Layla Zoe – Gemini

As you can see above, the new CD by Layla Zoe has a stunning cover (shot by Jacques Clérin). Having heard whats on the two silver discs inside, I can safely say that the contents are equally stunning. If there’s any justice, then ‘Gemini’ (released on October 5), should put Layla up there with the very best Blues/Rock vocalists of this, or any other Age, for that matter.  Gemini, the sign of the twins, is fittingly a double pack.  One disc acoustic, and one very much electric (we’re into Led Zeppelin territory here at times). Whilst it is very much Layla’s album,  Bonn guitarist Jan Laacks shines too on here, and this disc was also produced right here in Bonn.

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Jin Jim – Weisse Schatten (ACT 9677-2)


In 2013 a new young band entered Bonn’s Jazz Tube competition. In the following year, the Jin Jim quartet triumphed over a field of nearly 200 entrants to win the „Future Sounds“ competition at the Leverkusener Jazztage festival. At the Baltic Jazz Festival in 2017 Jin Jim received standing ovations and a contract from the the ACT Jazz label, who are Committed to promoting new bands with great potential. The result is ‘Weisse Schatten‘.

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Mike Andersen – Devil is Back (Cable Car CCR 0311-50)

Mike Andersen made his musical entrance in 2002 with a disc entitled ‘My Love for the Blues’.  In the succeeding fifteen years his love for the Blues has been matched by a love for Soulful vocals too.  It’s made expectations at Andersen’s live shows problematic at times perhaps, but with his new release ‘Devil is Back’  and a great duet with Joss Stone, Andersen should find acceptance on a much wider audience level.

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Change My Game -Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado (RUF 1240)

This is a CD I fed into my player with some trepidation.  Thorbjørn Risager’s previous studio release ‘Too Many Roads’  was my favourite release of 2014.  It was a special moment indeed to be present at Bonn Harmonie and see the band receive a prestigious PdSK Award  for the disc, but of course it can only have racked up the expectations for it’s successor.      The following live release (again shot at Bonn Harmonie) suggested that either the band were taking their time getting a strong new set together – or they were out of ideas.  I’m very pleased (and relieved) to say it was very definitely a case of the former.  ‘Change my Game’  could indeed even rightfully be called ‘Up my Game’ as TR and his very capable band of Black Tornados deliver everything we loved about ‘Too Many Roads’ and a whole lot more besides.

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King King Live – Hatman 2045


It was the moment when a band came of age.  A sound was pinned firmly down like a butterfly for all eternity.  There will never be another Thin Lizzy concert with Phil Lynott or ACDC show with Bon Scott, but we still feel the visceral power that made them great band’s through the live releases they put out.  It doesn’t matter if the tracks were almost re-recorded track by track after the show, what matters is that I can put on ‘Live & Dangerous’ and hear exactly what I heard at Portsmouth Guildhall in 1978.  I can tell you how amazing a Rory Gallagher show was, but without ‘Irish Tour 74’ you wouldn’t get at half the emotion – and yes, those Rockpalast shows are great, but immortality is in the vinyl grooves my friend.  In this age of silver discs with ‘perfect’ sound reproduction, is there still a place for rough ‘n’ ready live Rock?  Step up to the mark King King and their first ever live offering.

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Laurence Jones – Take Me High (RUF )


LJ1Fifty years on from the famous ‘Beano’ album featuring Eric Clapton with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers Producer Mike Vernon still gets a tingle of excitement when he hears someone bringing something special to the Blues.  In 2010 a young Brit named Oli Brown excited Vernon enough to lure him out of retirement – in 2016 another young Brit has caught the great man’s attention.  Laurence Jones is the young man in question and ‘Take Me High’ could almost have been what Jones said to lure Vernon back into the studio.    the result is one of the best guitar sounds I’ve heard on a disc for years and very possibly the start of something very big indeed.

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