Eddie Martin is one of Britain's most prolific blues artists. Playing solo,
trio, or big band he spends much of his time gigging around Europe and the
US, yet somehow still finds time to write and record plenty of good
material. On "Pillowcase Blues," his sixth album in seven years, Eddie is
joined by the erstwhile rhythm section of Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois
King: bassist Guthrie Kennard and drummer Jimmie Pendleton, aka the Texas
Those of a nervous disposition should probably steer clear of the raw and
rowdy opener, "Down The Road". Martin plays some very mean slide guitar on
a tune where John Lee Hooker crashes into George Thorogood. The no-frills
engine room provides the perfect accompaniment for one of the best tracks
of the year. If you manage to survive the experience you get a bit of
respite on the comparatively gentle "Pillowcase Blues" which is a more of a
Texas boogie with fine harmony vocals and lots more slide guitar. Also, see
if you can spot the very understated baritone sax of the legendary Dick
The album contains a healthy dose of Chicago blues. Firstly in the shape of
"Natural Thing," where Martin plays unamplified harp on a Jimmy Reed style
tune. Second on "Please Stop" which sounds so good that it will have you
reaching for the credits to check if it is an Elmore James number. The
lyrics which deal problems largely associated with the last decade or so
will also convince you otherwise.
Regular collaborators the Little Big Horns pop up for the album's only
cover, an infectious interpretation of "I Done, Done It." Even this has
been beefed up with extra original verses by Martin. The horns later
resurface for the footstomping "Let's Get Together" which is built for
audience participation, and follows some countryesque picking on the true
tale of "The Hatfields and the McCoys."
By the time you reach the last brace of tracks you will probably be in need
of a breather. Fortunately you get it, first in the shape of the
Hookerseque "I Wanna Groove With You," which features some more great harp.
Martin then rounds things off on his own, with the instrumental "Long Ride
Home," giving a first-rate demonstration of fingerpicking on Old Goldie,
his 70-ish years old steel guitar.
"Pillowcase Blues" is yet another top class album from Eddie Martin. It is
shot through with the emotional intensity that lies at the heart of great
blues music. Martin also injects plenty of subtlety and variation too,
rather than just trying to blast the listener away with sheer power. The
Texas Blues Kings provide the perfect foil for Martin in this setting: no
frills, and always on the money. Terrific stuff: buy it!
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