front man and fine band – ‘true blues’ from start to finish – from a man who has experienced a lot in life, from seven years in the US Marine Corps, and six years as singer/harmonica player with the late, great Levon Helm.

Without doubt “Gonna Die Tryin'” comes highly recommended!




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Review: Lauren Anderson – Truly Me

Posted on: Sunday, Nov 8, 2015


Lauren Anderson – Truly Me


Lauren Anderson originally hails from Chicago, and now resides in Kansas City. On “Truly Me”, her first full length release, she has delivered an enjoyable 14-track collection which mixes blues influences, rock and more rootsy material – that shows off her fine, gutsy voice and the abilities of her band.

Apart from the lady herself, the band comprises of Adam Stuber (guitar), Dylan Reiter (bass), and Kris Schnebelen (drums) – with Jeff Daniels helping out on drums, on just one track. The music is ‘fleshed out’ by some guest appearances from the likes of Go-Go Ray, Mark Anderson and the horns of Garrett Schubert and Mike Walker.

Things get off to a high-energy start on the slide-driven “One Day”; which is followed by the rockier “Shame”; before the pace is taken down for the very nice “My Reminder”, which is beautifully underpinned by the organ playing of Shinetop. The band get funky on the  horn-driven “I Don’t Need”, featuring the afore-mentioned Messrs Schubert and Walker, on saxophone and trombone respectively, with excellent solos from Garrett Schubert.

Elsewhere, the pretty “Lady Jane” is a stand out, with its delicate acoustic guitar; and the lengthy “Winter Waltz” is a jazz-tinged number that doesn’t overstay its welcome at 6:39. In contrast it is followed by the rollicking “Where Are You Now?”, with kudos to Shinetop again, this time on piano, and some tough guitar from Adam Stuber.

Overall, a most enjoyable and varied release from a new name to me. Lauren Anderson and “Truly Me” are well worth checking out – although not a blues album in the strictest sense, it is nicely produced, written and performed, with original songs – and has something for all tastes!



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A brilliant line-up of blues musicians in the heart of the Lake District

Bowness Bay Blues has built a reputation as ‘a flagship for the very best of British blues’ (Rosy Greer, Lancashire Blues Archive and Blues in the North West). Comments from visitors in March 2015 included ‘My new favourite blues fest. Fabulous weekend. I’ve booked our accommodation for next year’ and ‘A great weekend all round’.

In 2016, the festival will again offer a wide range of top-class music, from acoustic to Chicago-style blues, from roots, soul and funk to electric blues-rock. The Friday highlight will be Trafficker, fronted by superb guitarist, singer and songwriter Tommy Allen.

The Saturday headliner will be Sean Webster and the Deadlines, one of the best bands on the British and European blues scene, featuring outstanding vocals from Sean Webster. And the festival will finish with virtuoso multi-instrumentalists Wille and the Bandits, listed in BBC Radio 1’s top ten must-see bands at Glastonbury 2014.



Friday: Tommy Allen & Emil Engstrom (acoustic), Xander & The Peace Pirates, TRAFFICKER

Saturday: Blue Horizon, Christian Sharpe Trio, Dean Newton, Della Grants, Elderly Brothers, Fiona Hanlon, Graham Straughton, Paul Rose Band, Redfish, Scarlett (Keri & Jed Farish), Simon ‘Honeyboy’ Hickling Band, South Quay, SEAN WEBSTER & THE DEADLINES


Sunday: Chris James & Martin Fletcher, John Verity Band, Marauders, Tin Pan Alley, WILLE & THE BANDITS



  • A 2-hour Twilight Blues Cruise on Windermere, featuring a unique acoustic collaboration between top blues musicians JON AMOR and SEAN WEBSTER. (Please note: There are limited tickets for this Blues Cruise and they are likely to sell out quickly.)
  • A Free Fringe Festival in Windermere, with live blues music in four venues: Grey Walls, The Lamplighter, Queens Hotel and The Elleray.

Organised by the Rotary Club of Windermere, and held the weekend before Easter, Bowness Bay Blues is a ‘feel-good event’ in more ways than one.

Every year the festival raises several thousand pounds for charity. The 2016 charitable causes will include St Mary’s Hospice, Ulverston, and the Lake District Calvert Trust.

For further information, visit: http://www.bownessbayblues.co.uk/

Given the increasing popularity of this event, the organisers are advising music fans to book early. Tickets are now on sale from the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal: https://www.breweryarts.co.uk/lakes-tickets/category/bowness-bay-blues-festival

Tel: 01539 722833

They are excellent value, and there is a special Earlybird Weekend Ticket offer (available until 31 December 2015) at only £50 – the perfect Christmas present!

Blues Cruise tickets are £20 (or £17.50 if purchased at the same time as an Earlybird Weekend ticket).

After 31st December deadline, Weekend tickets will be on sale at £55, with Friday tickets at £15, Saturday tickets at £35, and Sunday tickets at £25.


‘I was very impressed with the venues visited and the way the programme was tailored so that most artists could be seen over the weekend.’

‘Just wanted to say what a brilliant weekend it was!!!’

‘Enjoyable festival, with a varied, well-chosen programme’ – Blues Matters Magazine

‘A thoroughly great weekend’ – North West Evening Mail

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From Garry White:

Thursday, 19th November, should have brought The Ben Poole Band to us but his cancellation has given me the opportunity to bring in another extremely talented young player – Chris King Robinson – who, like Laurence Jones, is carving his way into the psyche of British blues fans and joins him in the vanguard of amazing youngsters who hopefully will revitalise an ageing scene.

Whilst the like of Leo Bud Welch are always exciting to see still performing, it is the young men and women who need your support to establish the next generation.

When : Thursday, 19th November
Doors 8 pm, show time 9 pm
Where : Poynton Legion
More info and tickets Here

Review: Fiona Boyes – Box & Dice

Posted on: Saturday, Nov 7, 2015

Fiona Boyes CD Cover

Fiona Boyes – Box & Dice

(ReferenceRecordings: FR717)

In 2014, singer/guitarist Fiona Boyes was the first Australian blues artiste to be invited to play at the prestigious US traditional acoustic festival ‘MerleFest’. She is also a winner of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

This album comprises eleven tracks, eight of which are original compositions. Fiona Boyes is backed by double bass player Dean Addison and drummer Mark Grunden, who also plays an unusual range of percussion instruments including frottoir, coins, chains and horse shoes.

“Juke Joint On Moses Lane”, a lively opener, and the slower and bluesier “I’m A Stranger Here” are both splendidly accompanied by Fiona’s six-string ‘Box & Dice’ cigar box guitar, which gives the album it’s title. The upbeat rocker, “Walking Round Money”, then brings the excellent rhythm section into play followed by a tremendous rendition of “Smokestack Lightning”, which is the perfect vehicle for the singer’s raunchy vocals.

The bluesy ballad “Louisiana” introduces the four-string FB Australian Classic cigar box guitar while JC Johnson’s “Black Mountain Blues” delivers distinctive shades of Janis Joplin and adds a National Reso-lectric baritone guitar into the fray. The fast-moving foot-tapper, “Mama’s Sanctified Amp” makes way for the shuffling “I Done Quit” before solo mode is resumed on the Delta blues “Walk With Me”.

The delightful compendium is brought to a close with “Tiny Pinch Of Sin”, an upbeat rocker boasting some lovely guitar work on the cigar box four-stringer, and a fine version of Magic Sam Maghett’s slow blues, “Easy Baby Magic”.

“Box & Dice” is a superb album, which features great vocals and terrific guitar playing and incorporates a very effective mixture of styles across the blues spectrum. Very impressive.



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YouTube: Nine Below Zero – Riding On The L&N

Posted on: Friday, Nov 6, 2015

Stalwarts of the British r&b scene, Nine Below Zero, play Telford’s Warehouse in Chester, next Thursday, 12th November.

Here’s a cracking quality video of the evergreen “Riding On The L&N” – first recorded by Lionel Hampton, and the most well know blues version being by John Mayall.

Dennis Greaves and Mark Feltham on top form! Brian Bethell on bass and Brendan O’Neill on the drums . . . Mickey Burkey is now back in the band on drum duties.



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Review: D’Mar & Gill – Take It Like That

Posted on: Thursday, Nov 5, 2015


D’Mar & Gill – Take It Like That

(Airtight Records)

The experiences of drummer Derrick L. ‘D’Mar’ Martin and guitarist Chris Gill, has again produced a subtle, gentle homage to the living history of rural blues and you can only assume that they live their lives very much away from the fast lane for this is only their second album in five years and it certainly has been worth the wait.

The multi-faceted delta/country blues vocalist and slide guitar player Chris has played many varying forms of music in his career including being the front man of the band Sole Shakers. Derrick also has very firm musical credentials for not only did he provide solid drum work for Little Richard for over fifteen years he also led the band Nu Funk, more recently he has been involved with producing and acting.

On the thirteen numbers here they again provide vocals, guitar and drums but they have also subtlety expanded their aural horizons with the inclusion of Jerry “The Groovemaster” Jemmott on bass and Chris “Kid” Andersen on bass and guitar, Bob Welch provides piano and B3 organ, Aki Kumar; harmonica, Frankie Ramos; saxophone with Lisa Andersen supplying background vocals.

The delta-soaked atmosphere throughout this album is relaxed, mellow and most certainly carefree, the opener “Fell In Love With The Blues”, is a fine example with its soft and tender swinging country feel, the rich picking guitar dances effortlessly with playful brushwork, while the underpinning rolling piano and lazy punctuating harmonica breeze in and out.

The captivating and irresistibly delicious rolling southern slide-driving “Song For Honeyboy” (Honeyboy Edwards), explains how his trusted travelling companion was his guitar and took pride of place on his many journeys. “Souvenir Of The Blues”, is a slowburning, evocative melancholy guitar and sparse drum tale of lost love and the feelings of desolation that lingers long in the memory.

The splendidly memorable hill country-influenced guitar picking on “Dancin’ Girl”, entices you helplessly in and also sees Chris convincingly vocally emulating Howlin’ Wolf as he tenderly bemoans and wails at the disappearance and subsequent loss of his dancing partner of the night before.

Dark and menacing delta guitar exudes bewilderment and underpins the slowburning shuffle that is “Back To Paradise”, which reflects upon present day life, including injustice, poverty, bombings and the very unpleasant skills that children are learning today.

“You Never Know”, possesses a very reassuring gossamer like, fleetingly rural summers day feel, with its very mellow rhythmic slide and brush work, add in Chris’s succulent and rich vocals and you simply float away. “Lonesome For Leavin’”, continues in this vein with a richly picked and evocative drawn out slowburn delta slide and is wonderfully matched with an equally marinated drawling vocal, just lay back and enjoy.




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Live gig review for MIKE ZITO & THE WHEEL by Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive @ True Blues Club, Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside 31/10/15 http://www.mikezito.com/

Another memorable evening at the North West’s premier ‘Juke Joint’, the True Blues Club in Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside.

Breaking ground with the support act for the evening, the Tom Kilner Band, a blues rock combo from Rotherham. As a three piece, they played a great set with many numbers taken from their new album ‘Hard Road’. Fronting the band on guitar and vocals was Tom Kilner, ably supported by Oliver Tallent on bass and Jake Ashton on drums. With some powerful vocals and Gallagher style guitar they also gave us some rockin’ numbers with a dash of Hendrix to finish the set.

Playing to a full house, the main pull for the evening was of course, from Missouri USA, Mike Zito and The Wheel, who gave us a show to remember. Fronting the band on class vocals and extraordinary guitar was Mike Zito. Filling the room on supersonic sax and vocals was Jimmy Carpenter, with incredible bass riffs from Scott Sutherland and exceptional rhythms from Rob Lee on drums.

They played a great selection of numbers from Mike’s previous albums and also showcased the new album ‘Keep Coming Back’, the title track an all singing and dancing rockin’ R&B number with terrific slide, vocals and super sexy sax, with drums and bass working their socks off. Also ‘Chin Up’, an up tempo rockin’ blues and ‘Nothing Coming Back’ an excellent southern rock to finish the set.

With plenty more on the table, they also played the great award winning song , ‘Pearl River’ which was sung and played to perfection. It was recorded in 2009 and, written by Mike and Cyril Neville from the Royal Southern Brotherhood, which Mike Zito was a co-founder. Jimmy took to lead vocals on a funky number, interspersed with the coolest sax I have heard for a long while. Guitar work from Mike was out of this world with some phenomenal bass playing from Scott, working so well with the complex drumming skills of Rob.

To complete the evening, for an encore, some great Texas blues with classic Freddie King, with tastes of funky, 12 bar rocky blues, just excellent! To have such a band in such an intimate venue was an experience in itself , so many thanks go to Graham and Steve who host the True Blues Club and Gordon who sponsored the event.

Here’s hoping Mike Zito & The Wheel will be paying a return visit to True Blues Club in the future. It was certainly a night to remember!

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

It was a pleasure to see this band again with its original line-up of Mark Taylor on lead vocal – the son of King Size Taylor, and his band The Dominoes from the 60s, who were one of the emerging bands from Liverpool who played at The Cavern along with another band to be called The Beatles.

Joan Bimson (Little Miss Nitro) on a Rickenbacker bass – co- founder of the band with Dave Woods on lead guitar. He’s a legend in Liverpool, and has clocked up over 50 years in the music business; and to complete the line-up,  one of the best drummers on the North West music scene, Mark Prescott.

This band plays energetic rhythm and blues from the 60s and 70s – the Canvey Island sound echoing Dr Feelgood. Right from the start this band made its mark and rattled out some hot r&b to a packed crowed of enthusiastic music fans. This was a night to remember a fantastic band great music and a great crowd who love live music.

We were all made very welcome by the management, Jade and the rest of the staff who were helpful and courteous.


Music reviewer for the North West

YouTube: Triple T – So Long So Long

Posted on: Tuesday, Nov 3, 2015

Triple T – Tim Ielegems, Tim De Graeve, Thomas Toussaint, Dennis de Gier and Nordine Ben-Kabbach @ Crossroads Café in Antwerpen – 1st November.

Video by Walter Wouters.

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Review: Shemekia Copeland – Outskirts of Love

Posted on: Monday, Nov 2, 2015

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Shemekia Copeland – Outskirts Of Love

(Alligator Records: ALCD4966)

For her latest release, Shemekia Copeland – the daughter of the legendary Texas bluesman, Johnny Copeland – has recorded “Outskirts Of Love” in Nashville, at Southern Ground and Sound Emporium studios . . . and what a fine rootsy and bluesy 12-track collection the lady with the big voice has produced!

As well as her core band of Oliver Wood (guitar and backing vocals), Jano Rix (drums, percussion and keyboards) and Lex Price (bass), some ‘heavyweight’ guests help out . . . but more of them later. The music blends plenty of blues, but with a more rootsy and rocking sound on a mix of new material and some choice covers.

The music gets off to a rousing starter with the strutting rocker of the title track, “Outskirts Of Love”, with the additional guitar muscle provided by Will Kimbrough – who plays on a good few tracks – and a soulful vocal from the lady herself; her late father’s funky blues “Devil’s Hand” is covered in fine style; with a standout being a co-write between Ian Siegal and John Hahn, the excellent ‘low down’ “Cardboard Box”, with Alvin Youngblood Hart along for the ride on guitar and vocals.

“Drivin’ Out Of Nashville”, no surprise, is a country rocker that rattles along courtesy of the guitars of co-writer Oliver Wood and Will Kimbrough and super pedal steel from Pete Finney. If you’re going to cover a classic like ZZ Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago” it can’t help to have the man himself . . . the Rev Billy F Gibbons . . . on board laying down his trademark ‘killer’ guitar tones!

John Fogarty’s beautiful “Long As I Can See The Light” is the perfect song to show off Shemekia’s voice and it is a quite breathtaking version, with some lovely slide guitar and the whole band contributing to one of the album highlights. The mood changes on a funky Albert King tune, “Wrapped Up In Love Again – with additional guitar from Arthur Neilson. This most recommended release ends with the gospel-flavoured “Lord, Help The Poor And Needy” . . . a fitting end to a most enthralling recording from a most talented lady.




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