On-stage adventures of Stockport Cannonball’s band who break it down to tear it up.
One of the least celebrated movers on the U.K. blues scene, over the last four decades Norman Beaker has played with the best of ’em, including Alexis Korner and Graham Bond, and had B.B. King compare him to Freddie King, which speaks volumes of the Englishman’s mighty twang. His studio output might be limited, but in concert this sound resonates mightily, especially with Beaker’s usual band slimmed down to a trio which makes every lick matter. Increasing the emotional heft of “Tough On Me, Tough On You” or “Born Under A Bad Sign” – where John Price’s bass reigns supreme for more than 200 chthonic seconds, including a Pink Panther crawl – and making the performance tight, there’s a breathing space between the notes of classic pieces, yet Norman’s originals display a livelier disposition.
His juicy-toned guitar is stinging on “When The Fat Lady Sings” and “Break It Down” – the blues should carry worry after all – but, shedding the years, the veteran launches into “Only I Got What The Other Guys Want” with envious vigor. As Steve Gibson’s backbeat propels the infectious boogie towards delight for the wah-wah’s of “I Can’t Be Satisfied” to stress the trio’s initial message, gleeful filigree also fills the funky “Talk To Me” before Beaker’s vibrant acoustic arrangement of Peter Green’s “Love Her Like The Sky” starts a heartfelt race. Brought to a halt by “Tale Of Blue City,” it’s a vivacious jaunt down the blue brick road. Time to celebrate the move.