Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1088

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Review

Mick Simpson: Unfinished Business (Mad Ears Productions)

Mick Simpson CD cover pic

7

6.1

Rate this Album

UK release date 16.06.2014

This guy knows his way around a guitar, thatâs for sure. A very fine British player with a great tone and refreshingly; knowing that what you DONâT play is just as important as what you do. A good album.

The vocal works OK, which is quite often the area that lets down a good axe man (or woman), but here he has handle on the vox and the chops.

In the late 1980s, Mick worked as a session man and was spotted by Elaine Bookbinder, or Elkie Brooks as we know her, to tour in her band. In the 90s, Mick worked with âSt Elmoâs Fire,â hit maker John Parr, on his album âMan With A Vision.â

Mick has had success as a songwriter too, in 2004 his song âA Fatherâs Son,â won the International Songwritersâ Award, sponsored by the Brits Trust. In 2005 he guested at the 80th birthday celebrations for BB King in New York. BB quoted on Mickâs website as saying Mick was one of the most âpassionateâ players he had heard.

Mick has played alongside heroes such as Gary Moore and Snowy White, and in 2010 he released his debut album, âHard Road,â which won airplay on Paul Jonesâ BBC Radio 2 blues show, and was play-listed on a US station. The album track, âSometimes I Get So Lonely,â was nominated for best original song at the 2011 British Blues Awards.

The new record features 14 tracks of soaring blues guitar, driving rock-blues and melodic country blues. Influenced by the likes of Gary Moore, SRV, Clapton, Robert Johnson, BB King and Mark Knopfler, you can hear those influences shine through across this pleasing album. But, Mick has his own style too and is a player to be admired for his skills.

He wrote nine of the 14, and Andy Littlewood wrote the rest (a co-write with Michael John McElligot on one.) It all fits Mick well and is an even listen. At times for me, it is a bit too close to Gary Mooreâs stuff, but he can carry it off as a tasty player.

The players are: Mick on lead vocals, guitars, mandolin and banjo. Andy Littlewood on keys, bass and backing vocals. Alan Young on drums and percussion. Dave Hunt on harmonica. MJ McElligot on acoustic guitar. Gill Hunter on electric piano and Steve Gillies on bass.

The album was produced by Andy Littlewood who did an admirable job. If you are a guitar nerd, you are gonna want to grab this, study every lick and nuance and then probably ask Mick what gear he used, and if he had the amp on number 11 and used Dobley!
Words SIMON REDLEY

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