Howlin' Bill (BELGIUM)
Live At Ancienne Belgique
©Naked Productions 2009
Belgium is known for a number of blues bands - really knowing their rhythm & roots. Naked Productions
is the local record label where you can find some of the best. After a decade of
performing and several studio albums and singles it was about time to release a live CD of Howlin' Bill
( vocals & harmonica ) and his band ( His Blues Circus) - being the fine musicians Little Jimmy (replacement of Little Chris) on guitars, Magic Frank on drums and Walkin' Winne on bass.
Those who saw the Howlin' Bill band perform live at festivals or venues know how much drive and energy is
being thrown in by the men. The band is really able to play the ceiling down. Nobody will say that Howlin' Bill
is the best singer on earth, but this singing in combination with his blowing the harp is so characteristic - it's
giving the band a real identity. This identity is captured very well on the recordings made in the Ancienne Belgique Club in Brussels. Play it as loud as possible to experience the feeling and play all 16 tracks in one run: enjoy catchy songs, funny lyrics and a musical travel in time.
The album contains three covers recorded for the first time: ' Next time ' (The Radio kings), ' Devil And The Deep Blue Sea ' ( Holland K Smith) and ' Don't You Know ' (Omar Kent Dykes). Also a new composition ' Six Feet Five ' co-written by the new guitarist Little Jimmy. The other tracks are originals composed by
Howlin' Bill or Little Chris with influences of Blues, Rock & Roll, Boogie Jive, Rockabilly, Surf, Rhythm, Bluesrock. Not so strange if you look at their influences: Fabulous Thunderbirds, Straycats, Paladins, SRV, etc.
The studio recordings of five originals can be found on the CD Strike (2006) and another four on Cool It! (2004) If I compare between the studio version of the well known song ' Gone To Soon ' (from Cool It !) and the new live version, the latter is musically far superior. And there are more examples of this progress to be found. At the same time I realised that the live recordings are made in a larger venue, they are a bit spatial, while the studio recordings have a direct and more smokey sound. Can't have it all, can we ? .... Oh yes, you can - by visiting a live performance of Howlin' Bill - like I did myself some time ago !
review May 4th 2009 / Blue Ears magazine