If you were a fan of the great Long John Baldry then, vocally, Big Dave McLean is probably the closest you will get him. That’s not to say that McLean is a clone, he just has those gravelly blues pitted vocals that made Baldry such a fine exponent of the blues – which with his rough-hewn guitar style and lowdown harmonica make him a true force of nature on the blues scene today.
McLean is backed up by a band that is steeped in the blues and includes guitar-meister Steve Dawson, the great Kevin McKendree on piano and organ plus the McCrary Sisters on backing vocals.
McLean opens with his own ‘Life On The Road’ where his “battle-scarred” vocals and rambling piano take this shuffle deep into the 50’s Delta. McLean’s gutbucket vocals perfectly fit his rendition of Muddy’s ‘You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had’ replete with downhome bottleneck and piano – the McCrary’s gospel-infested vocals, chugging harp and guitar and eerie fiddle ensure McLean makes ‘You’ll Need Somebody On Your Bond’ – whilst ‘I Need You’ swings irresistibly, McLean’s country harp giving it a Jazz Gillum flavour.
Add in a raw rendition of Muddy’s ‘Deep Down In Florida’, given a Sleepy John Estes feel by Steve Dawson’s mandotar, and you have a set that will delight all lovers of traditional blues.