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Snowy White Blues Project – In Our Time – Live

CBH Records (Distributed by Cadiz Music) 2010

15 tracks, 73.21 minutes

Snowy White may not be a name that is well known to readers of Blues Blast, but you will recognise the nemaes of some of the people he has played with: Peter Green, Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd and Roger Waters. His discography is very extensive and he has even had a chart single – “Bird Of Paradise” which was reprised by KLM airline for a promotional advertisement in the 1990’s. However, he has not had a North American release for over 10 years until this CD. Snowy is in fact touring the USA in late 2010 with Roger Waters performing “The Wall” live.

This live CD was recorded in Holland in early 2010 and revisits most of the studio album released in 2009 by the same band – Snowy White and Matt Taylor on guitar and vocals, Roy Martin on drums. Snowy wrote five of the tracks, Ruud and Matt two each and there are six covers, including Ledbelly, Peter Green, Skip James and Sonny Terry/Brownie McGee.

The sound is good for a live recording. Some of the material is, however, undistinguished. “Red Wine Blues” for example takes its title from the author feeling sad while drinking…red wine – not the most original lyric. The playing is fine though the addition of some keyboards would have made for a fuller sound. On occasions the two guitarists go for a duel guitar approach which reminds one of the Allman Brothers. Unfortunately one of the tracks where this is tried is Freddie King’s “Woman Across The River” and the result does not compare favourably against Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes on the “Hittin’ The Note” release.

“Simple” is a serious song about fighting poverty and is well sung by Ruud with good guitar work from both players. The longest tune is the title track, written by Matt Taylor, which clocks in at over 8 minutes. It is a classic slow blues with composer Matt Taylor featured on a long solo which is a little discordant for my taste, followed by some dual guitar playing that leads us into Snowy’s solo.

“Rolling With My Baby” works well, an upbeat song with twin guitar again featured, but this time to better effect. It’s a catchy song which is a good contrast with some of the more sombre material on the CD.

The two Peter Green covers are rather disappointing. Perhaps it is because “Long Grey Mare” is so frequently covered by bands (at least here in the UK!) that I found this version pedestrian. The vocals were not strong enough to convey the sexual analogy of the lyric and the band seemed to be struggling to get the rhythm right. “World Keep On Turning” is the concert encore and rather a strange choice, as it is one of those slow, moody pieces that Peter Green wrote so well in his prime with Fleetwood Mac, whereas most bands keep a good rocker back for the encore.

There is an acoustic interlude at tracks 10/11 of Skip James’ “I’m So Glad”, famously covered by Cream, and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee’s “Walk On”. Resonator slide guitar features on “I’m So Glad”, underpinning the familiar refrain. “Walk On” starts well but suffers from one of the downsides of a live recording – audience participation! The attempt to get the audience to sing along might be fine in the concert hall but falls flat when listening at home.

Overall, a patchy album, with some good moments but also some low points. Perhaps a shorter, more edited version might have worked better. Given the competition, it is hard to see this CD breaking into the US market, particularly if the band is not touring to promote it there.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He recently attended the Blues Blast Awards in Chicago and had a great time! Back in the USA for the January 2011 Blues Cruise!

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