Jumping at Shadows – An ME Tribute to British (and Some Irish) Blues-rock (part 2 of 2)

In the previous post, I laid out a brief history of the British blues and gave you a few tasty tunes. In this post, I’ll lay out a few more songs as well as a 40-tune Spotify list. And rather than just dump tunes in Spotify, I’ll highlight a few things about some of those bands as well.

Wikipedia: “William Rory Gallagher 2 March 1948 – 14 June 1995), was an Irish blues and rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer. Born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, and brought up in Cork, Gallagher recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, after forming the band Taste (tune on Spotify list) during the late 1960s. His albums have sold over 30 million copies worldwide.

Gallagher received a liver transplant in 1995 but died of complications later that year in London at the age of 47.”

Despite having sold all those albums, Gallagher (at least here in the States) was never as well-known as the Beck/Page/Clapton crowd. He was, to us, more like one of those cult “guitarist’s guitarist” that you either knew of or you didn’t. You can search around and find him in a film called Irish Tour ’74. A great rock and blues player, he is on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 top guitarists.

Here is doing “Laundromat.”

Spotify link

I’ve spoken about John Mayall more than once on these pages. It’s impossible to overstate his influence on and importance to, the blues. In 1969 he released an album called Turning Point which was recorded live at Fillmore East. Members of that band included saxophonist John Almond and guitarist Jon Mark who later would have some success in the band Mark-Almond.

You couldn’t turn on the radio at one point in time without hearing “Room To Move,” a harmonica-fest if there ever was one:

Spotify link

Another band I wrote about a while back was the estimable Blodwyn Pig (pictured on top of post), an offshoot from Jethro Tull. Their album Ahead Rings Out is to this day one of the best British blues albums ever. This song, “Dear Jill,” features Mick Abraham’s delicious slide guitar along with a sweet sax solo by Jack Lancaster. An unusual combo, it just works:

Spotify link

Savoy Brown are (still around) another blues band, this time led by a Welshman, Kim Simmonds. Simmonds is currently the only remaining member of the original band and still tours pretty regularly. As I mentioned in the first post, Foghat was an offshoot from Savoy Brown. And as fellow blogger GreenPete mentioned in a comment on that post, top-hatted singer/songwriter Chris Youlden has a hell of a set of pipes. (Hmm, Simmonds and Youlden are still active. How about a reunion boys?)

BTW, I stumbled on this tidbit: “Bill Bruford auditioned for a place in Savoy Brown on 16 January 1968 at a pub in Battersea. After he was unsuccessful in being able to join the band, Bruford ‘hung around until the end and told them they had the wrong guy … I talked my way into it.’ His tenure lasted three gigs as he messed with the beat.”

From Blue Matter, love this Youlden tune, “She’s Got a Ring in His Nose and a Ring on Her Hand.” Crazy jazzy:

Spotify link

I saw Humble Pie in New York City once many moons ago. I won’t pretend to say I remember every minute of it but it definitely kicked some fearsome ass. Humble Pie were a blues-based band but definitely leaned more towards rock than blues. But it was all there and the combination of Steve Marriott’s voice and Peter Frampton’s guitar was an intoxicating one.

The album Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore was released in 1971 and had a lot of “groovy” radio-friendly stuff. Frampton had by then left the band and said it was one of the worst years of his life watching that album’s success while he was on the outside looking in. He later did ok right up until he hit the iceberg of the Sgt. Pepper’s movie. He still remains a terrific, active guitarist:

“I Don’t Need No Doctor.” We’ve really had a gas this time. It’s been a gas!

Spotify link

Last but hardly least is Robin Trower who I’ve seen and written about previously. As mentioned in the previous post, Trower was still churning out great stuff well into the 70s. This is “Messin’ the Blues.” I love the feel of this thing, the way it fades out, comes back in. Great stuff:

Spotify link

A few random notes on some of the Spotify bands/tunes, courtesy of Wikipedia:

**The Groundhogs are a British rock band founded in late 1963, that toured extensively in the 1960s, achieved prominence in the early 1970s and continued sporadically into the 21st century. Tony McPhee (guitar and vocals) is the sole constant member of the group, which has gone through many personnel changes but usually records and performs as a power trio.

**Chicken Shack are a British blues band, founded in the mid-1960s by Stan Webb (guitar and vocals), Andy Silvester (bass guitar), and Alan Morley (drums), who were later joined by Christine Perfect (McVie) (vocals and keyboards) in 1967. Yes, that Christine McVie. She belts out some nice blues.

**”Cat’s Squirrel” actually started life as “Cat Squirrel,” which is an actual type of squirrel. Typically performed as an instrumental, it was written (with lyrics) by an obscure bluesman named Charles Isaiah Ross (AKA Doctor Ross the Harmonica Boss.) Its timeless lyrics include this:

Lord, my baby, she got a way
Yes, like cat squirrel in some tree
She get up in the morning
Hawkin’ that thing, hawkin’ that thing, hawkin’ that thing on me

**I wanted to do a Thin Lizzy tune but they seemed more rock than blues to me. So I compromised and did a Gary Moore slow jam remake of a Thin Lizzy song on which Phil Lynott sings. So how about that?

**Lastly, it would be criminal to have a tribute to British blues without including a tune by the “Father of British Blues,” Alexis Korner. So be it.

There you have it, gangs. Listen to this Spotify list sometime and you’ll have, I think, a nice compendium of the best of British blues. And if you weren’t around then, well now you can hear how mum and dad were mis-spending their youth.

46 thoughts on “Jumping at Shadows – An ME Tribute to British (and Some Irish) Blues-rock (part 2 of 2)

  1. Not one bad cut Doc. that Blodwyn Pig always gets me going. I love that stuff. I could comment on every tune. I have a cut by Savoy coming up. Ill give you a hint. I never get “Tired” of hearing it.
    Listening to all these bands you can see why I never got into the pop stuff as much. I was getting my fix with all this fantastic music. Mayall, Mac, Cream, Blind Faith, Beck Zep and all the other bands before and after that carried the torch. I still have all this stuff in heavy rotation along with their American counterparts. Santana, Jimi, Allmans …the music keeps giving me hours of listening pleasure. I really was some kind of special era. Good stuff fella.
    (I’m waiting for the West Coast soft rock take)

    Like

    1. I actually grew up on pop so maybe I’m more inclined to like it than you. (Recall the ’50s list.) This stuff came later but was the icing on the cake. When I listen to this stuff it never gets old and I weep for the state of what’s on the radio today. These indie bands? Not a hint of blues or soul or anything.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. These guys from your post were listening to the original blues guys, Waters, Wolf, Johnson …. plus all those rock n rollers like Holly, Berry, Lewis, Elvis, Richard … so that’influenced them.
        Nowadays no idea what young people get off the radio. Popular? No idea. If they’re lucky they get exposed to the original source or people from your post.
        I love that 50’s stuff.

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        1. Yeah, I wish my posts had a wider impact or greater distribution. But I fear that even with that, today’s rock bands just see what we listen to as their dad’s music.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Self discovery always feels more personal. My guys always come back to me with music ‘”Hey CB have you heard this?” Yes I have. I played that for you when you were in grade school. Don’t you remember?

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        3. Sure. I think it’s the ones where the orchestra plays for 2 minutes then Sinatra sings that I’m not too keen on. Not stating that they aren’t great players, Frank a great singer. Just can’t live there.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Plus, I should add that I’ve been trying to get Sonny Boy into the blues. He isn’t really but he heard this Spotify list (some of it) and was totally into it. Plus he digs Gary Clark, Jr. So that’s when I realized Clapton is “mine,” Clark is his. He even went to hear some jazz in New Orleans. So yeah, it takes some time.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. I listened to the playlist earlier this morning and have to agree with you it’s pretty compelling.

        The Brits may drive on the wrong side of the road, have an outdated monarchy and be wrong about Brexit and many other things😆; but they surely as heck largely ruled blues rock in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s!

        And that is really remarkable, considering the blues came from America. But these British bands really took it to the next level. And in the process they also helped bring all the great black blues artists on the radar screens of white audiences.

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        1. Agreed on all that you said. It’s remarkable listening to that stuff back-to-back and hearing not only all the creative ways these guys managed to sling the blues but also all those great guitarists. WTF?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Most of us have the right idea about Brexit; it’s a cock-awful idea that the minority got away with making a reality and should be done away with sharpish

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        3. Yeah but it’s always being subverted. The question could just as easily be how to deal with the fact that Brexit subverts the will of everyone that didn’t vote for it. It’s a mess and now the Orange Prick and his slobspawn are wading in

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        4. There is a real authoritarian/anti-immigrant trend sweeping the world. Trump and his spawn are definitely trying to ride the wave. I hope you guys hold another vote and reverse it. I would like to come over there for that beer and not worry about the sound of jackboots.

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        5. No there is, sadly, a parallel. It’s safe to assume that any racist anti-immigrant minded people voted Leave. There is a disturbing wave – some horrific stuff coming out of southern Europe that bears disturbing hallmarks of facism. I don’t know if a second referendum is forthcoming, not sure how it would go now either. Strange days

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Always nice to see Rory Gallagher mentioned. It’s madness to me that he’s not widely considered one of the best. That Irish Tour ‘74 album is really special…

    Anyway, loads of great tracks there. I’ll save the playlist for later.

    Like

    1. Well, recall he is on Rolling Stone’s list so even though he’s not a household name, he’s certainly recognized. As I mentioned to Christian, the playlist is addictive. I spent a ton of time trying to find the best stuff that was truly representative of the era.

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      1. Well, 57 on that list. Behind John Lennon (!?), in fact… I’m of the opinion that he’s within touching distance of that top 10 (and certainly better than Clapton for me… in fact, Jeff Beck is below Clapton!?!).

        Recognised as being in the top 60 ever highlights that he’s not got the wide recognition he deserved. In my opinion, of course.

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        1. You sure you’re not Irish? 🙂 I can’t say for sure why he’s not more widely recognized. I will say that at least here in the States he came to our attention long after the other blues guitar gods were established. So maybe he fell between the cracks. By that time, it wasn’t till Eddie Van Halen came long with a new sound that everybody paid attention. Also, blues guitar was somewhat falling out of fashion (again, by the time we became aware of him) and he never really had a hit, FM or otherwise.

          As to the list, whenever it – or any similar one – is published, there is vociferous online disagreement among the commenters. “This guy should be higher.” “That guy shouldn’t be on there at all.” “Where’s such-and-such a guy?”

          Lastly, as a long-time listener of these guys and as a blues guitarist of exactly zero renown, I will agree that Rory should be higher. But I will further state that as much as I like him I will take Clapton/Page/Beck over him most of the time. Lennon? I guess it just proves that sentiment can get in the way of judgment.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I don’t take much from those types of lists, especially when it’s one that’s based on an established order and suchlike (for example, I love Keef, but there’s no way he’s a better player than Jeff Beck, SRV, or Rory).

          I don’t doubt that some of those guys are there because they are great and still sound urgent, but some are there purely out of sentiment or because they did such and such back when such and such (Clapton and Page). Or because they played guitar (Lennon).

          But it’s all opinions. I’m of the opinion that Rory, as a guitar player, isn’t widely regarded as one of the best.

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        3. Indeed… and I tell you what, I appreciate your post and opinions more than I appreciate a Rolling Stone (or any other) list.

          Like

    1. Yeah, there is a hell of a lot of good stuff from that era and I tried to provide a fairly broad cross-section. Dunbar’s name did come up in my research more than once and I mention in the post he’s on the ‘Truth’ album. He was also in later versions of Bluesbreakers.

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