The 251s' 'Bout Time! album review by Steve Yourglivch, of Blues Matters Magazine. April / May 2022.
The 251s Band & Album Review 'Bout Time!
by Steve Morphew, Blues In Britain.
Buy The 251s 'Bout Time!
'Bout Time! Album review by
Messing with the Kidd radio show presenter Jack Kidd
New Album 'Bout Time!
Jan 2022 review by BluesBlues.co.uk
Bringing their influences from Blues, Jazz and Swing, the 251s have a gentle approach to their business and it comes across in spades on their new album, ‘Bout Time.
Opening with Walking With Thaddeus, a harp infused, strolling jazzy Blues, they take us through their smooth delivery which is sometimes lounge music, sometimes dance floor. One Mint Julep is another smooth Swing/Jazz/Blues offering. The vocals could be stronger but that’s a small criticism. They are obviously a very tight unit with their many years of experience shining through. Maybe if they had played this slightly faster it would’ve produced a completely different result. The famous Jimmy Reed song, Ain’t That Loving You Baby, fits perfectly into their Swing/Jazz/Blues ethos. Wailing harp from Steve Tolton and his lungs of steel competes with Russ Cottee’s guitar in the mix and the vocals, with added grit, are better. Jacqueline, like others on offer, is full of 60s Beat and Blues revival themes. Tolton’s harmonica has a European (French) feel to it and Cottee’s guitar is Jazz fuelled. Cliff Macdonald on bass gets more of a say in matters too. They switch lead vocalists often with all four contributing at some point and this gives an air of expectation when each track begins. Next up is the shuffling Blues of Fake News and you can guess what this one is about. Harp and guitar play off each other very well and all it needs is a bit more body to it and it would be there. Saxophone (Graham West) is introduced for the classic Stormy Weather and a very good version it is too. Smooth vocals fitting the song exactly with West’s sax and Cottee’s punchy guitar bringing us what is likely to be a crowd pleaser.
Too Late is another with a 60s feel and I feel that Georgie Fame must be an influence somewhere. It’s got a good pace to it and is one of the best tracks on offer. They seem to have found a groove in the velvety, jazzy material like Exactly Like You and it won’t be everybody’s thing, sometimes coming across like a pub band that’s been let loose. However, we are back on form with one of the best self-penned tracks, She’s So Complicated. A shuffling syncopated Blues it gives us sharp guitar and rattling drums (Roy Webber) but is very clean for the Blues though. One thing I have to say is that harmonica player, Tolton, deserves credit throughout this and the rest of the album. She’s Gone (Long Gone) is another shuffling Blues with added moderate paced Swing. There’s nothing wrong with it but it might just not get you going. There’s more of the same on You Can’t Go Wrong and this softly voiced track is one for the late-night session. Payphone Down The Hall is a bit more striding than the others. A swinging Blues, it’s not an in-your-face style of music. Rolling piano from Josh Emdon confirms that it’s all from a gentler time but one thing is for sure, it’s very good. The closing track, Parkinson Theme, will be very familiar to those of us of a certain age. Jazz of the swinging variety as guitar and harmonica take us out to the end of the album. Shows what a good piece of music he had for his TV show theme music and they certainly do it justice.
The 251s bring their experience and influences from Blues Jazz and Swing; Jazz and Swing win out on this occasion.
Our thanks go to BluesBlues.co.uk for their review.
See more from bluesblues.co.uk here.
The 251s on your Radio...
Excited to announce that Cerys Matthews played a track from our recent album “Staying Home” on her BBC Radio 2 Blues Show Monday 12th April.
Thank you Cerys!