Arts and Culture

Review: A History Of Early Blues

Posted on: Mon 18 Feb 2019

By David Cavanagh

Presented by blues trio Cal Williams Jnr on guitar, Canadian Lightnin’ Will Kalinderis on harp (harmonica) and Kory Horwood on double bass, A History of early Blues explores the early blues music and songs of the Mississippi delta.

The venue, The Tin Shed at The Wheaty, rapidly became very steamy, and it wasn’t the Mississippi blues, as the day had maxed out at 37C and there’s no airconditioning to speak of. In keeping with music gig tradition the set started late; in fact half an hour late, which had many of the audience checking their tickets, which quite clearly stated a 5.30 start, which the capacity crowd had arrived for. Not a good start. Once the set got going it was maybe possible to forgive the tardy start, as the level of musicianship was exceptional, with Cal’s guitar picking and will’s wailing harp being pushed along by Kory’s driving bass line, and each member of the trio got to feature instrument solos throughout. I was however, wondering when the ‘history’ was going to kick in. Part way through the set, the trio were joined on stage by Adelaide bluesman Chris Finnen, who once again reinforced his claim to be S.A.’s, if not Australia’s leading blues guitarist.

Despite the Fringe Guide advertising this show as 90 minutes long, it concluded on the hour, although Cal did announce that the band would continue playing for a while longer. And there was no history, no story telling placing the music and songs in their context of time and place. As a blues jam session this set was outstanding. As a history of early blues, it was lacking.

A History Of Early Blues plays one more set on Sunday 24th February at The Wheatsheaf Hotel, George Street Thebarton. Check your Fringe guide for details.


David Cavanagh

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