Blues In Britain
I have sung Jim Byrnes praises before, in these pages, along with his collaborator on this set, Steve Dawson, whose guitar enhances every track on this wonderful set of “vintage-old school” blues.
Byrnes is blessed with a deep and resonant blues voice permeated with a clarity that makes the lyrics as important as the melody – a true storyteller in the old tradition.
On this set Byrnes has assembled a cast of class musicians – none more so than John Hammond whose superb harp, along with Dawson’s electrifying slide provide the perfect accompaniment to Byrne’s powerful vocals on a funky rendition of Albert King’s ‘I Get Evil’. Byrnes and Hammond duet superbly on James “Stump” Johnson’s ‘The Ducks Yas Yas Yas’, Hammond’s harp melding perfectly with Jim Hoke’s four-piece horn section and Daryl Havers’ bone-rattling piano – ‘St Louis Blues’ captures W.C. Handy’s era to perfection with Byrne’s “blue” vocals enhanced by Sousaphone and clarinet – whilst Chuck Berry’s classic ‘Nadine’ melds Western Swing, Rockabilly and Crescent City blues with Dawson’s pedal steel outstanding.
Byrnes' melancholy vocals are accentuated by piano, slide guitar and trumpet on a great rendition of Lonnie Johnson’s ‘Another Night To Cry’ – ‘You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone’ is a funky duet with the supremely talented Colleen Rennison – whilst Little Milton’s ‘That Will Never Do’ is given a Robert Johnson/Johnny Shines feel accentuated by Colin James’ and Steve Dawson’s guitar, military drums and rolling piano.