Bullfrog Blues Dockyard Club Southsea - August 6th 2015
Alabama based Debbie Bond on vocals and guitar with her
husband Rick Asherson on keyboard supplying the bass lines, backing vocals and harp, and a UK drummer whose name I did not
catch, suffered on a night clashing with nearby Wickham festival which sadly decimated the numbers.
Debbie quickly established a rapport with the stalwart few, regaling us with tales of her adopted states' musical heritage
and legendary Bluesmen like Johnny Shines.
Her voice is somewhere between Bex Marshall and Bonnie Raitt with a rather
thinner timbre underpinned by her big jangling guitar. Her song writing skills were demonstrated on 'Nothing But The Blues'
with that crystal clear vocal commenting on the more unfortunate side of Alabama's social history, with Rick adding a
dextrous keys solo.
As one might expect from the home of Sam and Dave, there was plenty of Soul influence in evidence, with
'Falling' an early highlight. Rick moved to harp on a splendid tour de force train song about waiting for the train to pass,
ending nicely with a pin drop harp solo.
Some Rock 'n' Roll too with twinkling keys and that big jangling guitar tone.
Tasteful accompaniment on percussion, and pulsing bass lines from the keyboard before a classic but original Blues, 'Blue
Rain' with an emotive lyric about a bad relationship closed the first set.
'Steady Rollin' Man' saw Debbie put down her
guitar before a superb cover of her local hero Jody Williams' 'You Left Me In The Dark' which was as compelling, lilting and
catchy as the original. Another fine cover of 'Help Me' preceded her own 'Tarragona Blues' with a real Spanish vibe.
With only a score of us in attendance, I suppose my note taking was obvious, but nevertheless it is the first time I have ever
been asked what I was up to from the stage! My response of "Blues In Britain" was warmly received but I did wonder
afterwards whether "The IRS" might have had more of a dramatic impact!
Despite that sparse crowd there was enthusiastic
participation with the ascerbic refrain "Got a wishbone where a backbone should be" about a girlfriend constantly making the
wrong choices in men. Equating Mobile to New Orleans brought a really authentic vibe to the keys before a slow paced Country
Another New Orleans style 'Mojo Working' with fluid keys and harp was a thoroughly merited encore to an
enjoyable evening. Interesting and stimulating too, with her engaging vibrant personality, both in her between number patter
and in networking the audience.