Woot I got the text.
LIVING BLUES #252; Vol. 48, #6 - December 2017... pp. 55/56.
FOREDAY RIDERS Herding Cats FDR2015
STORMCELLAR Kansas City Gold SC1601
Blues music, as we all know by now, is an international thing, with performers active all over the place, even Australia, where I live now. In the Sydney area, two groups have recently released CDs with additional guest personnel. Foreday Riders is one of the longest-lived bands around (since 1967!) and has become sort a “blues college” with many good musicians having graduated from their ranks. Stormcellar are a more recently gathered group, lead by Mike Barry, who seem to be quite busy in the US playing gigs and festivals, meeting and playing with locals… in this case, Kansas City, MO.
Blues music has cropped up in many parts of the world over time, as we all know. It has had a decent historical run beginning probably with visits by Brownie & Sonny and continuing on with various sorts of acoustic and electric blues by the locals. Not too many traveled the other way to its home country – Dave Hole on Alligator is one that comes to mind before the days of the annual Memphis “do”. Some have had the usual half-life, while others have lasted well. The Foreday Riders is one such aggregation.
Beginning in 1967, two brothers – one a guitarist, the other a harp player/singer - formed a band that sort of played their record collection, a common modus operandi of beginners. [For a good biography of all the folks who peopled the group over the decades since then (a veritable serious all-star batch of high quality musicians of all sorts) see: http://www.foredayriders.com/Bio.htmlreflected .] Added to the basic Riders four piece of leaders Ron and Jeff King (hca/vo, gtrs) are former members [and a ringer] who could be rounded up (ergo the title!). There is here the core band of the brothers, plus Stan Mobbs on bass guitar, Rosscoe Clark on drums, and alum Shane Pacey on guitar. They are as tight as a crab’s arse, and that’s waterproof! Bruce Bongers is added on baritone sax, Pinecone Packer on piano, Jill Tweedie on vocals (once the original singer with the band), and Al Britton on bass guitar. Despite the chaotic title of the CD, they seem to be quite locked in musically with each other – rhythmically subtle and swinging, songs of worth and decent vocals. Recommended as a slice of what’s been and is in the blues world down under! They are currently celebrating their half century in the business… and surviving! Most Sydney area bluesos “studied” and blossomed under the King brothers aegis.
The other band reviewed here consists of younger Sydney locals recorded with folks from KC added during their US tours. The main band are: Michael Barry (vo/hca), Paul Read, Michael Rosenthal (gtrs), Bill Williams (bs gtr), Theo Wanders (dms), and Jo Fitzgerald on added vocals. They toured in Oz with D.C. Bellamy, one of the extras here last year. These addenda include Bellamy, Danny Cox, Joseph Cox (vo), Millage Gilbert (vo/gtr), Max Groove (keys), Bob Simmons (gtr), and Ron Teamer (vo/gtr). There is a harder edge to the band compared to The Riders, but the genre is not damaged one iota! It’s successfully right in the pocket throughout.
Their original material is well within the range, with some political stances taken (“We the People”, “Chalk Angels”) – the few covers appropriately chosen and played. With all the visiting firemen taking part, there is much variety in the singing; the production is clear and clean as well. Not a debut, but a paving stone in the pathway of a good band as they find their “voice” in this music. The blues takes many forms… this is just one or two of them! Good stuff.
PETER B. LOWRY