FEELIN’ GOOD PRODUCTIONS - Agenzia di Blues in Italia e in Europa.

 

Paul Lamb

paul-lambPaul Lamb and The Kingsnakes
OK, we all know the stuff that turns up in biographies, is empty and meaningless because it’s all been said before. So, let’s talk plainly about Paul Lamb & The King Snakes, the best blues band in Britain. It didn’t happen suddenly. It took years of hard work and application, unfashionable words that signify little in these days of instant fame. As Paul can tell you, he and his band have done their individual time, made their mistakes, applied what they’ve learned, focused on their musicianship and the results are passed on to audiences that flock to their gigs. They in turn are guaranteed to enjoy genuine music performed with skill and mutual encouragement. It’s a simple but sure formula. Right now, the King Snakes are a refreshing mixture of (relative) youth and experience. The experience starting at the top, for Paul Lamb has spent the last thirty-some years whoopin’ and hollerin’ in clubs in his native North-East plus a later move to London, in concert and on festival stages, creating a personal synthesis of his harmonica heroes and his own unique and innate talent. His history includes representing Britain in the World Harmonica Championships, working with his particular mentor, Sonny Terry, and with any number of other blues artists who’ve visited these shores. The original band Smokestack Lightning started in 1979 and metamorphosed through Barfly, then into the Blues Burglars. The Burglars made their recording debut, Breaking In, for Red Lightnin’ in 1986. Down in London the next incarnation was as the Paul Lamb Blues Band, with Rod Demick on bass and (for a while) ex-Yardbird Jim McCarty on drums, plus long term associate John Whitehill on lead guitar . However, it was as Paul Lamb and the King Snakes that they cut their album for Blue Horizon (CDBLUH 011). It was this dedication to his craft ,that began to pay off, for this was the year that Paul was voted Instrumentalist Of The Year by the British Blues Connection, an accolade that would be his for six successive years, the band were UK Blues Band Of The Year for this and the next two years (and again in 1997 and 1998), while their Blue Horizon album became 1991 UK Album Of The Year, the first of several such awards. Shifting Into Gear, an album recorded in Denmark, was issued in 1992 in Belgium by Tight & Juicy. It was later released in England, as part of the King Snakes’ recording deal with Indigo Records. A remarkable period ensued, as Paul and the band picked up regular performance awards from the BBC. Nor were their albums ignored: Fine Condition (IGOCD 2019) was 1996 UK Album of the Year, She’s a Killer (IGOXCD 503) ditto ’97 and Take Your Time and Get It Right again in 2001.

In between came the reissue of Shifting Into Gear (IGOXCD 504), John Henry Jumps In (IGOXCD 512), The Blue Album (IGOXCD 521) and Whoopin’, the reissue of Breaking In, (IGOXCD 522). Two further releases appeared on the Sanctuary label, Live at The 100 Club 14th May 2002 (IGOFCD 2517) and Harmonica Man (CMEDD 701), an anthology of all that had gone before, including the title track, Paul’s single as ‘Bravado’ for Pete Waterman’s Peach label. There’s a deal of experience behind vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chad Strentz, too. He started out as a rockabilly hound, encouraged by the wilder excesses of Gene Vincent, Johnny Burnette and Mac Curtis, with some Elvis and Little Richard in there for extra relish. He was in a string of bands from the age of 15, including the Skat Katz, Cat Talk and Shout Sister Shout, all of which broadened his appreciation to include Bo Diddley and Junior Parker, alongside Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and Wilson Pickett. He joined the King Snakes in 1991, in time to make significant contributions to their award-winning sequence of albums and to enjoy the acclaim the band received throughout Britain and Europe. Life constantly renews itself. Paul Lamb and the King Snakes are beginning a new chapter in their ongoing history. New challenges will present themselves and new achievements will strengthen and broaden their appeal to audiences that can distinguish between the manufactured and the real. In a world where the blues is in danger of becoming merely a flavor in a mess of potage, Paul Lamb and the King Snakes stand as a bastion of true blues endeavor.