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The Bullfrog Blues Club
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Bullfrog Blues Dockyard Club Southsea - April 2nd 2015

Following my favourable review of their debut release, I was delighted to have my high opinion totally vindicated. Paul Long, keys and vocals, his son Matthew on guitar and vocals, and the experienced pairing of Kevin Yates, drums, and Dusty Bones on bass, turned in a superb set of classic Blues covers largely drawn from the CD.

Excellent sound too and imaginative orchestration, with plenty of light and shade, adding a creative individual slant to the material. 'Little by Little' preceded a splendid funky 'Black Cat Bone' with Matt's warm vibrant vocal coming over much better than on the album. 'Further On Up The Road' "via Joe Bonamassa" was an early highlight with fluid guitar work and whirling keys.

Strangely Joe seems to divide opinion despite his prodigious talent, but anyone who inspires so many young musicians just has to be appreciated. A lovely resonant reverb guitar intro to 'Born Under A Bad Sign' followed by rich full bodied chops, contrasted starkly to the twinkling keys intro to 'Midnight Blues' with Paul on warm clear vocal and Matt shining on a tasteful potent and compelling solo almost lifting us off our feet.

'So Many Roads' had more soaring, scintillating guitar prowess and Matthew's fervent vocals with clever and effective use of lyrical phrasing. With a second CD in progress and the intention to contribute their own material, a self-penned 'Never Go Back' with its driving riff and full fat chops gave us a tasty sampler. Foy Vance's 'Make It Rain' was slow and pulsating with some fine piano and more clever vocal phrasing, and was bookended by fine renditions of 'Tore Down' and 'Crossroads'.

The second set, following the band's expected failure to win a raffle prize, began with a tour de force moody, magnificent and swampy 'Pride And Joy' before Dad on vocal again on an atmospheric rendition of 'Catfish Blues'. Matt using a Joe Bonamassa branded slide, bought along with a supply of t-shirts by his mum as penance, having gone to a Joe B gig by herself! 'Five Long Years' saw the standard given singular treatment with a throbbing organ solo joined by echoey articulate guitar work building to an emotive crescendo.

A funky 'Messin with The Kid' contrasted to a softer sensual 'Loan Me A Dime' with some quite beautiful guitar playing, culminating in a growling resonant chunk of wah wah reverb. An encore of 'Going Down' with more bags of throbbing reverb delighted the small but vocal crowd.

Matthew's fine guitar playing particularly on his Les Paul is mature beyond his years, add his distinctive vocal style and he is well on the way to creating that crucial unique signature. I look forward to the opportunity of reviewing that second release of this very talented and approachable band.

Bob Chaffey - Blues In Britain

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