Shortstuff – Big Blue

Album Review | Blonde on Blonde | Review by Liam Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5

British folk club circuit favourites since the mid-70s, Dave Thomas and Hugh Gregory – better known as Shortstuff – have finally been given the opportunity to release a selection of their archive recordings via their new collection, Big Blue. The acoustic bluesmen recently uncovered a selection of long-lost tapes from their early days in a London attic and, by adding a few recordings from the early 90s along with some gentle mixing, the spirit of this fine blues duo has been forever preserved on a short but utterly engaging disc. The material would please any self-respecting blues fan. Included here are pleasing covers of songs by JJ Cale “Magnolia”, John Mayall “Sitting In The Rain” and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee “Love’s a Disease” as well as a haunting, string-accompanied version of the traditional Honeybabe. There’s also a dapper take on the Dan Hicks number “O’Reilly At The Bar” which features some fine guitar improv, a slinking bassline and a snappy little snare. With some flavoursome acoustic solos, chugging rhythm guitar and honey-sweet vocals, this is a record which, after four decades, we’re fortunate to finally have available to us.