Whoa, hold the phone! Kick out the jams, brothers and sisters, there’s a riot going on! Where’s that volume control – does it go up to 11? Turn that sucker up!
Er, yeah. All of which is to say that with At High Voltage Stephen Dale Petit has delivered seven tracks and 36 minutes of scorching r’n’b’rock’n’roll, that comes roaring out of the blocks like a jet-propelled hot rod at full throttle.
Picture this. The Pirates have recruited some snarling hybrid of Iggy Pop and Liam Gallagher on vocals, and summoned up the ghost of Lee Brilleaux on harp. Then they’ve limbered up for a live show by getting well and truly dosed up on amphetamines and adrenaline, while listening to Motorhead and MC5 just to get in the mood.
To be honest, until now I was only vaguely aware of Stephen Dale Petit as an occasional columnist for The Blues Magazine. Turns out he’s been an American-guitar-fiend-in-London since the 90s. Recorded live at the High Voltage festival in 2010, this set finds Petit teamed with Pretty Things Dick Taylor on bass and Jack Greenwood on drums, and Laurent Mouflier (now with The Wang Dang Doodle) on harp. Previously a limited edition vinyl release, now it’s available in other formats. And what you get is a performance with an astonishing level of intensity.
The combination of originals and covers opens with ‘3 Gunslingers’, a high-revving, head-on collision between Dr Feelgood and Iggy’s ‘Lust For Life’. Mouflier blows up a storm on the following ‘It’s All Good’ (which it is). There’s an incendiary version of ‘Summertime Blues’, while penultimate track ‘People Talk’ is a delicious shot of boogie.
The set closes with an extended version of ‘Shakin’ All Over’, which Petit introduces as “Johnny Kidd and the Pirates – circa 2010”, and which captures all of the raw energy that made the original a classic.
Sometimes the blues is about great songs. Sometimes it’s about astonishing guitar prowess. At High Voltage is all about primal energy. Get it. Now.
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