(Photo by Paul Martin)
Taken from BluesNights Review
A genial Mancunian now
residing in Devon, Jim has been playing for about twenty-five years with the
blues coming to the fore in the last ten.
Most singers/guitarists have a wide selection of standards/classics and own compositions. Jim was no exception starting off with a very competent and rolling version of "CC Rider", then Blind Blake's "Diddy Wah Diddy" a great ragtime/good time number. Keeping up the tempo was Bobby Womack's "It's All Over Now", really superb with excellent rhythm. A slow blues "Trouble In Mind" featured wonderful slide playing.
During the evening Jim
played a selection of his own tunes and these showed a talent for lyrical
composition and style whether picking or rhythmic. Two of these were "Love
My Sugarcane" and "Love You Till My Dying Day". A very lively
version of Lightening Hopkins "Mojo Hand" and Leadbelly's "Little
Children Blues" followed, with superb flowing picking. Next, he played one
of Ben Andrews songs "Lazy Dog" and finished the set with a rendition
of "Matchbox". A very lively set!
The second set started with Robert Johnson's "Stones In My Passway", very good thumping bass and a nice slide. This was an equally a varied performance including songs by Curtis Mayfield, Tampa Red, Jess Fuller, Skip James. His abilities on the guitar finger picking and slide, whether up tempo or slow gospel, and his humorous sing-along with the audience joining in, were all delivered with an assurance and ease built up over the years. He punctuated the numbers with anecdotes and a liberal dose of good humour.
One particular song that stood out for me was Mississippi Fred McDowell's "Going To Brownsville". This is the kind of blues that I especially like. The pounding bass lines and the whining slide that keeps up an infectious flowing rhythm was truly excellent; the peak of the evening. Not surprising then to find it as the opening track on his 'Bluesboy' CD.
Coming to the end one of
his own compositions, very gentle and warm and for encores Mississippi John
Hurt's "Pay Day", beautiful picking, and finally Louis Jordan's
"Caledonia" a good driving R&B number to round the evening off.
Excellent musicianship, a genuine warm personality.
If I have a criticism of this performance it would not be about the musicianship, which was superb, but that it seemed on the shortish-side by comparison with other BluesNights.
Lewis A Harris - BluesNights Reviewer
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