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Barrelhouse Chuck
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Driftin' from Town to Town
Blues and Rhythm, August 2013

I knew I was going to like this as soon as the first notes of the opening, driving Cal Green – penned instrumental pounded out. Barrelhouse Chuck has been on the road with Kim Wilson and Co. for around seven years, and this set is no nonsense blues, r&b and vintage rock’n’roll. Looked at objectively, it’s great!
The track listing tells you pretty much what you need to know. Chuck draws on his years of experience of playing the real deal Chicago blues, learning from the likes of Little Brother Montgomery and Sunnyland Slim. Kim’s harmonica playing is in its element here, recalling the likes of Walters Big and Little, and he even handles the vocals on the exemplary covers of Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘I’m Leaving You’ and Chuck Berry’s rocking ‘Thirty Days’. Barrelhouse Chuck’s own singing is also excellent on his six vocal numbers; try the wonderful version of ‘Stockyard Blues’ or ‘You Can’t Live Long’ – two Floyd Jones covers!
The other All-Stars include bassist Larry ‘The Mole’ Taylor (of Canned Heat fame) and drummer Richard Innes – and both were at one time the Hollywood Fats rhythm section. Sax Gordon applies his always tasty sax appeal to five num bers, and guitar duties throughout are shared between Billy Flynn and Jeremy Johnson, two of the most talented blues players around these days – and both get plenty of opportunity to showcase their talents; for suitable examples, take a listen to the always enjoyable ‘Lucky Lou’ for Billy, the ringing licks of ‘The Big Push’ for Minneapolis’s Jeremy.
With the sheer volume of ‘product’ issued these days, it can be sometimes easy to forget what attracted us to the blues in the first place. Discs like this are a timely reminder!”

- Norman Darwen