Warrington R&B Club
July 6th 2001
The gig at Warrington was the band's first appearance on an extensive tour of the UK throughout the month of July.
Guitarist, singer and songwriter Lightning Red gained his early schooling in the blues in Chicago before moving to Austin, Texas. Both sets played by the band strongly reflected the influences of those two legendary centres of American blues music.
The first set began with a Texas blues instrumental, followed by "Scratch My Back", a funky arrangement complete with slide guitar. Three more Texas blues numbers maintained the momentum, accompanied by top quality combinations of slide and SRV-like solos. The relentless pace was then eased by a splendid rendition of Eddie Boyd's "Five Long Years", which introduced the wonderful skills of Stockport's Paul Westwell on harp, who continued to delight the audience on "Blow Wind Blow".
The remainder of the set comprised a well-balanced mix of shuffles, country swing and fast and funky blues, throughout which Lightning Red demonstrated his guitar mastery with a series of scintillating solos, most notably on "Dynamite" and "Got The Power".
Red opened the second set with another fast instrumental, followed by the funky "Houston Blues" and "Tortured Mind". "South Austin Shuffle" again evoked memories of Stevie Ray and featured the outstanding talent of Coy Fuller on drums. Then it was time to return to Chicago and the plaintive brilliance of Paul Westwell on "Lost My Baby", "Hoochie Coochie Man" and Little Milton's "The Blues Is Alright".
The performance ended with "Snatch It Back" and Freddie King's "Going Down", both of which showcased the considerable ability of Terry Robbins: the former enriched by his terrific funky baseline and the latter, for which he also provided lead vocals, by a display of his versatility as a bass player.
It was an excellent evening's entertainment, provided by four masters of their respective instruments. Lightning Red is a superb guitarist and a talented songwriter; and, equally importantly, he, Coy and Terry are warm and gracious individuals to whom an audience can't help but relate. I have a sneaking feeling that they will be back.
10 July 2001
(submitted to Blue Print - UK)
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