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Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 21 October 2006

Far removed from the sweaty club show put on by the young blues rock upstarts The Answer, it was the plush grandeur of the Usher Hall to see two stalwarts of the British blues scene.

First up was Stan Webb with his latest incarnation of Chicken Shack. I had forgoten what a remarkably good guitarist Stan was and found myself salivating slightly during set highlights "The Thrill Has Gone", dedicated to his four ex wives and the Lowell Fulsom/n classic "Reconsider Baby", where he put on an exemplary display of slide guitar. Even better he was in fine voice hitting some mighty fine notes.

Come the interval I was mighty surprised to find John Mayall sitting all alone at the merchandise stand which the Usher Hall had seen fit to hide around a corner, outwith the sight of mortal man. Even worse, I'd no cash on me to brighten up his evening and scuttled back to my seat a bit sharpish.

Just as well, for the Bluesbreakers were just about to get started on their brief solo set and if I thought Stan Webb was a dab hand on guitar, well Buddy Whittington soon put me right. For he is one of the finest blues guitarists ever to have taken to a stage.

Now there have been a few half decent guitarists through the ranks of the Bluesbreakers you may have heard of - Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Coco Montoya and Walter Trout - but during the course of the night Buddy was doing things to his guitar that must be illegal in several countries.

After Mr Mayall arrived on stage, he set out to prove that he still has what it takes in the month before his 73rd birthday with a string of pearls reaching right back to classic albums like 'Blues From Laurel Canyon' and 'Crusade' - 'Walking On Sunset ' and 'Oh, Pretty Woman' respectively - before coming right up to date with 'Burned Bridges' from his latest 'Road Dogs' CD. A lengthy blues jam in the middle of the set came the whole band room to shine but it was all over far too soon for the 1000+ crowd who'd turned out to watch a legend in action.

If you get a chance to see him while he's in the UK, grab it with both hands. Check out the tour dates here - Website

Review by Stuart A Hamilton

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