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BLUES MIX Biding My Time Bluesdust (2008)

Blues Mix are almost a benchmark for the kind of accomplished blues that you can find in our capital city if you have the enthusiasm to seek it out. 'Biding My Time' is almost an apt title as it might just refer to the band's patience and resilience in trying to make some headway with virtually zero media help or record company support; But it's their live feel that comes across strongly on a dozen tracks of which all but Chuck Willis's ' Feel So bad' are self penned.

Unusually for a blues band, Blues Mix feature a keyboard player Bob Morgan who doubles on sax and who contributes busy runs to flesh out a mix of shuffles, funky grooves and blues. Prolific song writer Rob Fleming also adds some neat guitar flourishes in a Lowell George vein as evidenced by 'Heart and Soul' on which the ubiquitous Bob Morgan also tinkles away at the ivories.

Fleming has an earthy soulful voice not unlike Colin Cooper form Climax Blues but without quite the rich baritone that would mark him out as different. The band slip into an Average White Band style funky groove on 'Got My Eye On You' complete with a lovely little sax motif, and later extend the funk factor on the title track which proves to be another mellow groove.

They further dredge up a very 60's feel to the slow blues 'All Gone', again with a sax led theme, but things become a little cluttered on Bob Morgan's 'Do Together' which creates an opening tension that is never clearly resolved.

The band seem far happier on the mellower funky grooves of 'How Many Times' and the funky jam feel of the closing 'Don't Want To Lose It All', which is arguably the album's best track. Curiously the track is timed for over 8 minutes but only runs half that time, meaning there is a full four minute gap before the tic-toc drum and piano led cocktail lounge instrumental outro. It's a nice idea but I bet not many listeners will hang on to the very end to hear this clever little end piece.

In conclusion you get the feeling that 'Don't Want To Lose It All' is the kind of outing that Blues Mix love to play live. They seem to relish the chance to set up a groove before exploring all possibilities and then blowing to their hearts content. In short if you enjoy your blues extemporised and played with joy de vivre, Blues Mix's 'Biding My Time' will certainly be interest.


Review by Pete Feenstra

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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