Keep Harping on (Almost Live!)
The story of Albert... Call Me Albert was formed in May 2003 as a "scratch band" from a couple of duo's, 'The Unrehearsed' and 'Snowy and Gridiron', plus a spare drummer, Paul Worthington. The first gig was a charity gig-the "In the Pink" canal walk for breast cancer. The gig was a success and the band kept going. Initially Albert played covers, mainly blues and blues-rock. Gigs came by word of mouth mainly and Albert gigs seemed to be like London busses...none for a few weeks then 3 all at once! The initial members of Albert were: Rob Llewellyn-Feasey-Bass, 12-String, Vocals and Real ale pump! Paul Worthington-Drums and unfortunately backing vocals Marcus Snow-Lead Guitar, backing vocals Rich Carter-Evans-Growl, rhythm guitar, harp, bass This line up was soon augmented by a backing singer, Heidi, who gigged with Albert for a few years, with such a superb blues voice she quickly moved from only backing vocals to sharing the lead vocal duties. A further addition to the line up followed in the form of Martin Thomas playing percussion and all things bangy and shaky. To enable the band to 'hassle' for more gigs a CD was needed so Albert hot footed it to Dylan Fowler's recording studio, studio felin fach, and in one day, recording live put down seven tracks, one original and six covers! The CD was used to show what Albert could do to potential venues...much to Albert's surprise lots of people wanted to buy a copy and one of the favourite tracks was Albert's own, 'New Car Blues'. More gigs and more gigs followed in various places over South Wales and further afield. During the next couple of years Albert members worked on new songs, gradually introducing them in gigs and refining them at practice sessions and jams. A second demo CD was recorded with more Albert and less covers at Dylan's studio with a second backing singer Catrin. Again gigs were 'hassled' on the back of the new CD and things seemed to be going well when... Unfortunately outside pressures meant that Heidi and Catrin left the band before the debut album was recorded. Albert also lost a sound man Steve around the same time...(careless of them...) A new soundman, Dave Bolton a knob twiddler and solderer, was recruited after a long and hard search. It also helped that Dave was a broadcast engineer with thirty-seven years experience! Albert's gigs continued including opening the Blaenavon Blues Festival in 2007and playing Hulme Hall on the Wirral (the Beatles have also played the same venue...oooh!) Then in March of 2008 Albert had nine tracks ready for their debut CD. Again Dylan Fowlers' studio was the obvious choice for a 'live in the studio' recording. The tracks had been gigged so much that the recording was completed in two full days, with a further day for mixing down. The resulting CD is now available through CD Baby. The CD is a mix of styles, but then the band has a mix of musical tastes and influences from the progressive rock loving drummer, through the hard rock guitarist, the blues influenced singer / harp / old tin can player...to the bassist a sort of throwback to the seventies blues / rock / west coast etc... Track one : Man of the Moment. A guitar riff blues/rock song about a hard living man, brought up on the wrong side of the tracks. Track two : Drain the bottle dry. A hard blues song with plenty of harp. Track three : Don't you mess with Mr Blues. A sort of parody of generic blues songs. The guitar riff written in the pasta aisle of a local supermarket (sung into a phone) the lyrics in a pub (and boy doesn't it show!! Don't think Mr Dylan will be too worried!) Track four : Afraid of the Light. A ballad about a man's thoughts about love. Track five : New Car Blues. A blues track about the need for a new automobile! Written by the drummer who drives around in an ancient Renault Clio...enough said. Track six : Sad Song (Song for John). This song was written in memory of a friend from Abercynon. John Bishop (Cross Street - 'the Boeth') was a wonderful man, he was a haemophiliac and during the 1980's he was given factor 8 imported from America. On his last visit to the Heath hospital in Cardiff John was given over 70 units of blood to try to keep him alive. His Liver couldn't take the punishment and, pumped full of morphine, John died. This song is for John and all the other people affected by factor 8 and HIV. Track seven : Bourbon, whiskey and blues. A sort of 'eagles...esque' creation about the perils of booze. Track eight : Don't talk to me about love. A blues track about love or the lack of it... Track nine : The Valleys Shuffle. Wales needs a 'route 66' type of track so here it is. A sort of shuffle...about the journey every young Merthyr boy makes from Merthyr down the Valleys line to Cardiff for a 'few ales'. A sort of coming of age... In the last month there has been an addition to Albert. Marcus (Albert Steptoe) has taken a sabbatical to do missionary work in England...Dorset to be precise. Marcus hasn't left the band but day to day work is tricky...so Shane (Albert o'Balsam Mark 2) Childs joined as lead guitar. Marcus will still play with Albert when commitments allow... Since recording the CD Albert has received a lot more coverage and airplay. Numerous blues radio stations all around the world have played tracks from the new CD including: Blues Radio (UK), Radio Holstenbro (Denmark), BRFM Radio (UK), GTFM Radio (UK), Sugar City Blues Radio (Australia), Radio Bremerhaven (Germany), BluesBeat Radio (Australia), Twin Cities FM (Australia), Spirit of Blues Radio (Australia), Fens Radio (UK), Radio Ung (Norway), Club de Blues radio (Columbia), Radio 88FM (Israel), Capital FM (London UK) to name but a few... Keep Harping on...(Almost Live!) is being reviewed in the September / October edition of Blues Matters! Magazine. Blues Matters! Is The blues magazine in the UK and won 'The Blues Foundation in Memphis' Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA) Award for 2007, in the Print Media Category.' Blues Matters! ^#^has also been described as the Kerrang of the Blues scene by the Sunday Times. More Albert info will appear...