Saturday, October 03, 2015

Hans Theessink & Terry Evans - True & Blue

While not previously aware of the collaboration between the Dutch blues-roots veteran Hans Thessink and the Mississippi born gospel-rooted vocalist Terry Evans, the new release by the two “True & Blue” (Blue Groove) is a live recording from the Metropol in Vienna, Austria that certainly will be of interest to fans of the pair in a blues-anchored roots music program.
Included are covers of songs associated with such legends as Memphis Slim, J.B. Lenoir, Chuck Berry, Leadbelly, Wilson Pickett and Robert Johnson with original songs from Thessink. 

The blend of Theessink’s baritone and Evans’ gospel-rooted tenor (with falsetto) and the interplay between their guitars is full of charm that infuses the performances starting with a spirited folk-blues original “Demons,” followed by a rendition of “Mother Earth” where one can hear Robert Johnson’s influence on Theessink’s guitar accompaniment for his vocal as Evans adds embellishments. Evans takes the vocal lead on the standard ”Glory of Love,“ which is based on Big Bill Broonzy’s rendition with wonderful fingerstyle guitar as the two trade leads and Evans scats. 

Evans wrote “Gotta Keep Moving” with Bobby King and Ry Cooder, and features some clean, crisp slide along with some fine singing. Theessink adds some rack harmonica on the lively rendition of Leadbelly’s “Bourgeois Blues,” which is followed by a folk-funk rendition of Wilson Pickett’s ”Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You.“ 
The two cover of Robert Johnson’s ”Cross Road Blues“ with a hot interpretation inspired from the original and not the rock rendition by Cream. They do a lively cover of Chuck Berry’s ”Maybelline," with lively slide guitar and  country finger-picking. Another standout track is the boogie rendition of J.B. Lenoir’s “Talk To Your Daughter.” “Shelter From the Storm” is an appealing folk-ballad that Theessink’s laconic baritone provides some of its appeal. 

True & Blue” appeals with the obvious empathy Theessink and Evans have for each other, which is manifested through this most enjoyable live recording.

 I received my review copy from a publicist. The review appeared in the July-August Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 361) and I have made a few minor edits.  Here are the two in concert performing "Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You.“

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