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BB and the Blues Shacks - London Days

Crosscut Records

15 tracks/52:23

Wow! I did not know what to expect here. The CD cover was artistic and retro. The band was plugged as one of Europe’s leading blues and roots bands. So I popped the CD in and what I got was a great soul blues album featuring a very fine singer and a tight band accompanying him.

Michael Arlt fronts the band and plays harp. His vocals are a beautiful and wonderful thing, giving the listener a smooth and mellow sound to savor and enjoy. His brother Andreas plays an understated and skillful guitar. Dennis Koeckstadt on piano, Henning Hauerken on bass and Bernhard Egger on drums and a few others on horns here and there round out this nice little band who play a flowing and mellow soul blues that I fell in love with. They have a jumping and swinging late-‘50’s early-‘60’s proto rock sort of sound. Whether it be slow blues, jump, swing, rocking or whatever, I was impressed with these guys.

Arlt’s vocals are authentic and smooth when he needs them to be and gutsy and down home when he wants them to be. He also wrote 14 of the 15 songs. My favorite has to be “It Hurts So Good”, a bopping, jumping and swinging track with super vocals. He shows off his equally good harp work on songs like “My Baby’ Alright”. Brother Andreas guitar and Koeckstadt on piano also showcase themselves as they off solos throughout, and Raphael Wressnig on B3 on all but two tracks also gives them some great depth of sound in addition to his solos. The horn section of Martin Winnig and Matt Holland (who also did the arrangements) are also quite good; the band’s sound is not big and overdone. I was very impressed. The final bonus track “Autumn Sunset” is a jazzy number showing off a different side of the band and they sound equally good in this style.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the CD. Lots of soul, blues and rocking good fun on this seventh CD by the BB’s. This band has little exposure here in the States but once anyone hears them they will be hooked!!

Reviewer Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

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