British Blues fans in the know have had a pearl of a collection to listen to recently in the form of a wonderful three part release of Scottish Blues musicians presented under the banner of ‘Jock’s Juke Joint’. It’s proof, if proof be needed, that there is a powerful Blues Community of which the mighty King King is just the tip of the musical iceberg.
‘Jocks Juke Joint’ (three volume collection) – Lewis Hamilton Music
Ghost Train’ by Lewis Hamilton – Lewis Hamilton Music
‘Steak House’ by GT’s Boos Band – Lewis Hamilton Music
The ‘Jock’s Juke Joint’ collection is released by Lewis Hamilton Music so it’s maybe fitting to start a few recommendations of Scottish Blues with the release ‘Ghost Train’ by Lewis Hamilton himself. There are traces in his style of Henrik Freischlader – always looking for a fresh way of presenting the music and not afraid of taking a new direction (could this be because like Henrik he has his own label to do the experimenting on I wonder?!). Whatever the reason, ‘Ghost Train’ is an always interesting disc that builds significantly on the promise of his previous 9in itself excellent release ‘Gambling Machine’ (Reviewed earlier on 3SongsBonn).
Not quite so hard or heavy but nevertheless an enjoyable disc is ‘Steak House’ by Falkirk’s GT’s Boos Band. The Bands writer and vocalist Greig Taylor describes the disc as “A Bad-ass rocking blues account of my early 20’s!” and that’s pretty much what you get in the can. The title track, a tribute to Howlin’ Wolf’ has a suitably howlin’ Bluesharp in the mix andtruth to tell my favourite tracks are the plain and simple blues/boogie rockers with a chugging Harp sound colouring them a very agreeable shade of ‘Rock Blue’. If my ears don’t deceive me the guitars are thickened out with some double tracking that adds to the power on many of the best numbers. For the most part GT’s Boos Band keeps it simpler than Lewis Hamilton does but delivers an enjoyable and effective disc that has already picked up a play from Paul Jones on his highly revered BBC Radio two programme. Without a doubt, both GT and Lewis Hamliton know their way around a guitar fretboard, and whichever you choose you won’t be disappointed.
If you really can’t decide which of the two you prefer then maybe there’s another artist amongst the many gems on the three part ‘Jock’s Juke Juke’ collection. It’s pretty extensive in its choice of musicians. I was pleased to find my long time faves from North of the Border Blues n Trouble are included on volume two with ‘Try Anything Twice’ but it would be impossible to stake anyone out as better than anyone else on this collection – it’s a matter of your own personal taste.
If you’ve read to here, want to dip your toes in some Scottish Blues, but are now totally lost where to start, then I can only suggest ‘Start with any one of these discs’ you won’t be making a mistake.
If you’re totally strapped for cash and still want to hear some good Scottish Blues then I can even recommend a free download to knock your Bluesrock socks off : The tragic death earlier this year of George Ross-Watt aka ‘Big George’ left behind a superb release from 1979 ‘The Alleged Album’. It includes a simply stunning version o0f the Etta James classic ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ and is available free HERE.
It could well be that the Blues of the future will be not just Blue, but Blue Tartan!
Jock’s Juke Joint and Lewis Hamilton
GT’s Boos Band
Big George and the Business