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The Bullfrog Blues Club
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Southsea Bullfrog Blues - June 4th 2015

Tony Qunta launched proceedings with a solo 'Let The Good Times Roll', with his pleasant high timbre vocal and chiming jazz inflected guitar, and indeed they did, as joined by Jerome Marcus, percussion, Spy Austin, bass and vocal, and of course the inimitable Sam Kelly on drums, the masters of groove produced a night of relaxed entertainment with a jam session feel and plenty of interaction, both on stage and with the audience. The only disappointment being the absence of keyboard maestro Paul Jobson, in Germany "on a mission to conquer Europe".

A languid 'Sweet Little Angel' with pulsing bass, light percussion and a jazzy rippling guitar, featured a bass solo and then of all things a triangle solo from Jerome, yes the first, and very probably the last that this scribe will ever witness! Sam, comically complaining in Jamaican patois about his lack of a featured solo, was eventually granted his 15 seconds (not minutes) of fame!

Spy took the lead vocal for another funky work out before Peter Green's 'Watch Out' treated as a free form groove with first drums, then bass line and finally percussion prominent before the classic triangle....wait for it ... ending. A superb modern protest song 'Actions Speak Louder Than Words' saw Spy on vocals and a real Earth Wind and Fire vibe before returning to the Blues with some searing twinkling guitar on 'Spoonful' and a funky 'You Upset Me Baby'.

The second half saw Sam and Jerome exchange seats for an elongated 'Long Grey Mare' with Tony on vocal with Sam's bongos featured before a drum rim spot from Jerome and a bass solo from Spy. Spy's 'Superstition' was again given that funky vibe drawing from 'Voodoo Child' with some fine wah wah guitar. With Sam moving back to his drum kit, the dancers moved into action on a requested 'People Say' with a 'Shake Your Money Maker' refrain from Sam who was in high spirits all night, at one point even envisaging himself at 70 "with a blonde syrup (wig) in a heavy metal band!" 'Red House' saw more fine guitar picking from Tony and his scat vocal, and with time running out, and the band in full flow, a swift change to a quickened tempo on 'Killing Floor'.

A storming encore of 'Crossroads' "Ginger Baker's finest work with Cream" commented Sam showed the watertight band at their focussed best. Wonderful entertainment from an ensemble whose approach treads that fine line between over indulgent twiddling but always remains on the right side of it. Despite the casual demeanour and comic interplay, you never lose sight of the consummate musicianship on display.

Bob Chaffey - Blues In Britain

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