Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: A History of British Blues

Award-winning Adelaide singer and guitarist Cal Williams Jnr puts together fantastic tribute shows, taking a particular time and genre, and presenting works from some of the seminal artists.

A musical delight
4.5

Presented by Cal Williams Jnr
Reviewed 21 February 2021

Award-winning Adelaide singer and guitarist Cal Williams Jnr puts together fantastic tribute shows, taking a particular time and genre, and presenting works from some of the seminal artists. This Fringe he is putting on three shows, including A History of the British Blues. Joining him is Kory Horwood on double-bass, and Mary Tréès on percussion.

It was the resurgence of interest in early blues in Britain in the 60s that lead to many older blues artists being drawn out of retirement and rediscovered in their native United States. But it was also a time of fertile blues originals, leading to such acts as The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Cream.

Williams split the show into two halves: the first presenting works from the folk-blues tradition; the latter delving into some of those later blues-rock artists.

Opening with a number from the sadly short-lived, yet influential, Nick Drake, the band moved on to John Martyn’s Jelly Roll Baker, Jackson C Frank’s Blues Run the Game, Davey Graham’s version of Cocaine Blues, and finished the set with John Mayall’s No More Tears. Second set started with Alexis Korner’s Woke Up This Morning, before rocking into two early numbers made famous by British blues rockers: Crossroads and Gallows Pole. Williams finished the gig with a number by long-time Korner collaborator, Cyril Davies.

As well as being a fine musician, and gathering equally fine ones around him, Williams knows how to talk to an audience, introducing songs with interesting facts and stories.  Passion and knowledge ooze out of every pore. He just needs to slow down sometimes.

These gigs are a musical delight, and quirkily educational. This Fringe, as well as British blues, he is collating shows on Mississippi blues, and British folk. No doubt they will all be a total delight for music fans.

Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Twitter: @TraceyKorsten

Venue:  The Wheaty
Season:  February 28th, March 14th
Duration:  90 minutes
Tickets:  $23-$25
Bookings:  https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/a-history-of-british-blues-af2021

Rating out of 5: 4.5

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