Reviews

Beat the Blues review by Tony Wilkinson

PETE PRITCHARD
'Beat The Blues'
Hanzon Records (no catalogue number)
Playing Time: 57:40.
Choo Choo Mama/Rock 'n' Roll Ruby/Ruby Baby (normal and extended versions)/Southern Fried Pickin'/Bear Cat/Beat The Blues/Beer, Bourbon And Wine/It Must Be Right/Way Down In The Hole/Reconsider Baby/200lbs. Of Hard Time.


Dave Briggs
'Backseat Boogie'
(Self produced - no label or catalogue number)
Playing Time: 36.13
Backseat Boogie/Cuttin' In/I Forgot To Remember To Forget/Rockin' Rock And Rollin' Stone/A Woman's Touch/Hot Rod/I Still Miss Someone/Do I Move You/Tear Stained Letter/Pink And Black/Take You To The Movies Tonight.


There is a very good reason for grouping these two CDs together and that is both artists are members of, without doubt, one of the best British rock 'n' roll come R&B bands around - namely The Avengers. For quite a few years now, The Avengers have been appearing at clubs up and down the UK plus several of the weekenders although, probably due to the various side projects the members have become involved with, these are not that frequent these days.


Here we have solo projects from bass man Pete Pritchard and lead guitarist Dave Briggs, both of whom are musicians of the highest caliber and who demonstrate that feel when playing good music. Let there be no doubt, both of these releases are excellent, and with each guy being adept at assimilating and pouring out a wide range of styles, we have an on-going selection of first rate music.


The majority of Pete's CD was recorded in Britain with musicians such as Liam Grundy on piano, Steve Matthews on harmonica, Alan Savage on drums and Dave Briggs on guitar. However four cuts were recorded at Scotty Moore's Blueberry Hill studio in Nashville. Pritchard's reputation as a musician has lead to many 'name's becoming his friend and willingly joining him on this project. We have the voice of Billy Swan wrapping his tonsils around two easy going versions of 'Ruby Baby' (one of which runs to nearly 12 minutes) and a scorching 'Reconsider Baby' which has the added attraction of Boots Randolph on sax. The other Nashville recorded track is 'Southern Fried Pickin' and which features the unmistakable guitar work of Scotty Moore.


All eight of the UK recorded tracks feature Pete on vocals, bass and acoustic guitar. Most of these titles have a bluesy edge, although the tempos are varied and the music remaining exciting and fresh. The feel throughout is excellent and the guitar licks are exemplary as is the boogie woogie piano playing. There is a pronounced rockabilly styling to '200lbs. Of Hard Time', a Pritchard composition as is 'Beat The Blues', Beer, Bourbon And Wine' and 'It Must Be Right'.


The total content of CD from Dave Briggs was recorded in London but the musical content is equally varied and has first class rock 'n' roll performances on 'Backseat Boogie', 'Rockin' Rock And Rollin' Stone' and a fine fine workout on Sonny Fisher's 'Pink And Black'. I simply love the treatment given to Richard Thompson's 'Tear Stained Letter ' that equals the hit version by Cajun JoEl Sonnier. Johnny Guitar Watson's 'Cuttin' In' is delivered in an emotional blues drenched emotion whilst the more country overtones 'I Forgot To Remember To Forget' and 'I Still Miss Someone' are equally evocative in their own right.


Dave handles all of the lead vocals apart from that on 'A Woman's Touch' where Andy Winfield adopts this role. This is a particularly exceptional song penned by Briggs and is a tribute to his late wife. The other Briggs compositions are the aforementioned 'Backseat Boogie' and a rockin' 'Hot Rod'.


Dave is selling his CD at £ 5.00 (UK) a copy plus postage and can be obtained by emailing him at d_briggs@sky.com . Not sure of the selling price for the Pete Pritchard CD but, again, it can be obtained direct from the artist by e-mailing him at: pete@petepritchard.co.uk. Both come with this reviewer's strong recommendations, it's releases such as these that are keeping our brand of music alive and well.


© Tony Wilkinson