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Shortstuff - Big Blue (Blonde on Blonde)

British folk club circuit favourites since the mid-70s, Dave Thomas and Hugh Gregory - better known as Shortstuff - have finally been given the opportunity to release a selection of their archive recordings via their new collection, BIG BLUE. The acoustic bluesmen recently uncovered a selection of long-lost tapes from their early days in a London attic and, by adding a few recordings from the early 90s along with some gentle mixing, the spirit of this fine blues duo has been forever preserved on a short but utterly engaging disc.

The material would please any self-respecting blues fan. Included here are pleasing covers of songs by JJ Cale (Magnolia), John Mayall (Sitting In The Rain) and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee (Love's a Disease) as well as a haunting, string-accompanied version of the traditional Honeybabe. There's also a dapper take on the Dan Hicks number O'Reilly At The Bar which features some fine guitar improv, a slinking bassline and a snappy little snare.

With some flavoursome acoustic solos, chugging rhythm guitar and honey-sweet vocals, this is a record which, after four decades, we're fortunate to finally have available to us.

Liam Wilkinson
Northern Sky