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Issue 1090

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Review

Keith Thompson Band: Catch The Fire (Density Music)

Keith Thompson CD cover pic

7

6.1

Rate this Album

UK release date 16.09.2014

This is one of those albums that sneak up on you amid the mountains sat there ready for a listen and consideration for review, and says: âHey, donât forget me. I may not be a world famous band on a major label, but Iâm well worth your time.â Well that is certainly true here.

A very nice album, from a British band I have not heard of before. The two guests caught my eye; being US star Buddy Whittington, a former Bluesbreaker with John Mayall, and our own young guitar star of the future, the UKâs Laurence Jones.

Keith Thompson is no beginner on guitar, his playing every bit as classy as the two guest stars. His skills have graced the tracks and live performances of among many others; Ruby Turner, Geno Washington, Stevie Winwood, Spooky Tooth and Mike DâAbo. This is his eight solo album, and features able band mates Roy Adams and Neil Simpson from the Climax Blues band.

As a session player he may not have had the recognition he deserves, but this album may change that. His playing can be heard on countless soundtracks for movies, computer games and TV shows. A well known band on the European touring and festival circuit, âCatch The Fire,â is a solid calling card on these 16 tracks - all but one he wrote. The one cover, âLittle Wing,â one of Jimiâs most covered songs, but for me, not one of the best performances among the originals offered here.

Keith plays guitars, harmonica (very well too), keyboards and bass on the record, as well as lead vocals. Neil Simpson on bass, Roy Adams on drums, Buddy Whittington guitar on two tracks, âBurning The Playhouse Down,â and âGetting Ready For The Burn,â the latter track also features Laurence Jones on guitar. Patsy Gamble provides sax on âDonât Come Running To Me.â Robyn James, Jan Thompson and David Pick sing backing vocals and Frederico Bozas played bass, drums and keyboards on âSheâs Too Hot,â a song he also arranged. The album produced by Keith.

He knows how to nail a groove and deliver superb guitar playing across this album. But I do feel that 16 tracks makes it a bit of an uneven listen, some tracks work much better than others. Iâd have trimmed this to 10 or 11 for a stronger end result, personally. The vocal did lose my attention on a few tracks, but overall Keith does a good job vocally on some quite interesting stuff. Maybe the focus next time should be on one style and finding a particular niche sound, as the key to progress.

Thereâs definitely a bit of an obsession with fire and heat on these songs: Thereâs the title âCatch The Fire,â and the tracks âAngel Fire,â "Burning The Playhouse Down,â âSheâs Too Hot,â âGetting Ready For The Burn,â âSend Your Fire,â and âKeeper Of The Flame.â Plus the flaming guitar picture on the CD's front cover. Maybe keep the matches and lighter away from Keith and his mates then!

But seriously; here we do have a British blues band offering us a quality not often associated with self-released UK blues-rock albums, and a guitarist who should be heard.
Words SIMON REDLEY

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