Sunday, 26 October 2008

Review - Mike Whellans - Fired Up And Ready

Mike Whellans - Fired Up And Ready

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9 out of 10

You don't instantly associate Scotland with blues, most people wouldn't associate anything other than Muddy Waters and B.B. King playing a 12 Bar standard with blues. To those people I say sit down and listen, because you're about to get a lesson in great music.

From the outset this is an album from the heart, about the only real thing that matters (and often makes) on a great blues record or track. Sure, there's a selection of covers from Rory Gallager, Sleepy John and John Lee Hooker but they're all tracks that evidently, from the emotion in the vocals and the effort applied in playing, mean a lot to Mike and speak to him. This isn't a covers album by any stretch though; Mikes own compositions and arrangements stand up strong on their own two feet, the steady mix of piano, guitar, occasional banjo, harmonica and bass working fantastically as ever.

I couldn't give a favorite track on here, they're all excellent, but as you would expect there are the solo/jam breakouts. "Early In The Morning" has a great piano workout toward the end, the wandering of the instruments on "Diving Duck Blues" sounds fantastic with the harmonica breakout raising the bar even higher. The next step up from this would be a live experience, and with two live bonus tracks it's the closest you'll get on record.

All in all it's a great release from the one man blues powerhouse, well worth that tenner that's burning a hole in your pocket.


1. Fired Up And Ready
2. The Boogie Man
3. Going To My Home Town
4. I Want To Hug You
5. Danger Man 2
6. Early In The Morning
7. Winding Track
8. Diving Duck Blues
9. Red Hot Kisses
10. Lonesome Road
11. Worried Mind
12. Nobodies Fault But Mine/Jack O'Diamond
13. Pinetop Moon/Sandy Cameron
14. Ragtime Joe (Live)
15. Strange Love (Live)

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