Daniel Smith Blues Band: Blues, Boogie, Bayou & Ballads

Bluesy set from British pianist featuring Alan Barnes and Jaelee Small variously reminds of Jools Holland, Dr John and Bob James

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This album is what it says – a mix of rhythm and blues, boogie woogie, Bayou rhythms and soul-infused ballads. This is Smith’s ninth studio album, but I have never come across him before despite being a fan of the various genres represented here. Born in London and raised in Scotland, he has apparently been entertaining audiences since 1994.

The album contains 10 original tracks, all penned by Smith, and covers a series of significant events in his life including marriage, the pandemic and his father’s death. The band contains two long-time stable mates – Peter Miles (drums) and Andy Jones (bass) – plus a new guitarist with the arrival of former Dave Kelly and The Blues Band guitarist, Peter Emery. The album also features guest appearances by BBC award winning saxophonist Alan Barnes, ex-Yardbirds harmonicist Alan Glen and vocalist Jaelee Small.

The album gets off to a storming start with Boogie Or Bust and stays the course throughout. Think Jools Holland in a slightly more condensed form and if you are not tapping your feet within 30 seconds you need to urgently check your pulse. Kiss You Quick dives straight into the blues tradition with some “smoky” harmonica playing from Alan Glenn and authentic vocals from Jaelee Small. Small also features to great effect on the blues tracks, The Clown Is Back In Town and G-Force Blues.

A flavour of Dr John weaves its way through Crescent City Crescendo whilst Luna Da Miel and El Arte Del Amor are more polished tracks with piano style more reminiscent of Bob James. The Time Has Now Come and Walking In The Rain are done in the classic British blues style and could have been written by John Mayall back in the 1970s. Sam Knows Best is soulful but with more of a Northern Soul sound than classic American.

Smith holds the entire project together with some fine piano playing as well as some sublime touches on the Hammond organ. This is an eclectic album covering a wide range of genres. Whilst blues is the predominant mood of this album, the ability to switch styles is impressive. This is an album that is seriously entertaining, and I would happily pay good money to watch this band perform live.

Discography
Boogie Or Bust; Kiss You Quick; Crescent City Crescendo; The Clown Is Back In town; Luna De Miel; G-Force Blues; El Arte Del Amor; The Time Has Now Come; Sam Knows Best; Walking In The Rain (37.58)
Smith (p, Hammond); Jaelee Small (v); Alan Barnes (s); Pete Emery (g); Alan Glenn (hca); Andy Jones (b, v); Peter Miles (d). London Road Studio, Laleham. No recording dates given.
Pinetops Records PRDS199