|Dimensions||22 × 16 × .50 cm|
“John and Rick have performed individually on our stage, but tonight they are combining their talents and performing together. John is no stranger to our ‘open stage’ and has delighted us with his eclectic mix of blues, old time roots, and original song writing. He is a serious blues enthusiast who has traveled the Mississippi Delta and has met and played with legendary blues men at the Port Townsend Blues Heritage Festival. John’s musical performance embraces all the folk roots material. In the early days of the first Folk Revival in the late Fifties in England, his band was the opening act for Rambling Jack Elliott, Sonny Boy Williamson and many others, when the Skiffle craze was at its peak. Tonight John is joined by a ‘folk musician’s folk musician,’ Rick Van Krugel. Rick has performed locally with Bruce Brackney and with the Garden City Blowers, plus recorded work with Mandolirium and the Bodega Three. He has been playing the mandolin for over 35 years, having started with jug bands. Unique in his field as a ‘play by ear’ musician, a rare commodity in our technique obsessed popular culture, Rick draws on many years experience playing with some of the greats: Mississippi Fred MacDowell, John Hammond Jr. and Jim Byrnes.”
In these times when every artist past 30 has suddenly become a “roots” musician, it’s so refreshing to find the real commitment and inherent feel that only a seasoned traveller can deliver. On this disc the first thing you notice, apart from the incredible value of 18 tracks, is the eclectic yet unified nature that can bind blues, folk, country and early ragtime jazz. It’s fitting that there’s a fine Dylan cover too, “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”, for it’s a significant yet little appreciated fact that Dylan, like John, is an iconoclast, breaking the mold, graying the boundaries, and re-defining all that is poignant about American music. Apart from that you can’t beat a good foot-stomping guitar and mandolin blues! This disc has an abundance of great tracks with this instrumental blend, bringing to mind the pairings of Yank Rachell and the great Sleepy John Estes. I particularly love the version of Robert Johnson’s “When You’ve Got A Good Friend” and the regionally related “Canned Heat Blues” of Tommy Johnson. There are glimpses of delta blues, jug band stomp ala Gus Cannon and plenty more to whet you appetite. The instrumentation brings to mind the mixing of instruments and ideas that occurred somewhere, sometime, when mountain folk met the blues and gave rise, to amongst other sounds, bluegrass. All in all this is a wonderful set of songs and sentiments, delivered by a local champion of the cause and very fine guitarist and singer, John Hall played in sympathy with Canadian multi instrumentalist Rick Van Krugel. John is a regular on the local festival circuit and flying the flag in a variety of line-ups and textures. A great buy through Trad and Now.
Review by Nick Charles
18 in stock (can be backordered)