British Blues – Events – Gigs – Bernard Allison

Bernard Allison – at the Borderline, London, 25th March 2003

Like the American Festival Of The Blues II, this gig yet again was, to say the least, poorly attended. Fifty/sixty people took the trouble to turn out to witness Luther Little Boy in action so what is the point of complaining incessantly about that place in nearby Kingly Street, Soho packed to the rafters nightly, the blues fighting a losing battle, subservient to chattering intransient nonentities? A decent venue puts on a fair size blues name and people stay away in their hundreds. Not good is it? If Bernard and his band were disappointed by the poor turn out they did not allow it to show, turning 9 in a performance fit for a packed house or, in the words of rockabilly legend Eddie Bond on turning up for a gig and finding the venue empty except for one man, “It makes no difference if there is one person or one thousand, I will play my full time and give 100%” to which the man replies “I wish you would hurry up. I’m the caretaker and I want to lock up.” Backed up by bass, drums and keyboards (the latter incidentally was part of his father’s band) naturally Bernard on lead guitar got straight down to business with some fine modern-ish blues on the opener ‘I Just Came Back To Say Goodbye’ before visiting his father’s back catalogue with a very tasty rendition of ‘Bad Love’. Along the way we had tracks from his new CD ‘Storms Of Life’ including the title track. The self-explanatory ‘Speed Slide’ was hugely enjoyable (take note Mr Thorogood – this is how it should sound) the Leon Russell penned ‘Help Me Through The Day’ an emotive tale of losing love, nice lazy shuffle feel to this. A little chat preceded it saying that daddy Luther heard it via the Freddy King version and wanted to record it. ‘Snake Bit Again’, very much in the Allison family style, this one. From previous outings on CDs we were treated to ‘Too Many Women’, ‘Fist Full Of Dirt’ and ‘Don’t Be Confused’, the latter I am sure ‘Tales From The Woods’ very own Shaky Lee Wilkinson, who is a big Robert Ward fan, would have loved, Bernard styling on this one. That’s about it; great music, good venue, poor turn out. Still, loved the idea of being able to stretch out on the floor and being served immediately at the bar.

Keith Woods


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