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Review: Climax Blues Band at the Lichfield Guildhall

A near-capacity Easter Sunday crowd saw one of the sharpest blues outfits on the national circuit when the Climax Blues Band performed at Lichfield Guildhall as part of their 50th anniversary tour.

Climax Blues Band

Climax Blues Band

The six piece band of lead singer Graham Dee, saxophonist Chris ‘Beebe’ Aldridge, guitarist Lester Hunt, Keyboard player George Glover, and the hard working rhythm section of bassist Neil Simpson and drummer Roy Adams, packed a lot of style, nuance and musical sophistication into a set that took in everything from blues, jazz, rock, funk and some classic cover songs by Willie Dixon.

They also had some new numbers and arrangements which were well received by the audience.

They started of with Willie Dixon’s Seventh Son, before a rock back-beat led the charge through Muddy Waters’ Louisianna Blues, with some sharp riffing from Lester Hunt. The high energy level was maintained during the original Fool for the Lights.

Chasing Change was a light funk workout while a new song, Seventeenth Street Canal, showed the band were capable of tackling slower, more melodic songs.

The second half was started with another reworked Willie Dixon song, Spoonful, a full band arrangement replacing the more skeletal and minimalism of the original, before the minor chord blues of Last Chance Saloon allowed Graham Dee to show the full emotive range of his vocal, and some fine playing on guitar and saxophone.

Ain’t That a Kick in the Head was a funk workout for all of the players, while Hard Luck was a slow blues piece, and another new song Wrong Man, Wrong Time, Wrong Place had only its second live outing, but more than deserved its place in the set-list.

A gospel Hammond organ part introduced the group’s biggest hit, Couldn’t get it Right, which saw many in the audience take to the dancefloor.

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