British blues doyens doing what they do best – in force and in style.
This is so fundamentally wrong – you’re not supposed to be having fun with such a miserable music genre, are you? – that “Revived!” is a robust contender for the “Blues Album of the Year” gong. Mick Abrahams retired from playing live, following a stroke, but he hasn’t lost the stroke of unsung guitar genius which made him an imposing presence on the scene. Although the veteran is more remembered for his short stint with JETHRO TULL than for solid solo career or the jazz-tinged experiments with BLODWYN PIG, Mick chose the latter’s “Summer Day” to open and close, in an unhurriedly heavy way, the record that finds him in the company of peers and kindred spirits, who for the most part play standards – with much gusto.
The good-time feeling oozes out even of the non-merry songs, such as the slide-caressed “Goodnight Irene,” where Paul Jones blows a harp, or “On The Road Again,” where Mark Feltham’s harmonica wails, while Abraham’s busy trading licks with Elliott Randall. He is the main man’s sparring partner on many a cut, including the loose-but-tight “Elz. & Abys Jam” – laid down on Mick’s 65th birthday – but axe duties are generously shared here. Long past the rivalry, if there ever was one, Martin Barre, Abraham’s successor in TULL, joins in for the punchy “I Can Tell” which sees Feltham in a singer’s position, whereas Jones takes to the mic with Mick on “Bright Lights Big City” that gains weight thanks to Bernie Marsden‘s twang and Jim Rodford’s rumble.
This side of the blues, Geoff Whitehorn lays it on the host-drawn line in instrumental “Red River Rock,” and there’s an irresistible pull to Leiber and Stoller evergreens “What About Us” and “Poison Ivy” which Bill Wyman’s bass anchors at the bottom and Beverley Skeete’s voice delivers at the top. The result lives up to the album’s title, with a revitalizing sensation, and, given that 50% of royalties made from this record sales go to “Kids ‘n’ Cancer” charity, it’s a glorious proof of the British blues vitality.