There cannot be many bands who have hit the ground running like the Pauline
York Band, who won the WYKT "Battle of the Blues Bands" with their first
performance in 1997! With the recent release of their debut album,
"Blackberry Wine" you get a chance to find out exactly what the judges saw
The album opens with a cover of Magic Sam's "Easy Baby" which is played
pretty straight, and gives you a reasonable indication of the band's sound.
It is probably fairer to say that the band's generally play in more of a
southern blues style (mostly New Orleans with a bit of Texas) rather than a
West Side Chicago one. The choice of covers serve to back this up, with Tab
Benoit ("Still Going Down The Road"), Professor Longhair ("Hey Little Girl"
redone here as "Hey Little Boy"), SRV ("Long Way From Home") and even John
Fogerty ("Lowdown in Lodi") all getting a look in.
York is an impressive songwriter too, and material like the title
track suggest good things for the future. It has a Diddleyesque beat
coupled with some neat N'Awleans style piano from Daryl Coutts. "Blue Eyed
Baby" also chugs along very nicely, and York chips in with some neat slide
guitar on "Anywhere."
The album's best moments tend to come when there is a real chemistry
between the guitar (shared between York and Pat "The Snake" Boyack) and the
keyboards, such as on the title track. The blend also works really well on
"Hey Little Boy" and the churchy B3 on "Lowdown in Lodi" is mighty fine.
With "Blackberry Wine," Pauline York has come up with a good album for
those who like a slightly harder edge to their blues without straying over
into blues-rock. The guitar playing is always nicely restrained, and York
has just the right sort of voice to go with the material. The Pauline York
Band sound like an act worth catching live, but in the meantime you will be
able to suitably quench your thirst with "Blackberry Wine."
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