Here we have a double helping of Lamb – some guest writing about a Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes gig in November 2012 and another appreciation of a gig in February 2013. This follows our earlier blog about Paul’s latest album: www.bluesmatters.com/review/paul-lamb-and-the-king-snakes-the-games-people-play
The below are the thoughts of our guest writer, Glenn Noble, on Paul’s gig at the 100 Club in London on 27 November 2012.
“Following support acts the Mark Pontin Band and the Bare Bones Boogie Band, Paul Lamb and Chad Strentz clambered without ceremony on to the stage of the historic 100 Club already playing “I Got a Woman”. As the rest of the band joined them, they segued into Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and finished up back on the Ray Charles song, a good opening sequence giving Paul an early chance to showcase. A brace of original numbers followed, “Let Me In” – high powered harp blast in to a rocking blues with Paul grooving down on the dance floor – and “Jumpin’ the Harp”, which raised plenty of whoops and cheers from the 100 Club crowd. Having warmed up the room, the band relaxed the mood with the slower “Black Jack Games”, bringing Ryan Lamb a deserved round of applause for his elegant guitar solo; and sustained the mellow feeling on Smokey Robinson’s “You Really Got A Hold On Me” which was a big winner with the audience.
“Turning up the heat once again, Lee Dorsey’s jaunty “Ya Ya” got the treatment, with Paul whooping, growling, yelping and generally letting off steam, inspiring spontaneous outbreaks of dancing. Pulling more goodies from the King Snakes’ catalogue, the easy, loping shuffle of “Mind Games” kept the crowd moving and featured some nice chromatic harp passages. Both this and the softer, country blues-tinged “The Pillow” highlighted Chad’s mellow vocals. Chad’s writing talent was on display in “Depressing Recession”, a lively, Motown-y stomp that included an unusual bass solo and scat-singing break by Rod Demick. Next, a tribute to the recently deceased Joe South in the form of the Grammy award-winning “Games People Play”, which given a hint of a ska backbeat went over hugely as the audience picked up the sing along chorus. Setting up final part of the set, the Big Walter Horton classic “Easy” and Ryan once more came to the fore in the energetic “Come To The Conclusion”. The closing number, “Sweet Sweet Woman” had the whole band literally “getting down” and got pretty much the whole audience down to their knees, which was quite a sight! All in all, this was a hugely entertaining performance by an outstanding blues band under the direction of an undoubted master of the harmonica.”
Thanks to Paul for those words, and to Jennifer Noble for the photo.
February saw Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes at The Hideaway in Streatham, a smart dining establishment. The audience was a perhaps unusual mix for Bluesmen to encounter, something of a family affair, with quite a few children present. All ages clearly enjoyed the songs, starting off with “I’ve Got a Woman”, featuring some lovely vocal switching between Paul and Chad Strentz, both talented vocalists. The Soulful “Let Me In” stood out. Paul, looking like in his cool glasses like Michael Douglas in the movie The American President (with added soul patch) has incredible lung power, as he demonstrated in “The Adopted Child”. Paul’s harmonica was like a musical saw, cutting through the other instruments, showing why he is widely regarded as a top harp man. Another of Paul’s assets is showmanship: the whole set was beautifully judged for the dining audience, and echoed the band’s make up, for they come across as a Blues, Soul, and Rock act – in that order. So, while the audience obeyed Paul’s exhortation to “enjoy the mood, enjoy the food”, the real highlight came toward the end of Paul’s second set. Saying, “the only electricity is coming from me”, Paul toured the audience playing his harmonica unamplified. The diners were mesmerised, and one toddler, when Paul played before him, unleashed a loud peal of laughter. Magical.
Paul Lamb: www.paullamb.com
100 Club: www.the100club.co.uk
Hideaway Club: www.hideawaylive.co.uk