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Issue 1089

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Review

The Steve Summers Band: Lookinâ Back, Movinâ On (Casket Records)

Steve Summers Band CD

7

6.2

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UK release date 27.08.2012

UK chaps The Steve Summers Band are a new name to me. They reside at the British end of the '70s, and the rockier side: Cream, Zep, Deep Purple, Clapton etc.

Their debut CD âLookinâ Back, Movinâ On,â does what it says on the tin really. A foot in yesterday, while being part of the current interest in the blues-rock genre. They definitely live up to the word power, in power trio. The album has its positives and its negatives. The lead guitar playing is up there with the best of âem for this style. The band are tight and solid. The material is patchy though, some songs much stronger than others. The vocals failed to hold my attention as much as the guitar playing. Sometimes suffering from lack of the same levels of aggression and bite as the music tracks. But on the right songs, it works.

Four originals from Summers, covers of some we know well, some we donât, within the 11 tracks.Production a little uneven; where the lead guitar sits in the bed of the track, sometimes too low in the mix. With a player as competent as Steve, you wanna hear him. The vocals would have benefited from attention in the mix, to thicken them up too.

The title track opens, penned by lead singer and guitarist Steve Summers and drummer Scott Hunter. It is tight. It is powerful. Tasty guitar work. The Sonny Boy Williamson cover, " Your Funeral And My Trial,â which the album credits without the âandâ in the title, was covered by Joe Bonamassa and perhaps this band went for his rockier version, instead of the late great blues legend Sonny Boyâs bluesy original. The bass from Trevor Brooks and Hunterâs drums are locked in well. Steve Summers delivering some fine wah wah guitar licks. An apt song title perhaps; for a record on a label whose name is another way of saying coffin!

âLittle Miss Blue,â another Summers original, calms things down with a rootsy, Southern blues tinged groove. A nice warm tone on guitar. The five minutes and six seconds of âLovebound,â written by Steve, didnât float my boat as much as some of the other tracks. They cover the great Kevin Mooreâs âDangerous Mood,â and about now you are wondering who the heck Kev Moore is, eh? That's Keb Mo to you. A brave choice of cover and musically given a fairly decent treatment here to be honest, in a Peter Green slow blues kind of way. Guest Craig Broadfoot on keys for this track, Steve Summers adding brush strokes of keyboards on other tracks.

Robin Trowerâs âToo Rolling Stoned,âfeatures some impressive extended solo guitar work. The gentle blues of âAm I Losing You,â the superb Earl and Ernie Cate song, a staple of my old friend Sherman Robertsonâs live set, and covered by Coco Montoya among others, gets a Gary Moore vibe here. An instrumental treatment of almost six minutes, and a very nice job - highlight of the album for me.

The bar room blues of âI Saw The Light,â a Summers song, precedes Purpleâs âMaybe Iâm A Leo,â and then the dusty old blues standard âHoochie Coochie Man,â which I bet crops up at least half a dozen times at most UK blues festivals these days. The Willie Dixon classic, or was it? Dixon was known to stick his name onto the writerâs credits of almost anything he was involved in, no matter who actually wrote it! You can ask Buddy Guy about that one!!!

The 51.09 offering ends with âA New Day Yesterday,â penned by Tullâs Ian Anderson and covered by Bonamassa. A mid tempo tune that does the job adequately as the closer.
Words SIMON REDLEY

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