Album Reviews

The James Montgomery Blues Band

The James Montgomery Blues Band

Artist:     The James Montgomery Blues Band

Album:     The James Montgomery Blues Band

Label:     Cleopatra Records

Release Date:     10/07/2016

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Hands up time here: I’m a fan of James Montgomery and his blasting harp-fuelled blues. Montgomery has been around Stateside for more years than I care to remember, and is always guaranteed to bring of class, style and sensitivity to any project he touches. You get more than just a hint at his quality when looking at some of the guys he’s worked with over the years: Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Gregg Allman, Bruce Springsteen, New Hampshire acoustic picker, Bob McCarthy. Even Aerosmith benefited from his input. With this release, he is joined by guitarist, George McCann, David Hull on bass and Jeff Thompson on drums.

The ten track album is clearly inspired by Montgomery’s personal blues hero, Paul Butterfield, and he describes and intends that it should be seen as his own tribute to the revered Paul Butterfield Blues Band of old. Montgomery first caught Butterfield play in 1965 in San Francisco – incidentally the same year that saw Dylan shake up his fans and the folk world by going electric – and was immediately impacted and inspired by his playing, an influence that has remained at the very core of his blues-love and performance ever since. Close the eyes and that Butterfield sound, pulsing with raw emotion, can be heard. With some sterling keys support from Butterfield’s own Mark Naftalin, together with fretwork additions by Paul Nelson – ex Johnny Winter – this is an album that is always going to make its mark.

-Iain Patience

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