For over 50 years Dave Thomas has been on the frontline of blues music. On One More Mile, he presents some of the best of those years.
Release date: out now
Label: Blonde On Blonde Direct Music
Format: CD / DL
I started listening to this album in the car on the way to work early in the morning so the volume was quite low. The opening track a brassy Chicago blues number with a distinctive Hammond organ has instant appeal, so the volume was slightly increased. This led to another track: a typical Bluesbreaker- style song. Interest grew as did the volume.
The title track One More Mile To Go reflects my feeling that I wanted my journey to be longer so I could continue listening. The blues-harp mixed in with the subtle guitar licks is a welcome addition.
Again, and never far away, is that sublime Hammond organ that was a signature sound of many a Brit blues sound and warmed many a tune. Track by track the volume rose until a welcome interlude into the power blues numbers comes with a trio of songs.
Sung with sensitivity are the more melancholic I Want The Blues, You Danced In My Kitchen and There’s A Train. After this respite, the dynamics abruptly increased again when the Groundhogs covers began, visiting my all-time favourite Groundhogs album Thank Christ For The Bomb. First Garden, then Eccentric Man and finally Strange Town. All three have stunning guitar solos and strong vocals paying glorious tribute to Tony McPhee’s original. By the time the final track was played the speakers were at full blast not only completing a fabulous journey through the British Blues Scene of the late ’60s but also my journey to work.
Mile by mile, they made my busy journey more endurable but track by track it took me back to those marvellous times when I was introduced to the blues. It was as though my car had become a time capsule as I was returned to those Bluesology sessions on Saturday afternoons at the Octagon Theatre and to those evenings strolling round to my mates with John Mayall’s Looking Back album tucked under my arm. That’s precisely what this album was…. looking back.
Dave Thomas guitar styles varied from the deserved comparison to BB King’s subtle jazzy runs to the heavy powerful licks akin to Tony Mc Phee. There are three distinct styles that provide snippets of Dave Thomas’s 50 odd years with the blues. The first with Cleveland Blues musicians of high pedigree, the second recorded in Ireland with multi-instrumentalist Declan Sinnot and written by Tony Henderson and finally collaborating with Groundghogs’ stalwarts.
Knowing that this Lockdown provoked album is the first of a trilogy of albums planned by Dave Thomas I await with anticipation for the next two. Sadly there are no more work days left this week but there any 15 more work days before a merry Christmas when I have the opportunity to enter my blues time capsule!
Listen to a bit of Dave Thomas: