The gorgeous and talented vocalist Ali Maas has guested for bluesman Papa George and our favorite guitarist Micky Moody at the Raffles Club Staines. But this was her first headline appearance at the Riverside club with her incredible band.
Kicking off with Don Bryant’s “99 lbs.” (made famous by The Black Crowes) : “Twenty-five pounds of pure cane sugar… She’s got in each and every kiss…” This was passionate black-powder blues with hearty scatterings of jazz (especially from keyboardist Rob Millis, who has also been seen at the club with the Nigel Bagge Band) and those amazing smoke-and-flames vocals from Ali.
Her new self-penned number “Emotional Powder Keg Blues” was a slow slider, with neat rat-a-tatty drum-work from Peter Miles and some slinky rhythms established by Rob. The vocal was thick and greasy as sump-oil as it slid down, smooth and syrupy, and across that cool-silvery bass-play from Glynn.
Superb guitarist Alan Glen (who was a member of ‘The Yardbirds’ between 1996 – 2003) provided an elegant yet thoroughly mesmerizing lead break on this great song.
“Drown in My Own Tears” is a blues song written by Henry Glover way back in the day… but the Johnny Winter version was re-created by the Ali Maas and her band. This was a sweet waltz, with chirpy-chip organ sounds and the ever-emotional voice of Ali that begged and pleaded.
After a jazzy intro on the second half (Ali was hit by ‘frogs in the throat’ and needed a break — we were informed by her fans that she was only performing “at 33% of her normal volume…” ) we were treated to “Woman Be Wise” with those “Don’t Advertise Your Man…” lyrics.
This song is also as old as the world. But Ali’s voice was pure and perfect for it. The right side of cynical without losing any of the sweetness. And, of course, Rob’s keyboards were enormously entertaining, as he madly plonked along to this adorably earnest ditty.
Once again we were offered Blues Salvation in Staines.
And once again, as an audience, we were grateful to receive it. The Riverside Club, Raffles has experienced a reversal of fortunes in recent weeks — and now hosts incredible music nights like this on Thursdays and some Fridays. And we are sure that Ali Maas and her talented band will be back very soon. What a memorable night!
Words: @neilmach 2015 ©