Classic blues from British duo...
Dave Kelly and Paul Jones are the blues equivalent of rediscovering that a British holiday can hold as many delights as an exotically flavoured trip abroad.
These two Blues Band stalwarts have been dipping into their duo side project for a few years now and their enjoyment at rediscovering the joys of both pre-war and post war blues comes across in an enthusiastic show.
As Harry Shapiro's excellent liner notes mention, Dave has long immersed himself in the pre-war stuff, while Paul Jones came to the blues from a post Chicago angle. And the two blues aficionados strike a perfect balance between the two historic periods as well as seamlessly working in a few of their own original compositions.
Given that this is actually volume two of 'An Evening With Paul Jones & Dave Kelly' the set reflects an increasingly busy date sheet as they explore their unplugged niche in front of an enthusiastic audience equally keen to share an enlightening exploration of the duo's blues roots.
There's also another pleasant surprise in the shape of a pre-gig interview - not mentioned on the DVD box - which although at times hampered by the fact that it sounds like it was recorded in a bathroom, is an interesting prequel to the gig.
Dave and Paul talk knowledgeably about some of their musical antecedent with Dave referencing his late, great blues singing sister Joanne, while Paul outlines the grim end to one of his harp playing heroes Noah Lewis.
The gig itself is both relaxed and intimate but has an number of inspirational moments, none more so than Paul's solo vocal and harp piece, 'Room and Board' and Dave's 'D Day Blues' - originally penned ten years ago for the 50th anniversary of D day.
Dave adds some lovely picking on Blind Lemon Jefferson's's 'Please See That My Grave is Kept Clean', a song that has added poignancy as this year Jefferson grave was finally cleaned up and accorded the status of the Blind Lemon Memorial cemetery.
And contrary to some of the subject matter this duo gig is full of good humour, occasional artist and audience banter and of course some fine duo interplay especially on Jones's 'Noah Lewis Blues' from the Blues Band 'Ready' album.
My personal favourite is 'Strangers Blues' which I came across via Bo Ramsey, but in the hands of this duo, his signature version is superbly emulated.
'An Evening with Paul Jones and Dave Kelly' is a thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended hour in the company of the best in the business.
Review by Pete Feenstra