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33 Records (33WM153)

For Richer, For Poorer, Five Won’t Getcha Ten, Wasted, Cadillac Shake, I Ain’t Gonna Miss Ya, In The Night, Left-Handed Woman, Flatfoot Sam, One Step Forward, The Secret Of My Success, Stalkin’ Blues, Everybody’s Out, No Good Woman, Soleil De La Louisiane

A new album, and possibly the best yet, from the highly popular and durable British blues and roots band, now celebrating their fifteenth anniversary as a touring and recording outfit.

With another tweak in personnel (only frontman and chief songwriter, Mike Thomas survives from the band’s first incarnation) the musical palette has broadened somewhat for this album. Moving seamlessly and effortlessly through West Coast guitar-led swing, Louisiana swamp pop and Cajun, tough Chicago blues, plus nods along the way to rhythms normally associated with Jimmy Reed and Bo Diddley, these 14 tracks are delivered with a panache and ambition that is hard to resist. The standard of musicianship is exemplary throughout and all members get the chance to shine, both individually and as a tight unit.

Perhaps however it is the quality of the song-writing from Mike Thomas that helps the Cadillac Kings stand out from the crowd. Of the 14 tracks on this album, ten are originals and each of these is interesting, literate and (often) quite witty. This is very much in evidence from the ‘get-go’ as the opening For Richer, For Poorer, a T-Bone Walker-style rocker, contains a series of sour marital put-downs that keep me smiling long-after the track has finished. As do the lyrics on the title track of the album, musically and lyrically sort of a UK equivalent of Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, one of the finest US blues acts currently on the Alligator Records label.

Of the cover versions, Professor Longhair’s In The Night offers up an excellent showcase for the band to shine, especially Tim Penn’s rolling piano. On TV Slim’s Flatfoot Sam, the piano is again prominent but has to share the spotlight with Mal Barclay’s impressively fluid guitar soloing.

For anyone with a joint interest in hot, rockin’ R&B and having a thoroughly good time, this CD is heartily recommended.

Review Date: August 2016

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