Het lijkt een verloren zaak als je het uitgangspunt bekijkt: oude bluesrat neemt een reeks bluesklassiekers op met zijn Europese begeleidingsband. Je kan nauwelijks een geeuw onderdrukken. Toch zit er vuurwerk in één van de zeven tracks. Hoeveel keer kan je “Little Red Rooster” nog interpreteren en het interessant houden? Het nummer moet zowat het ingangsexamen zijn om jezelf een bluesband te mogen noemen. Maar als een 76-jarige ex-katoenplukker het nog eens overdoet, willen we wel een oogje dichtknijpen. Het begeleidende duo maakt er nog iets moois van. Ook met deze versies van “Evil” en “Tell Me” scoren ze geen homerun. Betere keuzes zijn dan “Dust My Broom”, “Smokestack Lightnin” en “How Many More Years”. In aanpak en uitvoering heel klassiek, maar degelijk en met veel overtuiging gebracht. En dan nog die ene waar vuurwerk in zit? Op “Back Door Man”, ook al zo’n classic die je al een paar keer teveel hebt gehoord, experimenteren de Nederlanders een eind weg met een soort van analoog-klinkende swampy loops die het nummer een vibe geven alsof er een geest meespeelt in de band. Er zijn nog tracks waarop ElectroBluesSociety speelt met loops, maar dan blijft het beperkt tot at je productionele ingrepen kan noemen. Op “Back Door Man” is het net heel uitgesproken, en het werkt absoluut heel goed. Deze aanpak had voor het volledige album mogen gebruikt worden.
Just yesterday KuvVer Records dropped a nifty little EP on us, one with the living blues icon Boo Davis performing some trusty blues covers. Chicago Blues Covers puts in a single release a collection of tunes all recorded one afternoon in 2018, and released as singles over the next year. This plainly titled EP delivers songs that in most bluesman’s hands might be a little tired and pedestrian, but this is Boo Boo Davis we’re talking about here, a character as colorful as Howlin’ Wolf which all comes out in his authentic delivery. Hell, almost as if to underscore his kinship with that original blues giant, most of these seven songs like “Little Red Rooster” were made famous by the former Chester Arthur Burnett. Davis is backed by the ElectroBluesSociety (or should I say, the ElectroBluesSociety is backed by Davis?), a tidy little unit made up of Jan Mittendorp on guitar and Jasper Mortier and drums and bass. With Boo Boo handling the singing and the blues harp, this music needs nothing else. You can hear Davis’ echoed and looped in the background but otherwise, this is pretty much like it would be heard in a nightclub. And maybe you heard these songs many times before, but not in the way Davis & Company plays/slays ‘em. “Evil” is set apart by stomp on the two and four and Davis’ singing the song like a man possessed. On “Smokestack Lightnin’,” Boo Boo howls and moans with the fervor of a man fifty years younger. Davis takes his time getting started on “Back Door Man” to allow Mittendorp to noodle around with some biting lines, as the track is drenched in electronically-induced some psychedelic haze. “How Many More Years” sounds deadlier with Davis’ harmonica altered to resemble an organ, and Mittendorp’s slide sets the vintage feeling for Elmore James’ “Dust My Broom.” The band shuffles through “Tell Me” as Davis squeals on that harmonica with mid-century authenticity. Then again, everything Boo Boo Davis plays is authentic. And with the sympathetic backing of ElectroBluesSociety, Chicago Blues Covers is faithful in fanning the blues flame in the way that only Davis can do it.
During one of the European tours of Boo Boo they went in the studio and in 3 hours they recorded 7 songs. Together they went back to the classic Chicago blues and afterwards added a little electro blues. These 7 tracks were released as singles during 2018 and 2019. On this new release we put them all together. You will find cover versions of several Chicago blues classics from Howlin’ Wolf and Elmore James.
The EP is released on KuvVer Records: a sub label that we created to release cover versions of well known songs. The release is digital-only and available on all the download and streaming platforms. Here are the links to a few popular ones:
BITS – Blues In The South (UK) January 2020 issue:
This Dutch duo comprising multi-instrumentalist and label boss Jan Mittendorp and bass player/ drummer Jasper Mortier teamed up with singer Jan Hidding, of group The Cuban Heels, and the results, previously available as single tracks, are now gathered together on this three-track digital EP. The three men achieve a fine blend of classic blues and soul sounds with modern day electronics and a bit of blues-rock. ‘Rosie’ is known from the collection of folklorist Alan Lomax, and its work-song roots are intact here, though with a definite contemporary edge; ‘I Don’t Want’ is slow, expansive, moody and bluesy, whilst ‘All The Way Down’ has a slight tinge of the subtle soul-tinged British blues-rock sound of late 60s/ early 70s group Free, though the electronics definitely add something new and different whilst keeping the mood – there’s even a harmonica break!. This release is not for the diehard purists of course, but do investigate if you are interested.
ElectroBluesSociety – Jasper Mortier and Jan Mittendorp – are notorious for their good taste in temporary vocalists and they have, once again, made a fine choice by inviting Jan Hidding – from blues revivalists Cuban Heels – to add his vocal class to the three songs that make up this EP.
As you might imagine, given that all concerned have an impressive track record in taking people to 12 bar nirvana, these three songs are polished yet eminently causal things. Nothing is rushed but never does their intent falter. The songs are laidback much in the way that a seventies blues/funk crossover band might have performed them and, while these three good gentlemen drift away from the rigidity expected of the blues format, it is never in doubt that their collective heart is in the right and true place. Listening to these three songs serves as a timely reminder of why real musicianship played with passion can never be replaced or matched by the computer. It’s an organic thing and that’s the truth.
Best song? The ever rolling “Rosie”. The verdict? Pure class.
here is what Blues In The South (UK) wrote about two new singles from ElectroBluesSociety feat Boo Boo Davis:
How Many More Years (KuvVer KR610) and Back Door Man (KuvVer KR611) These is the sixth and seventh single releases from this combination of European outfit with Mississippi born singer Boo Boo, and again they are both classic Howling Wolf songs – and again they are both winners! Davis has just the right kind of gritty voice for these down-home items, with ‘How Many More Years’ running to a few seconds short of four minutes, and although the song is a little more “electrofied” than some of its predecessors (Boo Boo’s wailing harp sound has been a little altered), the rhythm remains straightforward and direct. ‘Back Door Man’ gets quite a radical re-working though still managing to keep a strong down-home feel, despite some jazz licks and even a shade of a hip-hop feel at times. If you like what you have heard of these collaborations so far, do check these two out, but if your tastes tend more towards the traditional, maybe try ‘How Many More Years’ first. Norman Darwen
Blues music never truly experienced the commercial and social boom Jazz music had in the twentieth century. Blues music was not far behind Jazz music in terms of prestige and relatability of the world’s melancholy during and after World War II. Although the genre is no longer a relatable force, with the exception of the Chicago scene, there are still musicians out there actively resurrecting the mourning souls of yesterday. One of those bands is ElectroBluesSociety, a duo with a prestigious amount of years before them. Before being a part of the Black and Tan Records label, bassist and drummer Jasper Mortier and guitarist Jan Mittendrop have held numerous years of experience in the European revival scene of Blues music. Although, it would be unfair to compare their style to that of Muddy Waters or any other Blues legend. Electrobluessociety describe their own style as a “range between Alan Romax to Roxy Music and from Charlie Parker to Led Zeppelin.” Their aim is on reviving the old-school sound with modern technology. It’s easy to understand that these two hold a good amount of musical depth in their blood and know how to utilize their strength. They’ve proven that with their latest single, ‘Be Allright.’ The single is as wavy as it is ambient. There’s not too much noise filtering in between notes. The patterned guitar strings are amplified when necessary and even used in reverb along with the other elements. The musical pattern is thoroughly cleansed, which drains out all the grittiness that typically consists of a live session, for better or for worse. The strings are definitely the highlight of the single. Dancing along with Mortier’s bass strings, Mittendrop’s guitar strings manage to coalesce with the bass strings perfectly. Both instruments manage to do this even when they’re traveling at their own pace. For its five-minute duration, the single shifts its pace and instrumental focal points. Mittendrop’s guitar strings take center stage, where each pluck booms and the pattern is carefully arranged. Mittendrop’s strings are placated by Mortier’s bass strings and the hollow moans that help transition each stage of the single’s arrangement. With these elements acting as the atlas stone of the track, these two manage to find their perfect Pythagorean formula. Filtering out all the filling noise that old-school revival songs tend to use, these two wanted to utilize technology as a way to enhance their art, not destroy it.
Here is another track from the recording session that ElectroBluesSociety did with Mississippi blues man Boo Boo Davis. Together they went back to the classic Chicago blues and here is another Howlin Wolf classic with a little ‘electrofication’. The new single is available on all digital platforms and here are a few links