The Tulsa Sound is sparse yet complicated and exciting. The smoky genre is espoused by the likes of JJ Cale, Leon Russell and Eric Clapton. It is a combination of rockabilly, country-rock and blues. Packed with precision riffs, intricate finger-picking style and lively rhythms.
This week we enjoyed this kind of genuine homecrafted bluesmanship at the Staines Riverside Club.
Brought to us by Steve Morrison’s band ‘Blues Abuse‘ (terrible name — great act) with Alan Hughes on drums and the legendary Alan Glen on harmonica.
Songs like “Call Me the Breeze” (completed at a frantic rate) were intricate and pure. Enjoyable, light and transient… like early morning snow on the Black Hills.
We loved the shuffling spirit of early rhythm and blues numbers, like ‘Easy Rider.‘ Steve’s voice was incredibly soft and smooth. Toasted oak and pine oil — it slipped down real neat and it suited his sharp-fringed guitar-work and the enthusiastic percussion from Alan Hughes.
Steve performed some self-written numbers. For example — Walking Blues (New Shoes) :
“My wife is the Imelda Marcos of South London…” He told the audience.
“She has three thousand pairs of shoes … And we live in an apartment with 2 beds. Mind you, it’s not all bad… at least Shoes rhymes with Blues.” This was a light-hearted country-blues number with an easy lickin’ pace.
All songs were played with rare agility by the fast fingered Steve (who can hold down a bass-line and chords whilst simultaneously playing the most intricate highs… a rare gift.)
Songs were almost always soaked in juicy harmonica (from Glen) and kept in motion by Hughes (on drums) — he is probably one of the best drummers we have enjoyed at the Staines venue.
We sang the spiritual “Down by the Riverside” together (the Staines crowd needed a bit of flattery and coaxing — but in the end they were able to return the love.)
“Come on everyone…” Steve Encouraged “ Imagine we are in a church. A church that serves beer! What is better than that? So let it all out …” The anti-war protest song proved to be a big hit.
This was an impressive evening of music from Steve and his Blues Abuse partners. (He’s got the ‘old blues‘ real bad!) What a wonderful experience!
Words & Images: @neilmach 2015 ©