You’ve entered the whisky-stained, smoke-filled Roundhouse Public House on a dark British day in the 1950s, and as you ask the bartender for another, just like clockwork, the brushes start up on Leaving You Blues. With eyes closed, you can hear vocal hints of Roy Orbison and dual blues guitar licks. Like a time machine, your eyes open and you find reality is that you are in a north Auckland blues bar listening to the musical stylings of Riverhead Slide.
Slide guitarist Steve Wigglesworth shares the lead vocals with smooth and sassy Gael Ludlow, backed with clean and cleverly crafted drum rhythms from Pete Ludlow, Nigel Major mainly on lead guitar, Murray Finer’s bass, plus guest performers including Mike Jensen on various keys and Walter Bianco delivering some honking saxophone solos. A well-oiled ensemble keeping blues well and truly alive, carrying great energy in a majority of tracks somewhat lifting the typical feeling of being blue. Big Smoke Blues holds jazzy notes with Walter’s subtily seducing saxophone. Wedding Ring reflects some of the Motown gospel tones in Ludlow’s vocals, using low, cooly repetitive lines at the end of the track depicting a close encounter with a revival. Recorded at Roundhead Studios over a long weekend, with Jordan Stone and Ben Malone engineering, the vocal mixing is effective and simple. A great album for the not-so-quiet backyard soiree with family and friends.