Blues In Britain  Vol.1  Issue 75

The John O'Leary Band,  Jay Tampkin & The Crackers

Limelight Theatre, Aylesbury 18th January 2008. 

Wet and windy it may have been, but the faithful turned up to fill the theatre at the start of another session of Blues at the Limelight. Jay Tampkin & The Crackers had driven up from Torbay to open the evening's proceedings and open it they did.  With only a short time slot the three- piece of Tampkin (Fender Stratocaster/vocals), Pete Searle (bass) and Nick Ramos Pinto (drums), got straight into action with a Zappa-esque instrumental to get everybody warmed up. They then ripped through one of their own compositions "Trouble Maker". CD plugs followed and tey played three tracks from the Live & Tetchy album, which sold in large quantities later in the evening.  They closed with their working of  "Voodoo Chile, also on the CD, which was very well received.  You'll find the boys opening for a number of well known names during 2008 and I recommend you get along to catch them in action.

After the break the John O'Leary Band opened up with a funky and extended rendition of "Put It Where You Want It". The band on this evening was Jules Fothergill on semi-acoustic guitars, Jools Grudgings on keyboards, Joachim Greve on drums and Ian Mauricio on bass. The band had a penchant for lengthy songs, which meant they managed eight "crackers and a short encore in the hour and a half set. John O'Leary (ex Savoy Brown), vocals and harmonica joined the band for the second number "Born In Chicago" featuring som great solos all round.  John O'Leary is a a great fan of the late Junior Wells and it was the 10th Anniversary of of his death, so the rest of the evening was dedicated to JW and they played a number of his songs.

"Snatch It Back and Hold It" had a wonderful slide guitar solo. Sony Boy Williamson's "Early in The Morning" as recorded by JW got an airing complete with extended harmonica solo. It was down with the tempo with a slow and soulful version of "Drifting Blues". Little by Little" (JW) was followed by "Going Down Slow" (St. Louis Jimmy) as later made popularby Eric Clapton. "Black Cat Bone" upped the tempo once more and was especially well presented, with an absolutley awsome drum solo from Joachim Greve, the beat changed to reggae and then to a Santana-esque Latin beat through the song.

The "quirky" encore consisted of "Look On Yonders Wall" which seagued into "Help Me" and back again. The John O'Leary band is an excellent outfit  with top notch musicians who have deserved reputations in their own right........Paul Stiles

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