The Bad Day Blues Band

2021

This release should come with one of those stickers that slightly pointlessly started to appear on records and CDs back in the day warning about lyrical content (I wonder what the sticker for 'Derek & Clive Live' would have said if they’d been around earlier; “occasional lack of swearing” maybe?), although in the case of these Bad Day boys the sticker would need to advise caution about listening to them while driving as the aural onslaught of the opening tracks of 'Table By The Wall' will undoubtedly result in safe speed limits being exceeded.

It’s high octane, frenetically powerful stuff that gets the pulses racing from track one, an outstanding cover of Sam and Dave’s 'Hold On (I’m comin’)' that epitomises their sound, displaying an urgent New Wave style high energy with full on guitar riffing and power chords abounding. The riffing is echoed by the excellent harmonica work from Sam Spranger, up at the high end of the register.

The opening tracks all follow the same vein. This is really good but, to be honest, the harp and guitar are played at full tilt throughout these and it sounds like they’re competing for the same space, which makes for a bit of a messy ear ache of a sound on occasion. You can’t fault the full-on approach but a little restraint here and there would have worked better.

The first break from the blitzkrieg approach doesn’t come until track 5, 'Be Careful What You Wish For', which is hardly a lullaby! What works well on this and other later tracks is the space that the harmonica and guitar leave space for each other. 'Hurricane' sums up what the album is all about; it’s punchy in yer face riffing again but more chord based from the guitar this time and the harp and guitar work in harmony like two sweaty builders sledge hammering through a wall.

They even take a breather mid song with some stops for an interesting extended middle eight that builds into a crescendo of a blistering slide solo from Nick Peck. Very nice! The remaining tracks are all good, powerful but a little more controlled. 'Jump' has the most traditional Blues structure but played with everything on 11. Almost as if to demonstrate a bit of diversity, the last track 'Luna Rooms' is a bit of a Rockabilly Country romp. This is a strong collection and full credit to the band but, in the absence of variation, perhaps enjoyed best in small doses to get the full benefit.

Simon Green

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