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"This double CD serves both as a treat for existing fans and an excellent introduction to the band for newcomers. "
Blues Matters!


Front Porch Swing 2011

Reviews

" Come take a good long walk into the heart of the twelve-bar
in the company of Spikedrivers! You must get it!!"
ZICAZINE - FR

"...proves that quality does not necessarily mean
power and technical demonstrations.
Tres bon! "
Paris on the Move - FR

"Every time you do a new CD I say "it's even better than the last one"
This one is no exception."

Peter Beckley

"The CD has all of the elements that make you stand out from the crowd, excellent songs, played with real passion and sensitivity, with a hint of humour and a touch of sadness."
Robin and Angela Vick

"This set proves without any doubt at all you are the best band in the land at roots and blues music. I tell everyone your version of The Stones 'No Expectations' is far better than the original and to have a new live version here proves my point even more so, 'Blues to the River', 'Oklahoma Stardust Blues' are just beautifully played and having witnessed most of this set at live gigs this for me makes this an absolutely essential Spikedrivers set."
Pete Clack

"After a particularly trying day it was wonderful to sit and listen to the three of you playing. There are lots of favourites on there. As my husband said it was like having you all in our front room."
Janet Manners

 


R2 – Rock & Reel
March/April 2012

This trio has been plying its trade for nearly fifteen years and probably deserves more from its committed investment to the blues.  This double-CD is a slight side step from the band’s usual runaway rhythmic fodder as it is a live recording of an acoustic evening from way back in January 2010 at the Hawth Theatre in Crawley.


Ben Tyzack, Constance Redgrave and Maurice McElroy combine to make sweetest blues sound mellow and calming. Rotating the vocals, the gentle approach also suits their individual roots of London, Los Angeles and Belfast. This cool ambience stretches across the acoustic playing of the traditional standards John Henry and Broke Down and Hungry. They then head those off at the pass with their own compositions.

Constance Redgrave’s You Don’t Care hits the mark for the aura of smoky jazz diva only to equalled by the low-down hobo blues for Tyzack in Garbage Man Blues.  The second CD is more of the same – tracks by Tampa Red and Jimmy Reed sitting comfortably next to their own material

Gareth Hayes

 


Blues in Britain July 2011
Rating: 8


The Spikedrivers have long been a popular live draw and this release shows why.  The three piece of guitarist Ben Tyzack, bass player Constance Redgrave and drummer Maurice McElroy all sing and cover a number of genres over the two CDs of this collection.  The release features songs by Fred McDowell, JJ Cale, Jimmy Reed, Taj Mahal, and Jagger and Richards, as well as their own distinctive originals.  The close harmony singing on songs such as “You Got To Move” and “One Way Gal” shows a lot of care has gone into what they do, and the musicianship is of a more advanced level.  The guitar playing of Ben Tyzack in particular is technically adept without being flashy, able to accompany himself on his own compositions “Beyond a Silver Moon” and leading from the front of the other instrumentals “Diddly Goat Pot” and “Urban Love Boogie”.


Strong support comes from Constance Redgrave and Maurice McElroy although each is also given their own time in the spotlight with their own songs, which are a good mix with the rest of the evening’s music.  The audience is shown to be attentive to the music, respectfully listening until they are allowed to show their appreciation.  The recording is of an unusually high quality for a live recording and is the next best thing to hearing them live.  For fans of quality blues, jazz and acoustic music in general, this is worth much further investigation. Rating: 8

Ben Macnair


Amazon - SPIKEDRIVERS FRONT PORCH AND SWINGING. LIVE AND BRILLIANT.
15 Mar 2011
5 Stars
By pete clack - See all my reviews

OK You take the best blues and roots band there is, record them live and you have the best acoustic set by anyone anywhere in 2011. This trio produce the best with each successive CD release, and this one is the stuff of truly classic albums. I’ve enjoyed most of these songs by the band live and enjoyed every second.  Ben Tyzack is the best slide guitarist in the UK possesses a great blues voice, and alongside the bass magic and again superb vocals of Constance Redgrave and drums by Maurice McElroy also a fine vocalist make them such a fine live act who happen also to produce constantly brilliant albums every time out.


Anyway to this set, which may I say has superb artwork even before you open the CD case, which contains two of the finest played and sung discs you'll hear all year by anyone. Songs that include 'You Gotta Move', 'John Henry' from their recent studio set 'Seven', the beautiful 'Blues To The River' 'Candy Man' Ben's quite superb song 'Guided By Spirits', JJ Cales 'Clyde' by Maurice the playing on 'Oklahoma Stardust Blues' alone is worth the price of the album, to quite the best version ever of The Rolling stones 'No Expectations' even the original is to me not as good as the Spikedrivers version here.
In all 21 tracks that add up to one quite classic release I guarantee you'll play again and again.

If you bought their 'Live At High Barn' a couple of years back this is sure to be added to that one which made every 'best of blues list' in 2009 this one will definitely be in the lists for 2011 and more than deserves to be. Not too many albums come out in any year of such pure quality as this one does. Five stars and more for a truly wonderful release by one of the best bands around, do go see them live, you’ll be a fan very quickly yourself. Fabulous release!


pete clack


Blues Matters! - issue 60- June 2011

Having played together for a decade, the Spikedrivers, comprising Ben Tyzack, Maurice McElroy and Constance Redgrave chose to release their first live acoustic album. This double CD serves both as a treat for existing fans and an excellent introduction to the band for newcomers.  Recorded at the Hawth, Crawley, the repertoire is primarily self-composed, with the occasional cover thrown in. 

It opens with the familiar slide guitar of You Got to Move, not dissimilar to the version on “Sticky Fingers”, but enhanced with Redgrave’s backing vocals adding to the gospel feel.  John Henry is a distinctive Spikedrivers update of the common theme of Blues folklore; folowed by a fine modern country blues  Garbage Man Blues  before another song mined via the Rolling Stones is Robert Wilkins That’s No Way To Get Along sung by Tyzack and Redgrave.  Blues to the River is an atmospheric standout and one of Spikedrivers finest, before the band get into a delightful groove on Broke Down And Hungry.

There’s no dip in quality on the second disc which features a brace of solo performances from Tyzack; Beyond A Silver Moon demonstrating his prowess with a hollow body acquired through passing his early years in the deep south of the United States.  Laidback Oklahoma Stardust Blues perhaps is the strongest vocal performance by Tyzack, while McElroy proves some interesting percussion rhythm to Diddly Goat Pot.

This superb collection of roots and Blues is rounded off perfectly with the Spikedrivers exceptional version of the Rollin Stones No Expectations.


Duncan Beattie 


Paris on the move (FR)- May 11
Original French

"tres bon "

Recorded 'live' at the Hawth Theatre in Crawley (UK), this package includes two CDs under the title Front Porch Swing. It is a subtle and beautiful mixture of blues standards, and original compositions which show that the trio Spikedrivers provide the perfect link between the roots of the blues and the modern blues of today. The unique sound of the pieces performed here will not allow you to place them within a particular time frame. The original compositions could have been more than one hundred years old, and titles like You Got To Move or John Henry less than five years ...? Supposedly the third track Midnight Mademoiselle was written to appeal to the French public and get the band invited to play in France  (but is this the real truth ...?), and was written by Ben Tyzack, who also plays guitar and harmonica. The trio all sing as well as play with Maurice McElroy on drums and various percussion, and Constance Redgrave on percussion and bass.

Another surprise on this double CD is the very open and rich musical palette of the trio. The second CD contains Clyde by JJ Cale, No Expectations by the Rolling Stones and  Little Red Hen by Taj Mahal , and all revised to make them their own. They coexist perfectly with Constance Redgrave’s You Do not Care and Guided By Spirits by Ben Tyzack.

A highlight is not only the excellent recording quality, but also and especially the musical quality of these three artists that give a glow and intimate lighting to both the traditional Candy Man, Bright Lights Big City by Jimmy Reed or Love With A Feelin by Tampa Red. Everything is sung and played with such delicacy and finesse that one could almost take this double album as a reference to prove that quality does not necessarily mean power and technical demonstrations.

 


Frankie Bluesy Pfeiffer
www.myspace.com/frankiebluesyParis-Move
Blues Magazine (Fr) & Blues Matters (UK)


ZICAZINE (FR) - April 11
Original French

Becoming famous throughout Europe thanks to a number of concerts both in theatres and festivals and with no less than seven albums, the US/UK band Spikedrivers have this time decided to take their adventure a bit further. They have provided not only a double live album but gave it a largely acoustic sound; a sign that nothing is ever definitive musically and may surprise their fans. It is a pleasure to which Ben Tyzack on vocals, guitars and harmonica, Maurice McElroy on drums, percussion and vocals and Constance Redgrave on bass, percussion and vocals would never deny them. Recorded during two sets performed at the Hawth Theatre in Crawley, Front Porch Swing mixes many blues standards, original compositions and even some tasty unreleased material. Come take a good long walk into the heart of the twelve-bar in the company of Spikedrivers!

What is the improbable and yet so natural relationship that can bring about within a single CD Mississippi Fred McDowell, JJ Cale, Jimmy Reed, Tampa Red, Taj Mahal and even the Rolling Stones? You're not dreaming. This trio managed the feat of combining all these influences into a double album steeped with infinite delicacy. A CD where John Henry, Broke Down And Hungry and Candy Man move colourfully to mix with original compositions such as Midnight Mademoiselle, Goodbye Mr. Blues, Diddly Goat Pot and also some classics such as You Got To Move, "Bright Lights, Big City or No Expectations.

Nothing can touch the sense of fullness and completion that emerges from this CD with its great sense of feeling and perfect production, an album where the artwork breathes harmony and the talent of these three musicians could overflow at any moment. Gently added percussion, guitar slides responding admirably to known arpeggios, interplays between the voices but also between all the people who contribute to the CD, nothing is missing in Front Porch Swing. This album may surprise the groupís long-time fans; but its charm cannot be questioned. You must get it!

Fred Delforge


 

 

 

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