Produced by fellow Leicester musician Craig Marshall, aka Audio 54, “Backtrack” (released July 1st 2021 and available now) is a career defining compilation that celebrates 55 years in the music business for British slide-guitarist, blues harp player, and vocalist MICK PINI.
Over the years, Pini has earned a huge following, especially in Europe. Eric Clapton once described him as: “The legitimate successor to Peter Green”.
Pini (who now resides in Germany) has been on tour with B.B. King and has supported Buddy Guy, Freddie King and Jimmy Rogers. He started his career in Leicester with the Ned Ludd band which evolved from the Hydro Elastic Blues Band (and he worked with drummer Romeo Challenger, later of Showaddywaddy fame.)
In 1998 the MICK PINI BAND won the prestigious ‘Blues Band of the Month’ award at ‘Talkin Blues’ in Cologne, Germany. The band recorded their authoritative Mike Vernon-produced album “Blues Gonna Be My Way” in 1989.
You’ll also perhaps know the “Wildman” British blues veteran from his group “B.E.P.” (Black, Estrada, Pini) an ensemble whose personnel included the (now rakeshame) Little Feat bassist Roy Estrada, the Mothers of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black, Peter Bruder on rhythm guitar (with whom Pini worked on his album “Come On Into My Kitchen” 1999) and Gregor“ Squibb ”Wittner on keyboards.
The new album, Backtrack originates from a concept by renowned D.J. blues promoter and writer Pete Feenstra and is a collection of Pini’s favorite tracks from an extensive catalog. All tracks were written by Pini except “Shadows” and “Slow Hands” which were both co-written with producer Craig Marshall. “Blues is Cheap” was written with guitarist Al Sansome.
We had a listen —
Just as the title suggests, the album somersaults into life with “Jumping Blues” which is a tasty slice of heritage-pie, a push-chugging blues rocker. And, of course, it’s a jump-blues number! The track incorporates feckless keys, rough-motion rhythms and strong distinctive vocals. It’s a bristle brush roller that will make everyone get up and dance, and it has super lemony guitar to spice it all up! Fizzy!
Pini is inspired by the openness & lightness of Peter Green, the sweetness, the string bending, and the vibrato, so “Blues for Peter Green” is purity and insight. The articulation of his instrument communicates a smooth perspective and wise contemplation. This is a thing of such graceful beauty!
“Shadows” has a wonderful long-legged bass-line and lots of glittery jingles from the ivory. This is a candlelit sound with soft vibrations and dreamy voices. A purr of jazz ‘n’ blues, with dreamlike expression. Comforting!
“Blues is Cheap” has a raffish slide riff and a scruffy (but oaky) voice. Here Pini’s guitar-work is dark, then vixenish, like a deceptive fox caught snagging away a bird in the night.
“Slow Hands” is a refinement of quality blues licking… a timelessly smooth piece of sophistication with guitar-work that is always clear & expressive… plus, the atmosphere is super-sultry! Wonderful!
File alongside: Luther Allison
Words: @neilmach 2021 ©