The John O’Leary Band

The Harbour Club,  Liverpool Marina on 25th June 2009

Review by Lionel Ross

This was the third appearance of the John O’Leary Band at Liverpool Marina, which speaks volumes for their popularity at the city’s premier blues venue. There were a couple of changes to the previous line-up of the band: Wayne Proctor replaced Joachim Greve on drums and singer/guitarist Dave Day was added to the core membership. However, the basic elements were still in place: John O’Leary on vocals and harp, Jules Fothergill on guitar, Jools Grudgings on keyboard and Roger Inniss on bass guitar.

The band opened with “Born In Chicago”, which afforded an immediate opportunity for Day, O’Leary, Grudgings and Fothergill to set down their markers as highly skilled soloists, while a splendid rendition of Junior Wells’s “Snatch It Back And Hold It” featured a cameo solo from Roger Inniss on bass guitar. O’Leary conjured up some mean harp on “Early In The Morning”, which was also blessed with a fabulous solo from Fothergill, before newcomer, Dave Day, delivered excellent lead vocals and tasty guitar on “Need Your Love So Bad” and Steely Dan’s ”Do It Again”.

 The first set was completed with “Little By Little”, on which Grudgings was the major magician, closely followed by a marvellous interplay between the two guitarists.

The second set began with “Don’t Let My Baby Ride”, for which Jules Fothergill produced a phenomenal solo, enhanced by superb underpinning by Wayne Proctor. Dave Day then resumed lead vocals on the slow blues, “Double Trouble”, which featured some great harp playing from O’Leary, and his own “I Only Want To Have Some Fun” before the highlight of the evening – a fantastic version of “Black Cat Bone”, on which all members of the band excelled, including the superb rhythm section. The loudly demanded encore comprised four numbers sharing a common beat: “Yonder’s Wall”, Elmore James’s “One Way Out”, the original “Roadhouse Man” and everybody’s favourite, “Help Me”. The standing ovation that erupted at the close was completely unanimous and thoroughly warranted by the truly magnificent show......

Lionel Ross

.....the new name for thre john o'leary band