Monday, June 11, 2012

An Engaging Evening With Paul Jones and Dave Kelly

Members of the British group, The Blues Band, guitarist Dave Kelly and harmonica player Paul Jones, go unplugged for a live performance captured on a new DVD, An Evening With Paul Jones and Dave Kelly (SPV Blue). Jones, who was one-time member of the British group, Manfred Mann may be best known, but Kelly, brother of the great Jo-Ann Kelly had pretty strong credentials in playing blues. Given over four and a half decades experience by both, one isn’t surprised by how engaging they are not simply in their musical performances but their banter to the audience.

Songs range from adaptations of classic country blues like Charlie Patton’s Moon Going Down, to originals like Without You, which Paul Jones notes had an unusual musical structure but more importantly was a B side of a Manfred Mann single. Not all the performances are in a strict blues song form such as Velocity and Love, a spirited performance, but Kelly’s Mr. Estes Said is a strong original blues that incorporates some classic lines in this moving tribute to the late blues poet. Paul Jones does a moving interpretation of Blind Willie Johnson’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine, with his harp prominent and Kelly adding some spare guitar. There is nice use of split screen on this. A washboard player backs Kelly on a driving interpretation of Mississippi Fred McDowell’s Few Short Lines.

Paul Jones’ contributes his moving tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson, that was composed after Williamson’s passing. It segues into a lively Dust My Blues, modeled after one of Elmore James’ recordings. You’re Wrong, was a recent composition of Jones performed solo. It is followed by Kelly nicely handling Robert Johnson’s When You Got a Good Friend. Erskine Hawkins’ swing classic Tuxedo Junction, serves as a showcase for Jones’ skilled harmonica playing and exhibits the influence of Sonny Boy Williamson on his approach.

The two trade verses on a powerful rendition of Muddy Waters’ I Can’t Be Satisfied, and then this DVD closes with a relaxed pace with Kelly taking the lead vocal on Jimmy Reed’s Baby What You Want Me To Do. It is an amiable close to a very enjoyable concert DVD. This was recorded in 2004 and there is a second volume available, which on the basis of watching and listening to this, is worth checking out as well.

I was provided a review copy by a publicist. To whet your appetite, here are the two in recent performance.

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