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review David Philips – Winter from the UK

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David Philips – Winter (Black & Tan B&T 962)
UK born but long based in Spain, David Philips has been working over the last few years as a folk inflected artist for Holland’s Black & Tan Records, one man and a guitar, and so this release for the blues label – David’s sixth, not including a couple of remix tracks – might come as a surprise. It is still a solo effort, but the guitar is electric, blues harmonica crops up occasionally and there is a rhythm section behind David’s excellent vocals. All the songs are David’s of course, he plays all the instruments, and he even provided the cover art. The sound ranges from indie-rock to blues, with comparisons being drawn with Ryan Adams and Doyle Bramhall II; I also hear a little Tom Petty in there too, ‘Running’ opens with a riff a little like Jimi Hendrix’s cover of ‘All Along The Watchtower’ before turning in the direction of Neil Young maybe, and ‘That’s Alright’ recalls early 70s Pink Floyd with a long, space-y passage. Mind you, ‘The One’ is a strong slab of blues-rock. This release contains eight rootsy, hook-laden songs, and if this review has intrigued you, then do check out this release..
Norman Darwen

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review David Philip – Rootop Recordings 2

Schermafbeelding 2017-04-21 om 08.56.04David Philips is een Engelse muzikant, die in Barcelona woont. Hij debuteerde in 2010 met het in eigen beheer uitgebrachte Heal Yourself Alone. David maakt ook reclame-produkties voor bedrijven. Zo was hij onder meer succesvol met de song What Am I, die door Redbull wereldwijd werd verspreid. In 2011 werd de muziek van Philips voortaan uitgebracht door het Nederlandse label Black and Tan Records. Het debuut bij deze platenmaatschappij was de release van The Rooftop Recordings. Een album met liedjes die David in zijn appartement in Barcelona heeft opgenomen. Vorig jaar verscheen de opvolger The Rooftop Recordings 2, opgenomen op het dakterras van zijn appartement. Een sobere aanpak met twee microfoons: een voor de gitaar en een voor de stem. Het nieuwe album bevat liefst 18 nummers, waarvan er 6 instrumentals zijn. De akoestisch songs zijn gegoten in een aangename mix van folk, blues en jazz. David wisselt nogal eens van instrument zoals een 6 snarige gitaar een 3 snarige cigarboxgitaar, een ukelele en een dobro. David Philips is een geweldige gitarist. Luister maar eens naar prachtige ritmische fingerpicking-nummers als het openingsnummer Making It Up en vervolgens That Dirty Road. Zijn soulvolle stem valt op bij intieme liefdesliedjes als Washes Over Me en My Baby Needs Love. Wellicht het mooiste nummer is het vol passie gezongen Guitar On His Knee. Bij de instrumentale tracks valt Migration op met prachtig Spaans georiënteerd gitaarwerk. Het album wordt afgesloten met een down home bluesje Long Flight Home. Dit is een heerlijk luisterrijk album van een talentrijke muzikant.

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review David Philips in Blues Magazine (NL)

David Philips is een singer-songwriter, sessie-gitarist en producer uit de U.K. Zijn debuutalbum was ‘Heal Yourself Alone’ in 2010 en was net na de release “Album Of The Week” bij de BBC Radio. Vervolgens steeg het in 2011 naar plaats 34 in de Top 100 Roots-Country Albums in de US. Na een korte tour door Nederland en België tekende hij bij het Nederlandse label Black and Tan Records die de volgende vier albums van hem uitbracht. Hij staat bekend om zijn solitaire manier van werken in de studio. Hij schrijft zelf zijn nummers (tekst en muziek), produceert, neemt op, speelt bijna alle instrumenten zelf en verzorgt alle vocalen. Zijn albums ‘The Rooftop Recordings 1 en 2’ en ‘December Wine (The Four Track Tapes)’ nam hij thuis in Barcelona op met een Tascam 4-Track recorder. Ook is David Philips een begenadigd tekenaar en verzorgt hij het artwork voor al zijn albums zelf. Direct na het opnemen van ‘The Rooftop Recordings 2’ in 2016 trok hij zich opnieuw terug in zijn studio in zijn ‘rooftop’ appartement in Barcelona waar hij zich tijdens de wintermaanden toelegde op het schrijven en opnemen van nieuwe songs. Hij liet zich inspireren door blues-rock en soul en omdat hij een multi-instrumentalist is nam hij (bijna) zelf alles op en produceerde zelf met een ‘full band sound’ in gedachten. Vergeleken met zijn eerdere werk is dit zijn meest rock gerichte album. Een kort album is het wel, acht songs in bijna een half uur. Maar wel afwisselend. Stevig rockend en melodieus zoals het openingsnummer Changes, akoestisch en met mondharmonica in het nummer Home, en ook een soulballad met Your Way. Maar in alle songs prachtige teksten en natuurlijk zijn steeds verrassende gitaarspel van rustig akoestisch tot scheurend elektrisch. Mocht je David Philips nog niet kennen, dan hoop ik dat je na het lezen van deze recensie de moeite neemt om zijn laatste album ‘Winter’ te beluisteren, misschien wel aan te schaffen of hem te zien optreden. Een werkelijk prachtig veelzijdig album van een meesterlijke muzikant.       Bennuman

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review BLu ACiD In Blues In The South (UK)

BLu Acid – HCN


This is a compilation of six tracks released as singles in 2015 and 2016 by this Dutch duo of vastly experienced guitarist Mischa Den Haring and Black & Tan Records owner/ producer Jan Mittendorp, who decided to carry on working together as BLu ACiD after success with St Louis bluesman Boo Boo Davis. This release is undeniably cutting edge contemporary blues, with a huge sound (listen to grooving ‘Stuck Anyway’ with a monster slide guitar riff), classic soul influences, as the Otis Redding inflected vocal on ‘Silence’ confirms, and the rave styled ‘Things Will Change’. That last title is rather apt for this set – this is the blues for a generation raised on electronic dance music, hip hop, and remix culture. As such, it might not attract much of the traditional blues audience, but my kids actually stopped and listened – and they don’t do that if I play Muddy, BB or Elmore!

Norman Darwen

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review Boo Boo Davis from Italy

Prendete un locale sperduto nel Nord dell’Olanda, infilateci un pubblico partecipe (cosa ormai rara) e un trio che suona un blues sincero e che gli piace farlo. Risultato? Un onesto disco di blues che ti viene vo- glia di riascoltare immaginando di poter essere stato tra i fortu- nati presenti. Questo trio è capitanato da Boo Boo Davis, un mississippiano DOC, nato e cresciuto a Drew nel cuore del Delta, e questo lo si capisce alla prima battuta. Certo che aver avuto a casa propria personaggi come John Lee Hooker, Elmore James o Robert Pete Williams, intenti a suonare col proprio padre, non dev’essere un’esperienza da tutti i giorni e, forse, qualcosa di quelle magiche atmosfere deve per forza esserti rimasta dentro. Sia come sia questa magia emerge da questo “Live And Almost Unplugged” e ci rega- la una sana lezione di blues, dove quel che conta è quel che si dice e non quel che si fa. Lezione che dovrebbero imparare tutti coloro che si approcciano al blues come se fosse una competizione col diavolo o più semplicemente con gli altri “colleghi”. Partita persa prima che inizi, cari miei e il settantatreenne Boo Boo Davis ve lo può dimostrare. Un solo microfono al centro della sala del piccolo Cafe de Amer, il pubblico a due passi e il concerto ha inizio. Boo Boo con la sua armonica e voce è sostenuto da un ottimo Jan Mittendorp alla chitarra e da John Gerritse alla batteria. Non serve altro. Il loro blues fa tutto, dall’iniziale “Ice Storm” via via fino alla conclusiva “St. Louis Woman”, tutti brani scritti da questo trio. È difficile stabilire quale sia la miglior canzone, l’abilità di questi musicisti è quella di aver creato un tappeto sonoro capace di coinvolgere il pubblico olandese come l’ascoltatore a casa, portandolo con l’immaginazione nelle terre piatte del Mississippi dove le ombre al tramonto si allungano sui campi come fantasmi e al crocicchio gli alberi la notte si trasformano in diavoli tentatori. Allora, non esitate, fatevi ten- tare da Boo Boo Davis, qualcosa da insegnarvi lui ce l’ha.

 

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David Philips on Something Else Reviews

It might be mid-March but Winter is coming…the new musical concoction from David Philips, that is. The British ex-pat singer-songwriter performed his familiar ritual of holing himself up in his home studio and emerged with a fresh batch of recorded originals. Winter, recorded over much of this still-lingering cold season, is expected to drop in late March/early April through Black And Tan Records, but the folks over at Black and Tan have already provided a preview of what to expect. “Home” is the advance single from Philips’ newest creation, now available in digital form, and streamable above. What is immediately noticeable from followers of Philips is that he went ‘full band’ this time, not unlike 2015’s If I Had Wings but all instrumentation here and the rest of the album is handled by Philips alone and he remains firmly on the folk reservation this time. Actually, Winter could be thought of as a proper follow-up to his debut record. Still, it’s a bit of a jolt to hear his twelve-string acoustic guitar soon joined by harmonica, bass, drums, backing vocals and more guitars. What isn’t different is a voice with the warm soulfulness of Aaron Neville and a bright melody that sticks with you long after the last chord rings out. David Philips might change his tactics from time to time but the overall strategy of delivering quality, hand-made folk music never wavers.

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review Boo Boo Davis on STL Blues Reviews

OLD SKOOL – By Boo Boo Davis

James ‘Boo Boo” Davis truly is one of a kind. Born and bred in Drew, Mississippi, he’s spent the past 60- plus years dripping nothing but the blues. His father, Sylvester Davis, was a cotton farmer who played multiple instruments. Musically gifted, he performed with legends such as John Lee Hooker, Elmore James and Robert Pete Williams. The younger Boo just soaked it all in. By five he was playing harp and singing in church with his mother. At 13 he was strumming guitar. And by the age of 18, he was working gigs across the Delta with his dad and older brothers. But the early 60’s brought a new twist. Trekking north with his brothers, they settled right into the vibrant St. Louis blues scene. Albert King, Ike & Tina Turner, Little Milton, Oliver Sain, Fontella Bass, Chuck Berry and Johnnie Johnson — the names were all here. But it was The Davis Brothers Blues Band who held court at Tubby’s Red Room every weekend in East St. Louis. Their residency would not only last 18 years, but kindle many fond memories. The year 1998 though was Boo’s true breakthrough. Perhaps DAVE was intervening. Or maybe it was Boo Boo’s ability to sing and play several instruments. Either way, he was playing drums for local and national harp legend, Arthur Williams, when opportunity finally knocked. Touring Europe as part of Arthur’s crack St. Louis band, Boo Boo was approached about recording his own CD. His 1999 Black & Tan label debut, EAST ST. LOUIS was the first step towards a blues legacy that just keeps growing. OLD SKOOL itself is about as stripped-down and powerful as you can get. Featuring Jon Mittendorp on electric guitar, and John Gerritse on drums, the European duo truly pull Boo’s deep Delta essence out. Yet, in so doing, they add a 21st century funk that simply resonates. Much akin to R.L. Burnside’s later years at Fat Possum Records, ‘Old Skool Delta’ rolls anew with Boo Boo’s Black & Tan recordings. This pulsing, trance-inducing sound has been catchy enough to score Boo Boo international acclaim. In fact, ‘ 5-Hour Energy Drink’ used snippets of his 2008 song ‘I’m Tired’ for their radio ads to boost their sales. Imagine that. Seventy-plus year old Boo Boo Davis selling an energy revival! But in the end, it all makes sense. The trio on this CD has not only toured Europe extensively, but they’ve played over 300 shows in 20 countries the past two years. Tight and cohesive, all 11 tracks were recorded in single takes. From the clash of harp and drums on the opener, ‘Hold Your Head Up’, through such notables as the catchy-quick ‘Boo Boo Fool’, the slow, open-ended ‘Boy Blues’, to the driving train-like ‘Call Me A Clown’, the band rocks a 43 minute jam session that embodies Boo Boo’s spirited live shows. It’s amazing how Boo Boo Davis continues to age like fine wine. Hopefully, if you’re a reader out there, you’ll take the opportunity to catch the ever stylish Boo live downtown. Though he’s currently on a brief sabbatical from his European duo, he’s back home performing some weekend gigs with Bob Kamoske, Mike Graham and Kevin O’Conner at BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups. What you’ll find is one of the last great “old-skoolers” pumping out downhome blues as only a true great can. As the liner notes claim, ‘this music really is COOL.’ About the only other thing this reviewer can add is “Thank you DAVE!!” And oh, even if you do catch Boo Boo live, get the CD. It’s killer…… ENJOY!!

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review Doug MacLeod in Living Blues

Live in Europe sounds really impressive, unless you are in Europe, where “Live in the USA” sounds more impressive. By now an elder statesman of the acoustic blues, singer-songwriter Doug MacLeod, known as “Dubb,” took his National resonator guitar named “Spook” and headed over to Holland back in 2006. This is a reissue of a DVD originally recorded back then, when MacLeod was signed to Black & Tan Records. He recollects that he had a fever that day and he had only 50 percent of his voice. This is the raw recording of MacLeod, Spook and his stomping foot. “No overdubs, no pitch control, no do-overs. It was one night when one of our best and finest acoustic performers today wasn’t feeling too good but went on stage anyway.” If that weren’t written here you would never know it. MacLeod is such a consummate professional, a superlative singer-songwriter and guitarist, a storyteller and performer, that the only thing you will notice is that this is a seasoned pro, a man who cut his teeth playing guitar for George “Harmonica” Smith. He’s played with Big Joe Turner, Pee Wee Crayton, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Lowell Fulson and Big Mama Thornton. For three decades or so he has been an internationally successful touring musician, and if you don’t know him as a player, maybe you know him as host of Nothin’ But the Blues on Long Beach / Los Angeles’ KLON-KKJZ. Top that with winning the 2016 Blues Music Award for best acoustic blues artist. On this album he is a bit more gentle than normal, delivering nine tunes. He starts off with one of his signature songs I Want You, with his classic pick-up line by now so often copied by lesser men, “I want you / don’t you know I want you / every word is true / this man wants you.” He does a 14-minute-long version of Bukka White’s train song The New Panama Limited. He also delivers smooth versions of his standards Home Cooking, Cold Rain, Long Time Road, Turkey Leg Woman and Master Plan. Bad Magic is an homage to one of his early mentors, Ernest Banks of Toano, Virginia, a one-eyed bluesman who taught MacLeod, “Never play a note you don’t believe.” MacLeod surely took this advice to heart. As a performer and singer, MacLeod is simply unmatched. He interacts with the audience with plain talk, humor and natural “we’re all neighbors and friends” dialogue. He plays a pounding, percussive heartbeat on the guitar, singing with his rich and vibrant voice. Another thing he learned from Ernest Banks is to play his National resonator guitars with such rhythmic force that his audience can’t keep their feet still for wanting to dance. MacLeod remembers. “Ernest said, ‘You have got to make them dance.’ Because he said if they weren’t dancing they weren’t drinking, and if they weren’t dancing and drinking, he wasn’t going to get paid. So, you got to make them dance. The old bluesmen like Ernest Banks and Son House used to do that. Ernest said, ‘You ain’t shit unless you can make them dance.’” If there is one guy on the scene today who keeps the blues vibrant, fresh and new while keeping to the tradition and adding fiery and intensive original news songs, it’s Doug MacLeod.

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review Rivherside in Causette Magazine (France)

RIVHERSIDE – BLUES IN CLERMONT

Non, le blues n’est pas mort, car il bande encore ! Qu’on pardonne cette grivoiserie qui n’a d’autre but que de traduire un enthousiasme sincère pour une musique aux pieds solidement ancrés dans le delta du Mississippi, la tête dans le Cloud. Renaud Villet est informaticien à l’Université Clermont-Auvergne, mais c’est bien le virus du blues qu’il a contracté. À l’instar d’un Muddy Waters du XXIe siècle, armé d’une guitare et du logiciel Ableton Live, il écrit en anglais, compose, interprète et produit seul des chansons d’une authenticité folle. On est frappé d’entrée par les couleurs chaudes des guitares électriques, allant du Chicago blues au rock sans qu’on n’ait jamais l’impression d’un ersatz ni d’une redite. Puis vient la voix, traitée à l’ancienne avec l’écho en slapback, qui ajoute à la pertinence du son. Enfin, la boîte à rythmes, quelques scratchs et synthés çà et là qui donnent à l’ensemble une touche hip-hop électro subtile mais efficace. En 1974, Coluche faisait rire en accolant dans une chanson «blues» et «Clermont-Ferrand», Rivherside change la donne. Du grand art.

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review BLu ACiD on KMS musicblog

That moment when handmade music makes you groove on the spot, then all of a sudden makes you feel like dancing. The not-so-new track of Mischa den Haring and Jan Mittendorp, better known as BLu ACiD, gets right into your bloodstream. The two dutch musicians released an album called “HCN” recently which features many of their released singles from 2015 and 2016. Although one of the keyphrases I used for this review is “New tracks”, the track “Money” from BLu ACiD is in fact over a year old, but since I discovered it just today, I thought for all of you reading this the sound IS new.Being a drummer in a krautrock band, I just have a thing for handmade music. Using electronic elements in tracks creates that signature sound which stucks to your head instantly, and that’s one of the things the guys of BLu ACiD do all day long. While “Money” as an example hasn’t that much electro elements in it, it still has that distinctive groovy style coming along with the sound. The electro elements in the other tracks on their album is just the icing on the cake, so to speak. “Money” showcases that the two musicians are able to transmit a certain feel with their music. You just can hear that they are living what they are doing there. Groovy slightly distorted guitar tracks combined with deep bass lines and that unique vocals keep you caught in the music for those four and a half minutes. The track itself is mixed a bit too flat for my taste, but this could be a wanted effect, serving the retro feel of the track. There’s that “fattening” missing where other producers tend to double or triple tracks. Still, I’m not sure if keeping the track slim was intentional or not. Besides this, everything is placed where it should be. The voice isn’t too centered to give room for the guitar and backing vocal tracks. And most importantly: the feeling is real – you can’t mix that in. Most of what BLu ACiD is giving me, I’m feeling it. Whether it makes you move, sing along or thinking “how the hell did they DO that?”, it works to keep you entertained, interested and listening. I strongly recommend listening to the whole album, musicians might learn a thing or two from den Haring and Mittendorp, and the avid listener will just groove along.