REVIEW – Eddie Martin’s Big Blues Band (with The Little Big Horns) @ LSBC, Devizes – Saturday 8th October 2022

Big Band Blues

Andy Fawthrop

The Long Street Blues Club season continued last night with some great music.

First up was Kelvin Davies (guitar) and Gary Jones (harmonica), a duo making their first visit to the club.  They delivered an absolutely charming set of upbeat numbers, wandering around blues, folk, country and ragtime.  Kelvin’s guitar-picking was first rate, and he was ably supported by some haunting and expressive harmonica work by Gary.  The audience absolutely loved them, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Ian had them back again in the future.  Great entertainment.

Then onto the main business of the night, and we were treated to a rare, if not unique performance.  Not that Eddie Martin is any kind of stranger to Devizes audiences, having played at a number of local venues over the past few years.  What was unusual this time however was the format.  We’ve seen him play solo, and we’ve seen him play fronting his own trio and supporting various blues-based combos, but last night we were treated to a run-out in a “big band” format.  Eddie shared that had actually done this before, but many years ago, but as far as I was concerned, this was a very special “one-off” show.

And how great it was.  Setting up as a 7-piece, fronted by Eddie on guitar and harmonica, the band featured drums, bass, keyboards, trumpet (Phil Storer), trombone (Andy Wrathbone) and saxophone (Patsy Gamble).  And what a lovely fat, rich sound they produced.  It was funky, it was full-on and it carried some real heft.  Paying his usual tributes and homage to such masters as Elmore James, T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson, Muddy Waters and Pee-Wee Ellis, Eddie led the band through two superb sets of funky blues, with some great early 60s dance rhythms.  I was put in mind at times of Southside Johnny & The Asbury Dukes, which in my book is a big compliment.

We had some quite jazzy sections, the musicians playing off each other and taking their well-deserved solos, and all the while looking as if they were thoroughly enjoying themselves.  Eddie himself, turned out in his usual dapper style, with his trademark gravel voice, absolutely led from the front, chatting with the audience between songs and working the room with some call-and-response material.

We had some great-titled songs – “Tough Times”, “Someone’s Making Money, But I Know It’s Not Me”, “The Birds And The Bees” and “With A Big Enough Lever You Can Lift The World”.  The set concluded with a standing ovation and a fully-deserved encore.  Cracking stuff, and a great night’s entertainment.

And if you want to catch Eddie again, he’s playing The Southgate, this time as a trio, on Saturday 22nd October.  I suggest you get yourselves along there – you won’t be disappointed.

Future Long Street Blues Club gigs:

Friday 14th October 2022  Black Sabbitch (Corn Exchange, Devizes)

Saturday 5th November 2022  Robbie McIntosh Band

Friday 11th November 2022   Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse (Corn Exchange, Devizes)

Saturday 19th November 2022   Hardwicke Circus and The Alex Voysey Trio

Friday 23rd December 2022  Gee Baby I Love You


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