24 November 2017 (released)
04 November 2017
I’ve seen, and enjoyed, Sam Kelly’s Station House a fair few times over the years but I would say that this is the best incarnation of the band yet.
For those who don’t know about Station House, they are a Blues band but their music has a really strong groove and funk element and they pick up their influences from all over. They were formed by Sam Kelly back in the ‘90’s to fulfil a residency at the Station Tavern but the current band has really been doing the rounds since 2009.
I was actually quite taken aback that it has taken so long to produce their debut album but, for sure, the wait has been justified and this has a wonderful sense of punch and joi de vivre about it.
Right from the opening notes of Labi Sifrre’s ‘The Vulture’, they hit a tight funk groove with Kelly’s drums and Jerome Marcus’ congas riffing against Richard Sadler’s tight bass lines and Paul Jobson’s vocals underpinned by his piano and keys. One of those tracks where you can’t help but follow the groove, dance and spin and just dig the music. If this was the only good thing on the album it would still be worth 3 stars but there is much more to come.
The groove continues with the sublime ‘Trippin’ Over The Wire’ and then they take a much harder left turn into ‘Howl Into The Midnight’ featuring Rowena Poole’s vocals and some stunning guitar from Tony Qunta. All through the rock you still get Sadler’s bass nagging away and holding the song on track.
Geoff Achison’s lovely ‘Little Big Man’ gets a reggae treatment and really demonstrates another side to the song while Jobson’s piano breaks with an almost latino flavour. Unexpected but sublime.
The album features 6 tracks written by the late T W Henderson including one of the best tracks on the album ‘In-City Blues’ – smoky and funky, redolent with emotion and a jazzy feel – and ‘Song For My Father’.
There aren’t any original numbers here - but engineer/mixer Christopher Pelisse wrote ‘Mr Fake’ (on which he also plays guitar) – but it doesn’t matter because their approach is fresh and adds to all the songs they cover.
A long time coming but Sam Kelly’s Station House delivered a positive stunner of a debut.