1. Bottom Of The Sea
2. Hang Around Here
3. I'm Ready
4. Don't Tread On Me
5. Everybody's In The Mood
6. The Dream
7. Working Class White Boy
8. People Get Ready
9. 9 Françoise
Neil Warden is based in Edinburgh, and has been playing and recording for over 40 years. He has performed live at international festivals as well composing music for film and video soundtracks in a broad spectrum of musical genres.
He has worked and played with the cream of Scottish musicians including the likes of Tam White, Maggie Bell, Jim Diamond and many more. On this new release, “Underneath The Deep Blue” he displays his mastery of the guitar – especially the Weissenborn lap steel – and is joined in a trio by fellow Scottish musicians Gary Martin (vocals and harmonica) and Jim Walker (drums and percussion).
The album may be short in both length and tracks but is hugely enjoyable from beginning to end, and mixes primarily Blues, with some jazzy and rootsy grooves from three skilled operators, on a selection of covers and original numbers.
The music starts in fine style with the longest number on offer, the swampy Blues of “Bottom Of The Sea” - a tale of murder and more - which rides on some lovely guitar from Neil Warden and features the excellent vocals of Gary Martin and his impressive harmonica playing; the following “Hang Around Here” is equally engaging with its smoky, jazzy groove – with telling contributions from all three musicians.
The trio bring new life to a few Blues and Soul standards – firstly a slow, brooding take on Willie Dixon's often-covered “I'm Ready”, with tasteful licks-a-plenty from Warden; a delightful up tempo romp through Howlin' Wolf's “Everybody's In The Mood”; and also a quite lovely “People Get Ready” - the Curtis Mayfield classic, with heartfelt vocal from Gary Martin and Neil Warden adding some delightful Weissenborn guitar, - with Jim Walker's tasteful, unfussy work accompanying the two soloists, as he does throughout.
The late, Scottish legend Tam White is covered with a funky take on his “Working Class White Boy” and Neil Warden again takes to the Weissenborn on the Blues of “Don't Tread On Me No More”, penned by him and Gary Martin – the guitar gives this a real Ry Cooder feel, and it is a stand out amongst many.
One of the best albums I've heard this year and it comes highly recommended!
Photo - Waysted Photography
Website - www.neilwarden.com/music
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/neilwardenblues/
Review - Grahame Rhodes