We can’t get enough of a good thing; not only cream cakes, whiskey and sunshine; it can also be music. Take The Producers; on 22nd March this year, we enjoyed this amazing Blues band in St Ives Guildhall and we enjoyed two of the band, Harry Skinner (guitar and vocals) and Dave Saunders (bass player of note) again, as precursor to Andy Fairweather Low in the current Festival fortnight. So it was a real pleasure on 20th September 2014 to once more welcome The Producers to the Guildhall as part of Mojo Promotions contribution to this year’s Festival. But first we enjoyed yet more powerful Blues from Kent DuChaine.
Kent plays his 80 years old steel guitar (Lead Bessie, geddit!) hard, wresting great sound from the instrument. Like so many Bluesmen, he was heavily influenced by Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, and between-songs talk threaded together a life spent in pursuit of Blues perfection through work with its greatest exponents. With a voice as powerful and good as his guitar playing, Kent took us through a song book evoking a genre that underpins most of today’s music. Kent DuChaine would be worth seeing any night of the year.
After a short refreshment break (you know I mean beer and wine) Harry Skinner and Dave Saunders (see above) returned to the Guildhall stage with Ray Drury on organ and piano and Biff Smith on drums and percussion as The Producers – back by popular acclaim. As always, no room for a list but here’s a few tasters. Launching right into ‘New Money’, the band brought good and steamy blues to our ears from the outset, continuing with ‘Bitter and Sweet’ and reaffirming their consummate skills, verve and real blues heart: no gimmicks, no weirdness, just great music. Elmore James’ ‘Be Careful’ kept the music rolling along with the smoky late night bar sounds of ‘Some People Say’ portraying another side to the band’s many talents. We had to thank Jake’s superb sound engineering for ensuring that every note and word reached us exactly as intended.
As always during the Festival, it’s tight for space to fit everything in so I’ll dash through the likes of ‘Little Red Rooster’ and ‘Baby Please don’t go’ to the end of a brilliant concert closed with ‘Ain’t no Love in the World’ and, encore, ‘Mule’. The Producers are one of the best British Blues bands around today and, I’d venture, more than that: they capture the real heartfelt sound of music that reaches the soul. I could listen to it all night long.
Review by John Hancock