Chris Youlden & The Slammers

Closing Time

(Proper)

So just over thirty years ago, legendary blues vocalist Chris Youlden and a razor-sharp band assembled in the studio and cut a fabulous set of recordings which only now see the light of day. At his recent Troubadour show in London showcasing many of these numbers, Chris’ voice seems stronger than ever. Anyway, we his friends and fans can at last own these tracks.

Sugar Coated Love – in recent performance – prompts a funny tale about Lazy Lester from Chris. It’s a rolling groove of a number and Youlden does it justice, with superb Malcolm Mills drumming. Number Nine Train pounds along like a Sun Studios classic, Paul Riley’s bass to the fore. I Wanna Stay Alive is an original with Dave Briggs and Will Stallybrass twanging away on the electric guitars and some keyboard work from Geraint Watkins, no less.

The relentless beat and sheer grip on what a number like this needs is a joy to hear. On to Trickbag which I think was a Meters staple. The moody syncopated rhythm is hard to resist…and why would you. Chris shoots some stealth into the story, with great results. Fool’s Paradise the Mose Allison classic has lovely background harp and Youlden puts just enough jazz into his handling of the wistful lyric, hitting the middle eight with a resigned shake of the head. Beautiful group music.

Next up is Tell Me What You’re Gonna Do is snappy and full of staggers whilst Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight is the James Taylor composition and really suits the Youlden pipes. Nervous Breakdown is voodoo rock’n’roll with chugging guitars, evoking Johnny Kidd or Gene Vincent. Roll With My Baby is a sprightly shuffle. I Ain’t Got You is familiar to Yardbirds fans and here the Billy Boy Arnold tune gets a belting workout and sparkling piano.

In The Middle Of The Night rocks out with clenched fists and a Creedence vibe. Come On rattles along in vintage Jimmy Rogers style, Youlden’s singing bringng a swaggering bite to the tune. Next up, Percy Mayfield’s How Deep Is The Well ? with lyrical piano and sighing Hammond. Chris is at his most distinctive here, such a honeyed voice!

Let’s Talk About Us is I think an Otis Blackwell number Anda galloping boogie with a Southern jukebox sound. Sweet Love On My Mind hits that Sun/Carl Perkins rocking ambience…you almost expect Brian Matthew to speak over the end!

This edition adds different 1991 versions of three of the cuts.

Pete Sargeant

 



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(Thanks to Chris and Proper Music)

Chris Youlden & The Slammers new album 'Closing Time' is out now on Proper Music.

You can purchase the album on CD and Vinyl LP here: http://bit.ly/2U4DuY0