Various Artists - Backroom Blues Volume Seven - Stereo Stickman

Various Artists Backroom Blues Volume Seven

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Bongo Boy Records are gathering together some of the best under-the-radar artists and bands around right now. Backroom Blues Volume Seven is a brilliant example of that, offering precisely the stylish and rhythmic blues vibe that the title implies, and then some.

Zombie Garden Club kick things off with the thick fuzz and warmth of  Judgement Blues – a classic blues-rock anthem with an infectious beat and backdrop that fill the room with nostalgic, authentic musical vibrancy. The instrumentation is superb and the whole thing just begs for you to witness it in a live setting – fortunately the recording is about as raw and up front as can be. It’s a great song and a great start to the compilation.

Bobby Rue follows the opener and mellows things out with a soulful Americana aura – Before Our Eyes sounds beautiful – spacious and heartfelt, country driven and again offering superb songwriting. Rue’s voice has an accessible and genuine quality to it, and the supporting instrumentation throws so much subtle but effective flair into the mix. After this, Carmen Grillo glides onto the scene with some equally impressive guitar work and a gorgeously uplifting energy – Come And Gone brings about a classically smooth beat and a build up that accompanies this vocal delivery in a sublime way.

How Long Is The Night makes for a stunning moment, a shoulder-swaying song with subtle weight and emotional depth. Ann M. Wolf presents this change in direction in a soothing manner. This playlist is consistently a joy to make your way through, for so many reasons. Eclecticism and impressive musicianship meet with impeccable songwriting. Little Friend Blue follows and brings back that high energy and those classic rock and roll vibes – The New Bardots have a natural way with this kind of organic musicality and performance style.

A live show from The Silver Dimes adds a touch of realness – an in-the-moment display of entrancing, perfect for dancing musical brightness. Won’t Cry For Love follows and Fiddy Blues mellows the mood once again – a pure and calming ambiance and a delicate vocal melody drive the song with a compelling sense of rising passion. The hook is wonderful, a definite personal highlight, but again – the songwriting throughout this playlist is classically some of the best you’ll find in modern blues. Steve Morgan and The Harley Tones add impact via contrast afterwards with the raw and electric guitar-led seductive grit of The Lost Soul Blues.

This album has the power to take you somewhere else for a while – maybe to the lake-side motorcycle festival, maybe to the depths of the West country for an all night knees-up at the bar with some live bands. It’s a mighty collection and would make for a fitting, refreshing gift for those who’ve almost lost faith in the future of the classic blues rock and roll genres and all that falls nearby.

During the latter third of the album, a dash of joyful harmonica pours through on the gorgeously harmonized and piano-led Let’s Go Back by Big Bone Daddy. Nuthin But The Blues afterwards injects a flicker of Hendrix-like guitar swagger – Steve Hester fits the mood of the moment perfectly well, a smooth and alluring piece of music and writing that’s well received at this point. Then you see the pace pick up again, J. Howard Duff adds an almost punk-rock tone to the mix and matches it unexpectedly with a heartfelt and emotional story-line. I’m Crying presents the blues quite precisely as they were intended to be.

Things come to a close with the rather blissful, beach-side slides and tones of Reconsider Baby, an instrumental journey from Susan SurfTone. The album leaves you feeling content, at peace and ready to get on with whatever it is you need to do (or not). An easy must for the long-term collection.

Download the album here.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Musician & writer with an MA in Songwriting.

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