A British Blue Collar Blues

By Tom Baldino

The October edition of Blue Collar Blues, hosted by The Incinerators, gave us some fine local blues, as well as some excellent blues and rockabilly from across the pond.  Joseph Vincent Riggio had been in contact with Ruzz Guitar’s Blues Review who hail from Bristol, England, as does one of the member venue, The Chubby Pickle owners, Craig Andrews, who proudly wore his Bristol football jersey that night. They were scheduled to perform in August, but a change in their tour schedule pushed the date to October.

The Incinerators started off the evening with a batch of original tunes, many of which we hadn’t heard before. They opened with “Bump,” an instrumental which featured nice solos from John Fernandez on guitar and Gary Neuwirth on harp. Miss Kimmie joined them on a crowd favorite, “Discarded” with her vocals sounding as good as her stunning red boots looked! The slow blues “No Longer Needed” was a minor cord gem, and Rich Coccoli, with his semi-hollow body guitar, added a sweet solo on “Slow Burn.” The song, “Talk to Me,” not to be confused with the Southside Johnny song of the same name, has a great hook and got positive feedback from the crowd. Gary again provided some nice harp on what was supposed to be the final tune, “Showdown.” Joseph asked them to do a few more since they finished early, and they lit into a great version of “Mercury Blues,” a song made famous by Steve Miller, followed by a fun take on Keb Mo’s “As Soon As I Get Paid.” They ended with a swampy version of “Shakin’ All Over,” a song written by Johnny Kidd, which went to #1 on the British charts in 1960. This band needs to get that new disc out sooner than later to showcase these great tunes!

After a short intermission, Ruzz Guitar took the stage with his Blues Revue; Ruzz on guitar, Zachary Evans, who we later found out is Ruzz’s brother on bass, and David Danger on drums. They proceeded to play an electrifying 90-minute set of blues and blues-infused rockabilly which had the full house of musicians and fans cheering for more. After limbering up with the original instrumental “Swinging G String,” their great ensemble work and individual talents let us know we knew we were in for a special night. The Lloyd Price penned “Baby Please Come Home” was given their own treatment without straying from the original. With his 50’s styled outfit, complete with pompadour, he looked like a younger version of Sonny Kenn, with guitar chops to go with the look! The Bo Diddley number “She’s Fine” was a driving boogie that had everyone movin’ and groovin’.   J.B. Lenior’s “Mama Talk To Your Daughter” was a rocking tour de force with stanza’s of “Wipeout” and the Batman theme thrown in for good measure. “Jump, Jive an’ Wail,” made popular by Brian Setzer was equal to or better than the original. The only thing they were missing was the stand up bass. They also did a smokin’ hot version of Bo’s “Who Do You Love,” which included the theme from James Bond, which brought the house down. They closed with Big Walter Price’s 1956 “Pack Fair & Square,” again showing their mastery of the rockabilly style.

I make it a point not to go online to listen to bands I’m not familiar with so I don’t have any preconceived notions. In this case I’m glad I followed that rule because I doubt any recorded versions of what we heard could have been as good. The Pickle liked them so much they are bringing them back next June when they tour and with a horn section!