Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bare Bones Boogie Band Blue CD Review

Buenos dias, amigos!

This CD review was originally published in the August 30, 2012 edition of Blues Blast Magazine. Be sure to check out the rest of the magazine at

Bare Bones Boogie Band – “Blue CD”

10 tracks / 48:46

I have the good fortune to listen to blues CDs from all over the world, and this week I had the pleasure of hearing the latest release from London’s Bare Bones Boogie Band. And true to their name, this foursome plays a stripped-down no-nonsense power blues that is held together by their prodigious talent. Vocalist Helen Turner has worked with guitarist (and fellow Scot) Iain Black since 1990, and Trev Turley from Birmingham joined them on bass in 2003. The Bare Bones Boogie Band came together as a whole in 2008 when Andy Jones, a drummer from Manchester, came into the fold. In 2010 they gave us their well-reviewed eponymous debut CD and supported it with endless touring.

This is a review of their second CD, which is also self-titled, but it is being called the “Blue CD” because the logo is blue, differentiating it from their first release that had a red logo. In their catalog they refer to it as “BBBBCD2.” The Blue CD sounds a bit better, doesn’t it? This album includes ten tracks: eight of which were written by Black, one from Andy Jones, and a touching cover of Robert Johnson's "Love In Vain.” You will find that all of the touring they did has been put to good use, as all four members of the band are in top form for this project.

“Fallin’ for Foolin’” is the first track on the Blue CD, and the listener will find that although these four folks came from different parts of the UK, there is no Scottish or English accent or tone to the music, it is just the blues. This is a long and slow song for an opener (almost seven minutes), but it is cleverly-written and well-produced with up front guitar, drums and bass and of course Helen Turner’s vocals. Everybody has a chance to show what they can do on this track, and Helen really stands out: her vocal style is brilliant and shows that she has learned a lot about her craft over the past few decades.

The next two tracks “Midnight O2” and “Sittin’ Here Sewin’” evoke a 1970s blues/rock mood with round and lively bass lines and fat guitar over the tight drumming of Jones. But there is plenty of variety to be found on this album as it segues into a lovely ballad, “Mean Old Man,” which is not a conventional love story. This song shows tremendous restraint on the part of all that were involved, and there is just enough of a contribution from everybody to assemble a really good song, which is a sign of how this band has matured.

One of my favorite tracks on this release is “Wings” which is a fabulous showcase of Helen Turner’s vocal range and the soul she puts into the music. These same qualities carry over to “Love in Vain” which was written by Robert Johnson, but made famous for us mainstream folks by the Rolling Stones. Her sweet voice helps the Bare Bones Boogie Band make this version their own. It appears that there is no shortage of soulful blues ballads on this album, which is a good thing in my book.

After a couple of more blues rock tunes (“A Little Bit More” and “Travellin’ Light”), the band chose to close out the album with the end of the album with “My Man Loves my Van.” This is a fun beer joint 8-bar blues song that shows that the band does not feel like they have to take themselves too seriously. This is a fabulous quality in any band, if you ask me.

The Bare Bones Boogie Band have avoided the sophomore jinx with their Blue CD, and I have to say that I think this work outshines their debut album in every way (by the way, I really like the Red CD). The whole production sounds more full and rich, and each of the artists have grown and improved on their performances since we last heard from them. This is helped along by the fact that the songwriting is much more consistent throughout this release. This is a great CD, and I highly recommend that you check it out when you get a chance.


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