I have to confess, having worked with Mike and his writing partner Paul Gorton, I find it difficult to understand how they can create ‘the blues’. It is a mystery to me, as they are both the most upbeat jolly people you could want to meet. Don’t get me wrong this music isn’t ‘my baby left me’ style blues, but still, it is not I would expect them to produce. That’s not to say I don’t like it either, as I have to confess that it has really grown on me. The EP has a very Clapton/Santana vibe to it and whilst it isn’t fast-paced it has some truly amazing guitar work and some excellent sax/harp parts. Mike is the kind of musician who surrounds himself by top-end Manchester talent to make sure the music he creates is something people will enjoy, and I did.
My favourite tracks are Good Vibes Only and The Way She Walks. Good Vibes is very ‘happy-clappy’ and is the type of song that the crowd at a gig could get behind. It has some really top drawer sax work and some really sparkly guitars. Is there such a thing as Happy Blues? The Way She Walks is one of those tracks that has a screaming guitar intro which always makes me pay attention and has great interplay/call and response type, solos. The next track for me is Mississippi Missy. It’s a simple acoustic guitar track but it has really deep south, duelling banjos type feel to it, which is interesting coming from a diehard Mancunian.
It’s not all positive though. I certainly think the order these tracks have been released is completely wrong. The way she walks is a big fast paced tune and should certainly have been the opening track of this E.P. Go big or go home I say. Fallin’, the first track, is a slow traditional blues number and whilst the guitar solo is epic, the track doesn’t draw me into the Ep as much as I want to be. Learn to love again, Track 2, is my least favourite of the EP which made me personally want to give up at that point, although if I am honest the people I have played it to have said it is this is their favourite, I guess you will have to decide yourselves.
Mike and his hired guns are starting a mini tour of the North West in March so you can catch them out on the road as well as listening to the E.P., but I for one will be going to one of the gigs as this has definitely reignited my desire to listen to the slow hand type genre again.