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Mick Abrahams - Mick's Back (CD)

Genre: Rock/Blues
Release Date: 7th April 2014

Label: Gonzo
Catalogue Number: HST182CD
Price: £7.99
Available: Sorry - Not currently available

Mick Abrahams - Mick's Back

It is a story as old as time itself.  I'm sure that it predates rock'n'roll, but it is a paradigm that has appeared so many times within the canon of the sort of bands that I have spent the last four decades listening to, but it hardly bears repeating.  Except, of course, that I must - because without the back-story the extraordinary tale of Blodwyn Pig would just be another rags to... well, if not exactly riches, then slightly more expensive rags.

In the beginning there was Robert Johnson who sold his soul to the devil.  The cornute one passed it on to some evangelical promoters in the Thames Valley. The Blodwyn Pig story begins back in the mid-1960s when a whole generation of relatively privileged white kids in the UK discovered the music of a previous generation of reasonably underprivileged black men living in the southern states of the USA. 

People quite often forget that Jethro Tull, who are best known for having a personable front man who looked like a tramp and stood on one leg whilst playing the flute, didn't start off as a folk band, or even a progressive rock band; they started off as a blues band.

Back in the halcyon days of 1967, a couple of members of a Blackpool-based blue-eyed soul band travelled down to the teeming metropolis where they teamed up with two members of a failing, Luton-based blues band.  They appropriated the name of the legendary 18th-century agriculturist (inventor of the rotary seed drill, no less) and the rest is history.  Except, of course, that it is nothing of the kind.

The band signed to the legendary Island Records, home of the cream of what was then known as 'the underground', and during the summer of 1968 recorded their first albumThis Was.  Ian Anderson, the aforementioned gentleman of the rock and roll road, described their music as ‘a sort of progressive blues with a bit of jazz.’

The blues influence came largely from guitarist Mick Abrahams.  It was Abrahams who - on the first album - provided the only non-Anderson lead vocal in Jethro Tull's recorded history, and with the benefit of hindsight it is easy to see that both he and Anderson were jostling for position as the prime creative mover behind the band.

Unsurprisingly, there was a massive falling out between the pair, and Abrahams left the group. He was replaced by Martin Barre (after brief tenures by Toni Iomni, later of Black Sabbath, and Davy O'List of The Nice) and Jethro Tull did their own inimitable thing for the next four decades.

But what of Abrahams? One of the main reasons that he had fallen out with Anderson was that he was a blues purist, and didn't want to follow some of the more esoteric paths that Anderson was to lead the band into.  No, he just wanted to play the blues.  Robert Johnson hadn't sold his soul to the devil in order to make progressive rock albums about a nine-year-old boy poet.  There was a purity and an integrity to the blues, and it was the path along which Mick Abrahams intended to walk.  So he started his own band and for reasons that remain obscure he named it Blodwyn Pig.

An anonymous internet reviewer called only Dave42 writes: '"Mick's Back" is Mick Abraham's third solo album after coming out of retirement. It may not be quite up to the level of his 1991 album, "All Said and Done", but it isn't far off. Released in July of 1996, this album features over 50 minutes of blues, with Mick playing the guitar better than ever. Mick is backed by The Norman Beaker Band, and the combination is dynamic. My personal favorites on this CD are "The Rivers Invitation", "Bad Feeling", "Time to Love", "Long Grey Mare", and "Yolanda", but all the selections are well worth a listen.

'The album has a good mix of Mick's own compositions with those from Percy Mayfield, Peter Green, Willie Dixon, and others. Mick sings and plays acoustic and slide guitars. The Norman Beaker Band consists of the following: Tim Franks (drums, percussion), Dave Baldwin (keyboards, piano, and organ), John Price (bass guitar), Norman Beaker (rhythm guitar), Lenni (sax), John Hulme (trumpet), and Sheila Gott (backing vocals).'


Track Listing:

1. The River's Invitation
2. Bad Feeling
3. Cold Women With Warm Hearts
4. Time To Love
5. Leaving Home Blues
6. Long Grey Mare
7. You'd Be A Millionare
8. Send Me Some Lovin'
9. Yolanda
10. Little Red Rooster
11. Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City
12. So Much Hard Luck
13. Skyline Drive


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