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Climax Blues Band: The Climax Chicago Blues Band (remastered)

Originally recorded in November 1968 at Abbey Road studios in London and released in 1969, the debut for the Climax Blues Band (who called themselves The Climax Chicago Blues Band at the time) was a gritty, Chicago-blues soaked affair that really was a sign of the times for many British acts who were embracing the US blues scene and incorporating some rock elements into the mix. For this self-titled debut, it was mostly blues though that reared its head, as Colin Cooper (vocals/harmonica), Peter Haycock (guitars/vocals), Arthur Wood (keyboards), Derek Holt (guitar, organ, bass), Richard Jones (bass), and George Newsome (drums), really wanted to give their interpretation of good old Chicago blues, so most of the pop, jazz, funk, and rock elements that would creep into their music as the '70s wore on had yet to surface. Esoteric Recordings have reissued this spirited blues affair with remastered sound, bonus tracks, and an info packed little booklet.

Not much different than other acts on the scene at the time like Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Chicken Shack, Savoy Brown, and Ten Years After, CBB mixed hard nosed originals with some blues covers, and this debut shows the band not yet finding their niche but still delivering some good performances. Cooper's soaring saxophone had yet to find its way into the CBB repertoire, so much of the attention here goes to the sizzling lead guitar & slide work of the teenage Haycock, who really was a prodigy as he lends his scorching licks to songs like "A Stranger In Your Town", "Looking For My Baby", "You've Been Drinking", and the killer instrumental "Twenty Past One". The ominous organ on the dark "And Lonely" adds an extra element to their bluesy attack, while the bonus tracks that Esoteric have dragged from the vaults (from the original Abbey Road sessions) include some real stunners too, including a smoky "Stormy Monday" and the upbeat "Arthur's Boogie".

Perhaps not as varied as successive albums would be, this debut still features some sensational playing and announced a new player on the British blues scene. The next few albums saw the band experimenting with new sounds and styles as they eventually moved away from their blues roots, but if you want to see where it all began, here's your ticket.

Track Listing
1) Mean Old World
2) Insurance
3) Going Down This Road
4) You've Been Drinking
5) Don't Start Me Talkin'
6) Wee Baby Blues
7) Twenty Past One
8) A Stranger In Your Town
9) How Many More Years
10) Looking For My Baby
11) And Lonely
12) The Entertainer
Bonus Tracks
13) Checking On My Baby
14) Arthur's Boogie
15) Stormy Monday
16) Don't Start Me Talkin' (Take One)
17) Anybody's Boogie
18) You've Been Drinking (Take One)
19) And Lonely (Take Five)

Added: March 6th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Esoteric Recordings
Hits: 1519
Language: english

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