Mike Vernon may be a new name for many but he’s been in the music industry for many years, having founded Blues record label Blue Horizon which released singles and albums by acts including Rory Gallagher, Paul Kossoff, Christine McVie and Peter Green. As well as running the record label during the late 60s, Mike Vernon has produced albums for acts including John Mayalls bluesbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, Ten years after, David Bowie, Focus and Level 42. He also sang with a couple of bands during the 70s and 80s.
Now he’s finally decided to try fronting his own band. Given his history you’d be right in assuming this is going to be a blues related album, but he’s picked a sound that I wasn’t expecting – it’s not the sort of Blues we hear a lot these days – it’s got more of a 50s feel and probably as much rock and roll as it is blues. Think Fats Domino as an idea of what to expect.
It does vary – some songs are more Bluesy than others – “Old man dreams” being a good example. It’s still got piano and saxophone, but the slower pace makes a big difference. In contrast, opening track, “We’re going to rock the joint” is more of a rock and roll song. It’s a good mix of songs, with the amount of Blues and the amount of rock and roll varying between songs, so while some are one or the other, most are a mix of the two. Check out a couple of examples….
(I don’t know why I love you) But I do:
Hate to leave (hate to say goodbye):
The songs are mainly around the 4 minute mark, and have a fairly brisk pace which adds to that rock and roll feel. The saxophones really liven things up and there’s a real fun feel to things. The 50s/60s influenced sound here isn’t something you’ll hear many bands playing these days but that actually works in Mike Vernon’s favour since it helps this album stand out from the crowd. A great album that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to.
“Beyond the blues horizon” will be released on 7th September 2018
1. We’re going to rock the joint
3. Heart & soul
4. I can fix it
5. (I don’t know why I love you) But I do
6. Your mind is on vacation
7. Old man dreams
8. Jump up
9. Red letter day
10. A love affair with the blues
11. Hate to leave (hate to say goodbye)