‘She’s Ready’ Katie Bradley Band – CD Available from http://www.katiebradleyblues.com
Review By Nigel Foster
The debut album by British Blues Award Nominee Katie is a superb collection of songs that come together to form a superb album that is drenched in the wonderful genre that is The Blues.
One look at the track listing tells you Katie and her band mates have the Blues in their DNA. Willie Dixon, Albert Collins, BB King, Big Mama Thornton and Etta James standards feature alongside two wonderful original compositions. Throughout the eight tracks the band put their own contemporary stamp on every song, resulting in an uplifting aural experience.
“Constant throughout the whole album is Katie Bradley’s wonderfully velvet rich, melodic and emotional voice. Katie’s voice spans the range from deep tones through to soaring highs and her phrasing is pitch perfect. And when she grabs a Blues Harp it is just as expressive as her voice. In Dudley Ross, Katie has one of the most gifted Blues guitarists on the circuit right now. His playing is sublime, expressing a crystal clear tone, phenomenal dexterity and that key ingredient of a Blues player, ‘feeling.’”
Paul Jobson delivers some superb flourishes on piano and keys whilst throughout the rhythm section provides a solid foundation to every track.Put this collection together and you have all the essential ingredients for a true Blues band and one that effortlessly shifts through the gears to accentuate the slow tempo ballads through to the foot tapping and pacey numbers. This band really does evoke memories of a traditional dark smoky Blues Club.
The album gets off to a cracking start with a pacey rendition of the Wille Dixon standard ‘I’m Ready,’ Built on a sparkling piano flourish and a coursing lead break from Ross that Bradley lifts higher with a really punchy Bluesy vocal.
Be Careful With My Baby is the first of the original compositions from Bradley and Ross and it a superbly crafted ballad that opens with a bruised Ross solo with Jobson matching as he delivers some light piano flourishes that flick out over the melody. Katie Bradley then steps in with an emotive vocal delivery that draws you in and holds you.
The second of the self- penned songs is the album’s absolute highlight for me, the luxurious and haunting ‘I Hear the River.’ This track is absolutely drenched with raw emotion from Bradley’s pleading sorrowful vocal to the subtle drum bass and key runs. It is on this track that you hear the power and craft that Bradley has with a Blues Harp, melodic and imploring totally matching the meandering mood of the song. Once again Ross punctuates the song with a truly stunning solo that is so expressive it is like a lyric in itself.
The Albert Collins classic ‘Put the Shoe on the Other Foot’ both lightens the mood and lifts the pace. The band’s lively interpretation turns the song in to a really funky groove that will have you tapping your toes and fingers. It races along at a great rate of knots and builds in to a superb keys and guitar jam with Jobson and Ross exchanging punchy riffs.
The same can be said of the BB King’s Let the Good Times Roll and Big Mama Thornton’s Hound Dog. Both burst forth with rattling rhythms that lay the foundation for vocals, keys, guitar and Harp to vie for top billing as flourish after flourish of notes, sounds and words erupt from the speakers. These two conjure visions of the packed dance floors of yesteryear. Sure to put a grin on your face.
Then to close the album a massively respectful and wonderful interpretation of Etta James’ Damn Your Eyes. The feeling that Katie weaves through her voice tells you James is an icon to the lady as she delivers a smouldering vocal that Jobson matches with more twinkling keys. And then Ross delivers an awesome solo, awesome in its clear tone and even more awesome in the feel he expresses as he eases out flurries of notes.
An outstanding debut album from an outstanding band that deserve critical acclaim and popularity. I know they will achieve both.