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Mick Clarke - Steppin' Out

Mick Clarke
Steppin' Out

The new album, now released worldwide on CD, streaming and download, recorded by Mick at Rockfold Studio, Surrey. The album features 13 tracks, including 9 original songs plus versions of songs by Hank Williams, Eddie Taylor, Elvis Presley and Bobby Parker. There are 2 instrumental tracks on the album.

01 Backroom Boy
02 Honky Tonk Blues
03 Nuthin'burger Blues
04 Spend Your Money
05 Big Town Playboy
06 Whisky Blues
07 Can't Help Myself
08 Watch Your Step
09 No Way Back
10 Early Bird
11 Tryin' to Get to You
12 Right and Wrong
13 20th Century Man

Recorded and Mixed by Mick Clarke at Fabulous Rockfold Studio, Surrey, England.
Special guest Dangerous Dave Newman on harp.

All songs written by Mick Clarke except "Honky Tonk Blues" by Hank Williams, "Watch Your Step" by Bobby Parker, "Big Town Playboy" by J.Jones and "Trying to Get to You" McCoy / Singleton.

Listen and Follow on Spotify

Download is available now from iTunes and Amazon Music

CD Currently out of stock - try BGO Records - Rockfold RF021.

A little background (from Mick)..

I think you could call "Steppin' Out" an eclectic mix.. in fact there are not many styles of blues, blues rock, country rock that are not in there somewhere. but what the hell.... to me it's all blues.

My friend Dangerous Dave Newman came down to Rockfold Studio to add some fine harp playing and cook an excellent barbecue - many thanks for your contribution Dave, heard on three tracks on the album.

I've said before that making music is my hobby and my therapy - definitely keeps me sane or insane whichever might apply best. I had a lot of fun making this album as well as tearing my hair out when things got frustrating. I hope you enjoy the music.

Backroom Boy

Self explanatory lyric with the Epiphone Sheraton playing the opening riff through my old Watkins 6 watt amp. Lead on the Les Paul Junior - that distinctive P90 bridge pickup.

Honky Tonk Blues

Not sure why I like Hank Williams so much. Probably the same reason others like him - the total honesty and conviction in his singing. I always thought of him as a great white bluesman as well as the king of country. So I'm not trying to be Hank here, despite the southern drawl in the vocals. (You can't sing this song in an English accent.. although my pronunciation of "route" is more Surrey than Tennessee). Anyway I felt that I could add something in rocking the track up in my own way.. the Les Paul Junior once again doing the business. I do like this track - it is definitely me.

Nuthin'burger Blues

Inspired by the old Josh White song "One Meat Ball".. although a completely original song, as far as I'm aware. Django meets Fats Waller in the 21st Century. The phrase "nothingburger" although associated with current US politics, has actually been around for a while - seemed like an appropriate update. This, as you will notice, is an instrumental, but there are lyrics, which I haven't actually written yet. You can make up your own and sing along if you wish.

Spend Your Money

Written during that long hot spell we had here in England..(yes really). Dust on the car windscreen and a lazy feel. What you gonna do? I'll spend your money - you spend mine.

Big Town Playboy

Again, not sure why I like this song. But it tells a story and I like the way the lyrics fall into place. Written by pianist Johnny Jones and made famous by Eddie Taylor. Dave plays some great harp through his little Supro amp, and the track boogies along.

Whisky Blues

I like a sip of whisky, me. Usually early in the evening to smooth the transition from day to evening. As Charlie Drake put it in his autobiography, it takes the rough edges off the day. And I like a sip before I go on stage, to warm the vocal chords and loosen the inhibitions.

However, I'm well aware that it can be the Devil's brew. If it takes a hold you're lost. A few times when I've played gigs with musicians who don't know me that well, I've seen them recoil when I pour myself a wee dram in the dressing room. And I do understand - many musicians of a certain age have been to the edge with alcohol, and only survive now through total abstinence. Hence the line "all around the room, a sharp intake of breath". But for myself, I'll continue to warm the cockles as and when required.

This track has a kind of soul feel. I was trying to go for that old Al Green / Willie Mitchell Band thing - that nice solid chunky beat, crossed with a little early Taj Mahal. Some tasty harp work from Dave. The track sounds a bit over-recorded to me, which adds to the vinyl feel.

Can't Help Myself

I could tell you a very long story about how this track evolved through two earlier versions. Suffice to say here it is.. a nice fat lead guitar and a rocking drum track. Can't help myself!

Watch Your Step

This was going to be for the next album, but once I got stuck in to it I got over excited and decided I had to get it out there NOW! So here it is, Bobby Parker's classic, rocked up and set to what is, technically, a Salsa rhythm. Totally over the top in places, it won't be to everyone's taste. My advice - dive in and enjoy.

No Way Back

Another tortuous songwriting process. It started off as a kind of 70s psychedelic thing. At one point I had serious doubts about the song, until I stripped away half the lyrics and decided to hum part of the tune. Suddenly the whole mood of the track changed and the lead guitar part just fell into place. Job done. I don't know what this track is, but I like it.

Early Bird

I think of this as a palate cleanser after the heaviness of No Way Back. Based on a couple of tunes I wrote back in my twenties which I could never do anything with, but which lodged in the back of my mind for all these years. An odd mix of acoustic and electric instruments and justification of my purchase of a real hi-hat - Paiste cymbals, far too good for a non drummer. The style of this track I would describe as, pretty much impossible to say.

Tryin' To Get To You

Another great white bluesman - Elvis Presley. I bought a double CD of early Elvis stuff to entertain me on a holiday a while back, and this song leapt out. I must have known it back in the day, but I'd forgotten all about it. Elvis's version is, I think, flawed and marred by too many stops and starts and a dodgy effect on the guitar, but the song yearned for a straight ahead rocking arrangement. My friend Bill from Killing Floor likes this, so it must be good.

Right and Wrong

Dangerous Dave joins me on a rockin' shuffle which evolved from an old Don Nix song. Les Paul Junior on the lead, Dave rockin' the blues through the Supro.

20th Century Man

Memories of meeting up with my old friends Lou and Rod before they rocked the Hammersmith Odeon or the Rainbow with Rory. A pint of Ramrod and Special in the pub round the corner was the order of the day - great times never to be repeated.

Amazon 5 Star Review - 6 String Guy

Another Home Run Release

Mick Clarke - Stepping Out

2019 release by Mick and I must say this is getting ridiculous. This is the third disc in a trio of spectacular releases from Mick Clarke. How long can this go on? It started with Diggin Deep, followed by Bent Frets and now this one. It should be stated that all 3 of these discs were played by Clarke alone except a little help on harp here. As we heard on the 2 prior discs, this is full of blistering rockin blues that is perhaps best described as grunge blues rock. After 3 discs in the same style I think it’s fair to say that Mick has developed a unique sound which is very hard to do. He has created a distinctive sound with his guitar much like Neil Young, Link Wray or John Lee Hooker. Very few people have been able to do this and I really believe Mick has joined the club. What he is doing is so different, those who know can identify his style very easily.

At the age of 70+ and 50 years after his first recordings with Killing Floor, something has happened here and listeners are advised to pay attention to what Clarke is doing. There is some magic going on in his right hand as he squeezes out the notes that is hard to explain. Buy these discs and listen for yourself. Mick should be on the short list for every musician who wants a hot guitar solo from a guest on their next release. And why is he not playing at the Crossroads Guitar Festivals?? All hail Mick Clarke and may he live and play that guitar forever! Essential recordings for blues rockers.

Blues Magazine, Netherlands www.bluesmagazine.nl/recensie-mick-clarke-steppin-out/

Text: Peter Marinus

You do not have to change what is good. That seems to me the motto of Mick Clarke. This British guitarist has been delivering one exciting blues rock album after another for years. He has been doing this since the 60's, when he was part of the band Killing Floor. I think we are ready for solo album number twenty and this album is also full of delicious raw blues rock.

Yet the album sounds slightly different than its previous work. The songs on this album all seem to be recorded in one take and have a raw, almost lo-fi, sound and that works fine. It has been a long time since I have heard such raw blues rock. The sound takes you back and forth to the exciting times of the British blues rock of the late 70s when artists like Dr. Feelgood and Dave Edmunds came up. The blues rock sounded pretty raw and uncomplicated at the time.

The album opens with the raw blues rock shuffle Backroom Boy in which the burning guitar riffs play an important role, besides the razor sharp piercing soprano sound. Honky Tonk Blues is a cover of the Hank Williams classic. This country song has been cast in a lazy pumping bluesrock sound by Mick, giving it a primitive character. I therefore give this song the predicate "pub blues rock". A song that seems to me very suitable for the club circuit with its raw flaming guitar work and its filthy garage sound.

Nuthin 'Burger Blues is then an instrumental semi-acoustic track with a light jazzy sound. In terms of melody, it is somewhat like "Hit The Road Jack". Mick proves that he can also sound quite intense on the acoustic guitar and even spills some Spanish guitar music through it. We will stay in the semi-acoustic corner with Spend Your Money. A lazy swinging shuffle that sounds like a languid mix of the Bo Diddley beat and the country sound of J.J. Cale. Musically sparsely but very effectively musically colored. The cover of the Johnny Jones song Big Town Playboy is a filthy lazy boogie with biting guitar work and the burning harmonica of Dangerous Dave Newman. The same harmonica can be heard in the languid funky Whiskey Blues. The guidance is limited to the most elementary funky, and therefore effective, role

Can not Help Myself is an angular pumping rhythm & blues song that goes back to the sound of the early years of Dave Edmunds. An apparently simple rocker. Bobby Parker's classic Watch Your Step is also an exciting funky blues song in Mick's version. Mick has opted for a more primitive garage sound which only benefits the song and, in passing, also delivers a flaming guitar solo.

The slow-moving blues-rock song No Way Back has a Howlin 'Wolf-like rawness and a early 70s hard blues rock sound. Then it is time for the acoustic blues Early Bird. A stamping song in which it seems that Jim Keltner has taken place behind the drum kit in a Ry Cooder-like setting in which Mick secretly again shows some Latin American influences. Tryin 'To Get To You is an Elvis Presley number unknown to me. This has been melted down by Mick into a stubborn rocking Dave Edmunds-like song. Right And Wrong is a light-hearted, rocking rocker with the weeping harmonica of Dangerous Dave Newman and a pruning raw solo guitar. Mick leaves us with the powerful angular blues rocker 20th Century Man.

Mick Clarke just flicks it again! Another old-fashioned good blues rock album!

Blues Blast Magazine www.info@bluesblastmagazine.com

Youre never too old to live the dream, no matter what it is. Mick Clarke, from Surrey, England, proves this on his new album Steppin Out. Reviewers on YouTube have raved, 10 points! (for his cover of Hank Williams Honky Tonk Blues) and Bravooo Mike (for Track 08 on this CD, Watch Your Step). Hes currently touring and headlining at the Karlshamn Baltic Festival in Sweden. Mick is a more than halfway-decent guitarist, and his vocals are gritty but a bit flat. On his latest release, he presents nine original numbers plus four covers. All are solid contemporary tracks, leaning toward the fundamental side of the genre rather than the avant-garde. Clarkes is trucker blues, barroom blues, and live-festival blues for darn sure.

Mick has become an established name on the international touring scene and has played regularly in Europe, Asia and the USA. Praised for his fiery guitar sound, Clarke is the winner of the 2014 Artist Aloud Awards Best International Act and appeared at Sweden Rock Festival in June 2018, sharing the bill with metal legends Iron Maiden.

The Mick Clarke Band was established in the early 80s and has appeared with artists such as Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winter and Joe Bonamassa. Recent shows have included festival appearances in Italy, Belgium and India, and in July 2017, Mick appeared at the Mostar Blues & Rock festival in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mick has released nineteen solo albums so far.

Although this is primarily a solo album, Dangerous Dave Newman guest stars on harmonica.

The following tune is not only the best one here, but showcases Clarkes best instrumentation.

Track 03: Nuthinburger Blues – In Millennial parlance, a nuthinburger (also spelled nothingburger) is a nonstarter or non-event, as in Due to the diligence of computer scientists and technicians, Y2K turned out to be a nothingburger. Thats why this instrumental’s title is so ironic. It starts out with some acoustic flair, with electric fire soon added. Melodic and catchy, it will make listeners tap their toes and snap their fingers. It only clocks in at three minutes and eleven seconds, but that’s perfect for a spin around the dance floor – or jumping up and down, as one’s preference may be.

UK blues veteran Mick Clarke is Steppin Out once again, and his guitar possesses much pizzazz!

Youtube Review:

"10 point ssss!!!!!!! saludos a todos!!!!! c amonnnnnn!!!!!"

International distribution to wholesalers through BGO Records www.bgo-records.com
Copyright Mick Clarke 2018

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