‘KINGS’ was the first solo album from the venerable English rock ‘n’ blues guitarist BERNIE MARSDEN in seven years.
It featured ten classic blues songs, originally recorded by the legendary “Three Kings” i.e. Albert King, B.B. King & Freddie King; with two further Marsden-penned masterpieces — each inspired by the Kings — which are offered as bonus tracks.
‘KINGS’ was the first in a series of ‘Inspirations’ that now bring the next disc in the series, titled ‘CHESS’ — a praiseful homage to the recordings released of the legendary Chicago-based label.
Chess Records was established in Chicago, 1950, founded by Polish born immigrants Leonard and Phil Chess, as a successor to Aristocrat Records, founded in 1947 with whom Muddy Waters made recorded his “Gypsy Woman” and “Little Anna Mae”.
The Chess label worked with Chuck Berry, Little Walter, Bo Diddley, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson and John Lee Hooker among many other names. The label also launched the careers of doo-woppers such as The Moonglows and The Flamingos.
The new album features ten tracks that were originally released by Chess artists. Bernie penned two instrumentals that appear as bonus tracks on the album.
Bernie’s ‘CHESS’ was recorded ‘the old way’ with a band of truly gifted musicians, including Alan Glen on blues harp, John Gordon on bass, Bob Haddrell on keys, Jim Russell on drums and, of course, Bernie himself on guitar and vox. They worked together in one room, over a handful of days. The result is a perceptive, unpretentious and an impeccably presented rediscovery of classic gems.
Little Walter’s “Just Your Fool” is a pacesetting canter with sparkling guitar, plucky vocals and scruffy rhythms that jaunt alongside the yawl of harmonica. This is a respectful rendition and keeps that sense of rightful benefit the original managed to evoke.
“Grits Ain’t Groceries” (Little Milton) is unashamed and slinky with a vivacious beat and effervescent musicianship.
“Fattening Frogs for Snakes” (Sonny Boy Williamson) is moody, muddy and gooey with syrupy guitar, guttural harp and grapey vocal. This oozes groovy gelatinous nostalgia. Terrific!
Words: @neilmach 2021 ©
1. Just Your Fool
2. Back In The USA
3. Grits Ain’t Groceries
4. I’m Ready
5. You Can’t Judge A Book
6. I Can’t Hold Out
7. Won’t Be Hanging Around
8. Fattening Frogs For Snakes
9. That’s Alright
10. Who’s Been Talking