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ALEXIS KORNER BREAKDOWN GROUP (FEATURING CYRIL DAVIES)

BLUES FROM THE ROUNDHOUSE

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GVC (GVC1005)

BREAKDOWN GROUP: Leaving Blues, Rotten Break, Alberta, Roundhouse Stomp, Skip To My Lou, Good Morning, Boll Weevil, Ella Speed, Streamline Train. SKIFFLE GROUP: Ain't Gonna Worry No More, County Jail, Kid Man, Easy Rider. BLUES INCORPORATED: Sail On, National Defence, Go Down Sunshine, Death Letter. CYRIL DAVIES: KC Moan. KEN COLYER'S SKIFFLE GROUP: KC Moan, Casey Jones, Midnight Special, Take This Hammer, Down By The Riverside.

This is truly historic stuff. In 1956, after playing a couple of years in various skiffle groups, Korner and Davis decided it was time to get serious so they formed what was undoubtedly Britain's first blues band!

We all know about Alexis Korner's blues lineage but this CD is particularly welcome because it presents for the first time (as far as I know) a full album covering Davies' music. He played music for a shockingly short time (he died from leukaemia in 1964 at the age of 31) but he rapidly gained a reputation not only as a worthy singer and 12 string guitar player but a legendary blues harp player too.

The early tracks made by the Breakdown Group and Skiffle group come from the repertoires of Leadbelly, Sonny & Brownie and the like but by the time the groups had metamorphosed into the first of the Blues Incorporated bands, they'd dug deep and were stretching out toward the Chicago sound of Muddy Waters and the intense Mississippi blues of Son House, giving Davies plenty of opportunity to develop his harmonica licks.

As well as the nine tunes from the Breakdown Group, this CD features four tracks by the Alexis Korner Group, and a further four from Blues Incorporated. Then there are 12 bonus tracks from Ken Colyer's Skiffle Group and Beryl Bryden's Backroom Skiffle with Korner and Davies as sidemen and an ultra rare Cyril Davies track. That's 29 cuts and almost 80 minutes from the staggeringly rare 77 Records ten-inch LP ‘Blues From The Roundhouse', all the songs from the two Tempo EPs also confusedly titled ‘Blues from The Roundhouse', plus unissued and issued material from various LPs, EPs and 45s.

If British Blues is your bag - this one's a must!

 

Review Date: July 2009

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