Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Jensen Interceptors - Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, 17 April 2015

The Jensen Interceptors? Never heard of ‘em.  Baby Isaac?  Nope, them neither.  Jordan and Hillis – who?
But you know what?  It really doesn’t matter.
Jordan and Hillis deliver a dose of foot-stomping enthusiasm on acoustic 12 string and harp, concluding with a rousing ‘Down By The Riverside’ and a raucous ‘Reelin’ and Rockin’’.  Seeing Baby Isaac then take the stage, one could imagine a Blues Brothers-type slice of dialogue going on: “We’ve got a sunburst finish Gibson ES335, a stand-up bass, a harp player with a Green Bullet
Baby Isaac - on a mission
mic, a singer with a voice that can rattle the glassware behind the bar, we’re wearing brothel creepers, and we’ve got shades on indoors.  Let’s do it.”  And do it they do, with a gallus performance of boogie woogie, rock’n’roll and jump blues and a commitment to enjoying themselves and putting on a show.  The only down side was their bass player taking a bad turn that curtailed their set, though thankfully he was himself again after a few minutes.
The Jensen Interceptors blast into action with Slim Harpo’s ‘Dynamite’, followed swiftly by ‘Bo Diddley’.  By the time they’ve cranked out the original ‘I’m Buzzin’’ (‘I’m buzzing like a bee on Ecstasy’) and a Wolf-style ’44 Blues’ their Chicago R&B intentions are clear, and the joint is, as they say, jumping.  Led by main man Gary Martin on harp and vocals, they tear through their set with gusto.  Jim Walker on drums (unhampered by playing Baby Isaac’s kit) and Rod Kennard on bass (previously covered by this blog playing with Blues ‘N’ Trouble) roll out irresistible rhythms, over which Richard O’Donnell lays variations on keys and Johnny Bruce coolly delivers classic R&B guitar.
Interceptin'  a damn good time
They belt through classics like ‘Born In Chicago’ and ‘Whiskey Headed Woman’ with evident relish, getting youngster Harry Noble up to join them on guitar for a number, while Martin also straps on a six-string to add slide to their own ‘Outta Here’.  By the time they reach another Slim Harpo number, ‘Shake Your Hips’, the title is prophetic.
When you get down to it, the blues isn’t about fame, cd sales, I-IV-V progressions or 12 bars.  I imagine that back in the day in the South Side of Chicago, what they cared about was a damn good night out.  And tonight ticked that box.

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