The Blues, Man, Rides Again!
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Yes it's back - now a full length album. Rockin' the Blues!
Sound Guardian Review
by Mladen Loncar
(Google translation from the Croatian)
I've lost count of how many albums I've covered since Mick Clarke. Current "The Blues, Man, Rides Again!" was released on October 27th for Rockfold Records and like all of them so far, Mick continues his determination to keep his musical being alive in a completely uncompromising way of performing blues that sounds solid, energetic, with a deep involvement in the mud of the great Mississippi River.
Phuuu... 14 new compositions woven into a little more than 56' will certainly not leave us indifferent to all of us who love and follow this musical style. Everything that we recognize very well has now been given a new "clothing" and now Mick presents it as is his custom and, I must admit, I really like it.
Mick Clarke is not a new musical name, he has been on the scene since the end of the sixties, from that famous, great British "blues boom". He started his career in the band Killing Floor, which followed famous blues legends, such as: Freddie King, Howlin' Wolf, Otis Span and Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup. This band released two albums that today have cult status and were included in the top twenty British blues albums between 1967 and 1970. In 2003, the band reunites and works on studio recordings, starts some projects, goes on tours and plays at important European blues and rock festivals.
At the beginning of the eighties, the Mick Clarke Band started, which was particularly popular in London and the surrounding area, and soon offers arrived from Europe and America. He works with great musicians like the late Johnny Winter, Canned Heat, Foghat and C.J. Chenieroma. Today, he belongs to one of the regular, important musical names that regularly perform in Europe, Asia and America.
This album, "The Blues, Man, Rides Again!", is characterized by a rather raw, airy way of playing, very skillfully integrated into the complete presentation form. Namely, Mick "dusts" extremely hard, there is not much room for any compromises, he really demands with his presentation form that the volume of the volume is not spared, but let's "squeeze" as much as possible, the atmosphere and feeling are stronger, more effective and more impressive. All the material was recorded by Mick with his old friend Bill Thorndycraft at Rockfold Studios in Surrey in August 2023. Together, the two formed the band Killing Floor.
I have already mentioned something about them, but I would also like to add that in addition to everything, they also performed with bands such as: The Nice, Yes, Jethro Tull, Captain Beefheart, Ten Years After and other names of that period, and they were definitely part of the British "blues boom" of the late sixties.
"The Blues, Man, Rides Again!" will amaze you with its variety, energy and slide, special atmosphere. There is really everything here and therefore you should listen to the complete content of the album, which hides that special, special energy, message, "mojo" and the more I listen to it and play it, the stronger its expression becomes!
In my opinion, the album "The Blues, Man, Rides Again!" is a true surprise due to its dynamism, solidity and deep commitment to rock n' blues, and these 14 offered and recorded compositions will directly and strongly support its further and repeated global affirmation.
The album contains six original songs plus eight new ones. These latest songs are a mix of originals and blues standards. The question arises whether this is actually what Mick wants or whether it is better and simpler for him to "whip" everything from home. I admit, regardless of everything, I was still a bit taken aback by how all the songs on this album take on a strong "blues-rocker touch" and how every one of them fit me well!
Album "The Blues, Man, Rides Again!" is in front of all of you and after only a few listens, an extremely positive perception of this album was completely created in me. It is precisely this perception that I simply want to share with you now. I believe that many will be surprised if they get hold of the album "The Blues, Man, Rides Again!". Hand on heart and in fact Mick Clarke clearly shows where the wind is blowing from and how listeners adapt to the new situation and this excellent musical offer with unprecedented ease. The album really shouldn't have any problems and there really aren't any, in fact! I believe the album will be well received. And therefore, there is really no reason why you, the respected visitors of the "Blues Corner" of the SoundGuardian.com music portal, should not seek out this inspired album, and I believe that in just a few days or listens, it will simply become a part of you. Great, right?
The Blues, Man, Rides Again!
There's a favourite moment of mine on one of Hound Dog Taylor's albums. Between songs he just says..'I got it'. Someone in the crowd shouts: 'What you got?' and the laconic answer comes back.. 'The blues, man...".
So obvious.. what the hell do you think he's got? He's Hound Dog Taylor. Anyway, I liked it, and it lodged in my head, where it grew an extra bit, and became 'the blues, man, the blues'..
Originally a 6 track EP, it has been remixed with an extra 8 tracks - still featuring Consuela the Cuban Chevy - she rides again!!
Track 1: You Got To Move
Fred McDowell's classic with a little of the Stones' insouciance. Rock'n'Roll..
Track 2: Mind Over Matter
King Biscuit Boy's great song from, I think, his first album. 'Mind Over Matter' by Allen Toussaint.
Track 3: Turpentine
Originally my song 'Gasolene'..(I was being lazy).. so I thought it was a good song and needed a more original title.. Turps!
Track 4: Good To Go
My old 1930s Harmony archtop with the Elmore James De Armond pickup sounding sweet on this.. an MC original about cars 'n stuff..
Track 5: Preachin' to the Choir
A nice MC boogie.. pretty much jammed live as much as possible.
Track 6: Tearin' Up My Home
Sort of true - watching the mechanical diggers tearing up the maize field behind our house to build a development.. the blues, man, the blues..
Track 7: Love's a Disease
A great song by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.. a favourite on the old record player back in the 70s after a couple of drinks..
Track 8: If You Can't Follow
A nice stop time blues based on a quote from Jimmy Rogers.. lead guitar on the 'Bent Frets' Strat.
Track 9: I Sing Um the Way I Feel
I first heard this song by J.B.Lenoir way back - one of the first blues tracks I ever heard. Mid 60s sometime. And I liked the tune, so lately I tracked it down. J.B's version is quite laid back - I've boogied it up a little, with some Hubert Sumlin influenced guitar.
Track 10: I Asked For Water
We toured with Wolf as I've mentioned before. I don't think he ever did this one on stage, not when I was there. If he had it would have been spellbinding. Anyway, here's my version with the Strat wailing.
Track 11: Doing The Best I Can
When I was just a kid my late brother Derek used to bring home a lot of the hit records of the day. That's when I heard Lonnie Donnegan, Buddy Holly and others. He loved the Elvis album 'G.I.Blues'. Actually he loved all the sloppy tracks, bless him, and Elvis's version of this Doc Pomus / Mort Schuman song is pretty sloppy. However it can also harden up nicely and with some Guitar Slim style guitar I think it rocks. Hope you enjoy it.
Track 12: Mizzable Blues
I think I did have the backache and the toothache and the headache when I wrote Mizzable Blues. It's all true! 'Getting old is not for the faint of heart' - the blues, man, the blues..
Track 13: Baby Please Don't Throw Me Down
Tampa Red wrote this, but the version I liked was by Chicago blues man Jimmy Eager. Hard rockin' stuff. So I've applied some Hound Dog style slide to my version.. verges on the rockabilly which is not a bad thing. Boogie on..
Track 14: Love Her With A Feeling
I was privileged to play this track as rhythm guitarist with Freddie King many times on our two UK tours together back in 1969. Always loved the song, and Freddie put it across beautifully. I've tried to keep a lot of his phrasing while at the same time adapting it to my style. Anyway, I'm happy. Hope you enjoy the track.