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review ElectroBluesSociety feat Jan Hidding

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.

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review ElectroBluesSociety

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.

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reviews from the UK

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

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Review Burton Gaar on

“You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone”, een uitdrukking die vaak maar al te waar is!

En in het geval van zanger-bassist Burton Gaar uit Louisiana, is dat zeker het geval. Deze artiest was bassist in Slim Harpo’s band, had zijn eigen band The Boogie Kings en was lid van de band van Rockin’ Sidney. De opnames op dit abum stammen uit 1997 en werden destijds uitgebracht op het album ‘One Hundred Pounds Of Trouble’ op het CrossCut label. Burton werd op dat album begeleid door Roel Spanjers (orgel, piano), Frank Bolder (drums, o.a. bekend van de Robbert Fossen Blues Band) en gitarist Jan Mittendorp. De laatstgenoemde is eigenaar van het Black And Tan label waarop het album, nu onder de naam ‘Blue Eyed Soul’ is uitgebracht. En dat is voor de bluesfans, die een zwak hebben voor soulmuziek, erg fijn nieuws. Het geluid van Burton Gaar zit namelijk in het soulblues hokje van o.a. Robert Cray en Joe Louis Walker. Loom swingend met krachtige zang. Het album opent met de ontspannen pompende shuffle One Hundred Pounds Of Trouble. Een nummer met een behoorlijk groot Booker T. geluid, door het soulorgel van Roel Spanjers. Jan Mittendorp is verantwoordelijk voor een prima priemende gitaarsolo. I Won’t Cry is daarna een romige soulblues met een ontspannen groove. Er zit een licht swampy geluid in het nummer, dat aan “As The Crow Flies” doet denken. Step Out Lady is een lekker felle funky blues waarin Roel Spanjers behoorlijk stuwend op zijn orgel bezig is. In de lui stuwende shuffle Face Down On The Bottom is Spanjers op orgel én piano te horen en Mittendorp levert behoorlijk snijdend gitaarwerk af. Hij is in het broeierige Real Good Woman te horen met een snijdende slide. It’s Still Raining is een pracht van een soulballad met een waanzinnig mooi golvend soulorgel en Burton’s gepassioneerde zang. Het nummer klinkt Paul Carrack-achtig maar dan met veeeeel meer soul. De lome bluesshuffle Tear It Up deint lekker ontspannen voorbij met snerpend gitaarwerk. Because Of You klinkt een stuk venijniger en wordt gevolgd door de Ray Charles-achtige swing van No met hard bijtend gitaarwerk en een loeiend orgel. Je komt op dit album gewoon geen matig of slecht nummer tegen. Zo zijn zowel Bim Bam Thank You Mam, Short Red Dress en Where The Girl Is stuk voor stuk heerlijk swingende shuffles. De loom pompende blues I Be Gone klinkt lekker funky waarna ik tot de conclusie kom dat dit een heerlijk soulblues album is, dat zeer terecht opnieuw is uitgebracht. Een mooi eerbetoon aan de veel te vroeg weggevallen Burton Gaar!

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review Burton Gaar on

From Holland the label Black & Tan Records has put back into circulation “Blue Eyed Soul (2006)”, the last album of the singer and bassist from Baton Rouge (LA) Burton Gaar, who passed away in 2011, and has been an indisputable wise choice. Recovering his figure and especially this posthumous album, is having the opportunity to place this musician as one of the most genuine soul/blues musicians in Louisiana. This album is a jewel.

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review ElectroBluesSociety on

this is what wrote about the ElectroBluesSociety track that we released recently:

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.

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review Boo Boo Davis in ABS Magazine (France)

À 75 ans, le natif de Drew, Mississippi, présente son 11ème CD pour le label néerlandais de Jan Mittendorp, Black & Tan Records. Avec le boss du label, l’osmose a été immédiate et perdure au fil des ans pour délivrer, d’album en album, un blues hypnotique et créatif. En effet, malgré le nombre de disques, on ne se lasse pas d’entendre Boo Boo souffler à corps perdu dans son harmonica, déclamer ses textes sur une base syncopée comme dans l’excellent Chocolate, l’accompagnement minimaliste de Jan à la guitare ou l’association basse-batterie faisant le reste. Ce qui pouvait un peu déranger lors de précédents albums, à savoir une direction affichée vers un esprit « garage », est ici gommée à mon avis avec succès. Boo Boo écrit ses textes, parle de la vie, parfois avec humour, raconte des histoires et les onze titres défilent sans qu’on s’en aperçoive. Stay Out All Night, What’s The Matter With You Baby sont marquants d’un changement de cap dans l’esprit que les protagonistes ont voulu donner à cet album, faisant fi des effets et autres échos (parfois top néanmoins dans les précédentes sessions) pour revenir à des choses simples, à une musique dépouillée, pour notre plus grand plaisir.

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review Boo Boo Davis on Rootsville (B)

James “Boo Boo” Davis laat terug van zich spreken. De nu al 75 jarige Delta bluesman bracht nog met regelmaat enkele singles en re-releases uit maar vanaf maart pronken ze bij “Black & Tan Records” met een nieuwe full CD vol met originele nummers. Op deze “Tree man” vinden we 11 nummers terug waarvan er 10 het bordje “nieuw” op zich mogen spelden. Eéntje betreft hier een nummer uit 2002 dat in een nieuw arrangement werd gegoten. Desalniettemin gaat het hier over origineel werk van “Boo Boo Davis”. We moeten al terug tot 2015 toen zijn “Oldskool” op de markt kwam maar kunnen en mogen uiteraard niet verwachten dat iemand van zijn leeftijd en steker nog met zijn staat van dienst ons ieder jaar weer komt te verrassen. De laatste “live” ontmoeting met Boo Boo dateert al dan 2015, toen in de Missy Sippy te Gent samen met zijn vaste kompanen Jan Mittendorp en John Gerritse. De blues van Boo Boo Davis is herkenbaar aan zijn eigen harpgrooves, maar allen kennen we natuurlijk ook zijn aanstekelijke “Thank You Day”, een yell die je al onmiddellijk na de openingstrack “Dirt Road” op ons wordt los gelaten. Na twee laid back bluesjes komt Boo Boo Davis met “Stay out All Night Long” terug onder stoom. Onwaarschijnlijk waar hij als 75-jarige nog die kracht vandaan haalt op zijn Mississippi Saxofoon. Swingend alom in die mate zelfs dat we zelf even moeten op adem komen na deze floorfiller. Thank You Day! Even een onvervalst country bluesje en tijd voor een cool down met “She Won’t Call Me on the Telephone”. Ondanks weerom een jaartje meer op de teller hoor je niet het minste onderscheidt van toen we deze Delta man een eerste maal zagen op onze podia, en ook dat is al een tijdje geleden. We herinneren ons nog zo Blues Peer editie 2009. Het album is een mix van diepe Delta swamp zoals titeltrack “Tree man” en meer uptempo bluesje als het afsluitende “I’m Getting Old”. Kortom een weerom meer dan behoorlijk statement van Boo Boo Davis met deze “Tree Man” waarvoor Thank You Day…

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review Boo Boo Davis from the UK

Boo Boo Davis “Tree Man” (Black & Tan B&T 045)
Mississippi born and long-time Saint Louis based bluesman James “Boo Boo” Davis is one of the last to have sung the blues in the cotton fields, and his music is the real deal. For many years now he has been working with Dutch label Black & Tan – with label boss Jan Mittendorp on guitar and drummer John Gerritse. Sometimes they will go for a specific idea – say, showcasing Boo Boo’s soul side – but for this set the focus is firmly o producing a straight-forward, down home blues set. Some of these songs are slow-ish, brooding compositions in the vein of Howling Wolf (Davis’ voice certainly suits this kind of thing – led an ear to the title track, or ‘What’s The Matter With You Baby’), whilst ‘She Won’t Call Me On The Telephone’ is nicely up tempo and raucous, and ‘Bring My Baby Back Home’, with some slight soul tinges, is perhaps the smoothest number here – though it’s not that smooth! Boo Boo plays harp too on this set – he is not a virtuoso by any means, but he does the job perfectly well, and that comment goes for the whole album, no showboating or ego-tripping, just real blues the whole way.

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review Boo Boo Davis by Something Else

It’s no exaggeration to state that Boo Boo Davis is one of the last of the authentic blues men. Born and raised in the heart of the Mississippi Delta during the 40s and 50s, James ‘Boo Boo’ Davis had been singing the blues since the age of five throughout a childhood that included working in the cotton fields and he spent a good deal of his early adult life toiling as a blues musician in the St. Louis area. But like his contemporary RL Burnside, Davis didn’t get discovered until he had already lived a full life. First touring Europe in 2000, he was soon afterwards picked up by Netherlands-based Black and Tan Records, and has been making award-winning records under that label while regularly performing all over Europe ever since. After a string of single releases of famous blues covers on KuvVer Records it’s now time again for Boo Boo to release a new and ‘all original’ album. Tree Man sports ten brand new songs and one new version from a song that was released earlier in 2002. Tree Man wasn’t recorded in a club, but it could have easily been. Captured live in the studio with no overdubs, the guys at Black and Tan understood that Davis’ music has to be rendered strictly on his own terms, performed the way he’s been performing for some sixty odd years. Even his usual stage salutation “thank you Dave” is captured at the end of a couple of performances, his own personal shout-out to God. “Dirt Road” is no-bullshit blues with Boo Boo filling the space between the verses with some hefty harmonica that gets going full bore on the solo break. The always-irresistible blues shuffle gets delivered on “Big House All To Myself #2” and the drums/baritone guitar groove that underpins “Stay Out All Night Long” is one funky, lean number as is the talking blues “Chocolate.” “She Won’t Call Me On The Telephone” is loud and raucous like punk rock but moves like early rock ‘n’ roll (which was, after all, derived straight from the blues), and Davis’ blues harp is a runaway freight train. That harp kicks off the first slow number of this set, “Oh Baby,” where Boo Boo’s moans like he means it. “Tree Man” was written with Howlin’ Wolf’s “Back Door Man” in mind, it seems, and Davis is even heard singing convincingly in Wolf’s signature menacing scowl. Though Davis is backed by only guitar (Jan Mittendorp) and drums (John Gerritse), sometimes this trio makes a sound that fills up a large room, like the rowdy “What The Blues Is All About” and the aforementioned “She Won’t Call Me On The Telephone.” The blues has been around for a long time and it has a lot of skilled practitioners. But sometimes, there’s no substitution for the blues played by someone who has lived that bluesman life for all of his nearly eighty years on Earth. Tree Man is as real as it gets.