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Back Door Slam - Special EP

By Rob Paullin

You’ve been reading a lot recently about Back Door Slam, here in Blues Blast and elsewhere, so we won’t repeat much of what you already know, except to note the basics:  This new, young UK-based blues-rock band consisting of vocalist-guitarist Davy Knowles, Bassist Adam Jones and drummer Ross Doyle, is currently on tour in the USA…and they’re on fire!!  Now they have a new five-song release, available only on the internet. (Available on iTunes and includes a performance video of the band.)

This Special EP, apparently without a specific title, is five covers of hidden gems by groups generally recognized by USA blues fans as being traditional blues acts.  Back Door Slam cites well-known European acts like Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and John Mayall as influences, giving rise to a sound that I would describe as heavy blues or hard blues.   That this sound is not necessarily traditional blues to us USA blues fans does not demean at all:  If you like blues rock, you’ll love Back Door Slam and this new disk.  If you like traditional blues, consider this a learning experience—an expansion of your mind, as Jimi Hendrix might say.

Here’s what we found:

Cut one, a cover of the Robert Cray song “Back Door Slam” that was the band’s namesake song.   It displays how effectively bass and drums can compliment strong vocals and double-tracked guitar work.   Next is “Riding With the King,”  a John Hiatt tune that show-cases Knowles’ vocal range as he accompanies himself on a combination of soaring lead guitar action and solid backing guitar work. 

“Been Down So Long,” a Doors cover, recognizes what almost all European blues fans realize—and many USA blues fans routinely overlook—the Doors were—at their heart--a blues band.

Back Door Slam goes live with “Red House,” a Hendrix cover that is the bluesiest song on the disk, and plays solid homage to the psychedelic blues master.  You can almost sense when the guitar is about to erupt into flames.  Can you not help but wonder if Knowles humped his amp….

The EP concludes with some heavy blues guitar action on “Outside Woman Blues,” a lyrically simplistic Blind Joe Reynolds cover that none-the-less manages to tell a strong story about protecting one’s “property.”

Back Door Slam is making their mark on the USA, with appearances on ABC and CBS, and at some major venues, touring with the likes of non-traditional blues acts like Kid Rock and Lynyard Skynard.  Are they traditional?  No.  Are they contemporary Blues with a rock edge? Yes! Are they great?  Absolutely!  Two Okells up for their new Special EP!

EDITORS NOTE: While this release is only available for purchase on iTunes via the internet it is worth noting that there are thousands of hard copy CD versions of this EP that have been given away at Blues festivals this summer by Elmore Magazine! The copy used for this review was obtained as a free promotional give away at the Widnsor , Ontario, Bluesfest International.

To purchase this EP now, CLICK HERE

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