The evocative buttermilk voice, and compelling stage-craft of RAW RAMP cover girl JO HARMAN (she graced our Summer Blues Edition, 2014) has seen her described as one of the most exciting blues performers of a generation.
Now Jo is to release the 10 Year Anniversary edition of her first-ever live album, Jo Harman And Company, Live At Hideaway first recorded in 2011.
The album will be released as a collector’s package and made available on vinyl for the first time, this August 1st, 2021.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of that significant early release, although the original disc has long been sold out / discontinued. Fans will recall this live album was recorded two years prior to the release of Jo’s highly celebrated & successful official studio debut: “Dirt On My Tongue”.
Fans will also know that Jo was lucky enough to play her first gig under her own name at the prestigious 606 Club in London. The owner of the venue recommended Jo to the owner of the newly opened Hideaway Jazz Club who were looking for energetic acts. Consequently, Jo quickly found herself on the London scene with a show at the Hideaway and, later, many other prestigious venues.
Despite the fact that Jo Harman and her Company had only ever played a handful of gigs together, and performed with an interchangeable line-up and, frankly, without any attempt at rehearsal, a live recording was nevertheless released of their Hideaway show (albeit a low-key release) and, as Jo remembers: “ [it was] a showcase to get us more gigs and have something to sell at the merch stand.”
Because of the ad hoc nature of the Hideaway performance, and (largely, but not entirely) her choice of cover material, Jo all but subsequently disowned “Live At Hideaway” being, as she saw it, merely a bridge between her role as lead singer with her former Soul Reality Collective and forging a career as an original artist with her own band.
One of the reasons for the popularity of this early live album is the quality of her band. Due to her connections with Soul Reality, Jo not only found herself cast in some of the most sought after clubs in the City, but she also worked alongside some of the best session “A list” session players on the circuit.
For example, her main musical partner, singer-songwriter Michael Davies, may have been just as inexperienced as Jo at the time of the Hideaway show, but it was obvious to all who witnessed his style of play and exuberant expressiveness that he’d go on to become an extraordinary talent. Subsequently, Mike became the guitarist for some of the biggest artists in the world, including Jessie J, Emeli Sande and Rita Ora.
Then there was the hugely experienced bassist John Michael McKenzie (son of jazz pianist Mike McKenzie) who was a touring musician for acts like Lionel Richie, Dr. John and is associated with the Eurythmics singles (John sadly died in May, last year). John, having seen Jo perform at the 606 Club, offered himself to her as a bass player (knowing full well that she was a completely unknown young singer, but guessing at her likely potential.)
If that wasn’t enough, the magic keyboardist Stevie Watts (who was to later go on to play alongside Danny Bryant, Sari Schorr, and Elles Bailey) — and jazz / rock ‘n’ metal drummer Martin Johnson — blew the roof off the South London jazz club with their effusive playing-style.
This is a naked, emotional and intimate recording that captures something of the immediacy, legitimacy, freshness, and (let’s be honest) bravery — of a thoroughly exciting young artist who is about to be elevated to greater things alongside one of the best jazz & blues combos the world has ever seen!
If you like the idea of 60s rock meets modern blues alongside soothing blue-eyed English soul and if you want to hear some crisp freshman artists at their most energizing and their most (unabashedly) unspoiled — this will be your thing!
File alongside: early Joss Stone
The 10-year anniversary edition of “Live At Hideaway” is out on 1st August 2021 and comes in two-CD format (including a disc of never before released tracks) and, for the first time ever, the original sequenced tracks will be available as a 12-inch vinyl LP.