Singer songwriter Derrin Nauendorf teamed up with percussionist David
Downing in Australia in 2000, and together they took on the UK in 2001.
They have gigged up and down the country, building a reputation as one of
the best live acts around. The duo's first CD, "Live At The Boardwalk,"
captures their show from Sheffield in January 2002.
The opening song "Ghost Town" gives you a good idea of where the duo are
coming from. Not exactly blues, although it does fit along the folk-blues
axis that includes the likes of Bert Jansch, and fellow Australian Geoff
Achison. Nauendorf plays acoustic guitar throughout, and at the start of
the song manages to achieve a bass sound like a didgeridoo. His powerful
voice has a soulful tinge that allows him to inject the appropriate amount
of emotion into the songs. Meanwhile, over on the other side of the stage,
Downing provides the very strong backbeat thumping away on the "pots and
Favorable first impressions are confirmed by the ensuing "Leave Me Tonight"
which segues into "I Won't Turn My Back On You." Both have a gentler, more
airy feel to them. Nauendorf plays some very neat classical (Spanish) style
guitar, and is unafraid to inject pauses into the songs, which adds extra
impact to the playing and singing.
After taking a breather on the quieter "Scared of Being Free" Downing
returns to pound his way through "Reason You Came Here." Then the duo pick
their way through the album's only cover, Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child"
(sic). It is not immediately apparent what the song is, until the instantly
recognizable guitar lick surfaces after about one and a half minutes. The
arrangement builds to a peak, then draws back before rising to another
peak, closing with the famous riff.
The album rounds off with its finest moment. "Danielle" is a cracking tune,
which shows off the duo at their very best: excellent guitar work with
plaintive vocals from Nauendorf accompanied by Downing's sympathetic
drumming. "Danielle" is one of those songs that you just cannot get out of
your head, and provides an excellent way to end.
"Live At The Boardwalk" is a mighty fine album that will appeal most to
those who like their blues with a strong sense of folk tradition. Having
recently caught the duo live at the Great British R&B Festival, I can
confirm that it fairly represents what to expect from their live shows,
although for the full atmosphere and inter-song banter you need to see them
in person. In the meantime, "Live At The Boardwalk" will do very nicely,
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