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Big George Brock & The Houserockers - Club Caravan (Cat Head)
Reviewed by Ricardo, Nov 2005


How fantastic it is that records like this are still being made. That there are people in the world capable of so doing seems amazing as I sit here after a hard week in modern London. Of course, Big George has been doing this sort of thing all his life and presumably he'd find rush-hour on the Northern Line pretty extraordinary. Different lives, same blues...

Anyway, here's a recording from 2005 that reaches straight back to all those fantastic records of the fifties in a way that decades worth of pale imitators can only dream of. Big George and the Houserockers are indeed 'The Real Deal', but not in the museum-piece-reverential sense. They're real because they're playing it straight as it comes to them and not attempting to re-create some mythical past.

The sleeve tells us 'He's been playing hard hitting 'Delta-Went-North' style blues for over 50 years' and on this record it's possible to feel all that history, yet at the same time this sounds fresh and immediate and as if it's really about the real right-now lives of the people playing it.

Charlotte Wyatt

Big George's big, deep, powerful voice and unflashy yet right on the money harp blowing are backed up perfectly by a band of outstanding players. Riley Coatie (Snr.) on guitar is a revelation, and the rest of the band is made up of his kids, all steeped in the classic old style blues and all playing with extraordinary verve and commitment. They play spare, raw, direct and (that word again) real, in a way that connects directly to the soul of the blues.

It's been captured brilliantly on this CD too - recorded 'live' in one three and half hour session in Jimbo Mathus' Delta recording studio in Clarksdale Mississippi, using Mathus' 'Future Primitive' approach - everyone in one small room and no overdubs or computer trickery. The result is a record that's stripped right down to the bare, essential, essentials and which proves that the heart wins out over the head every time.

This is a record that's been built on feel and vibes and groove and soul and sincerity. It's a record that remembers the past yet feels alive, completely well, and right up to date. It's beautiful and life affirming and reminds you what it was you loved about the blues in the first place. Outstanding.

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