Sax was never deemed a rock weapon yet two men, Mel Collins and Dick Heckstall-Smith, took it from jazz into blues - and beyond to prove it is. In the early Sixties Dick played a prominent role in Alexis Korner's BLUES INC., the band that spawned a whole generation of British blues, all these 'friends' belong to. And this album is a celebration of swinging London scene, an event which in the last years always happens under Pete Brown's guidance. Now, Pete not only produced but also co-wrote half of the tracks and lent his distinctive growl to sneaky call-and-response of "Grind, Glitch And Snit", a top-notch boogie jive. Curious from historical point of view though, comes a ghost from the past, namely "Spooky But Nice" that Heckstall-Smith composed with Alexis' cohort Cyril Davies. Driven by Mick Taylor's slide running across waltzing rhythm and Heckstall-Smith's tenor and soprano couple, the tune is as modern as it gets.
There's another proof in "(Dix WWW) Swamp", where - a rare occasion! - Master's voice is heard, moanin' and groanin' on the organ swirl under brass shining light. Altogether, it's an effortless work from the opener, Muddy's "Rollin' And Tumblin'", elegantly built on interplay between Eddie Martin's steel, underpinned by COLOSSEUM leader Jon Hiseman's light strokes, and Dick's sax interwoven with harmonica that Paul Jones plays, Paul's singing seems to be the best in years. Then Rob McCalough takes over the lead for "Millenium Blues", a tribute to uncles Ray and Waters - and saxophone soars from the heavy Clem Clempson's guitar rain straight to the sky to fall down, bouncing, in joyous funk of "Watching Your Every Move", LEVEL 42's Gary Husband adding his swaggering rolls to it, as he did for "Lessons In Love".
They say, a calm comes after the storm, and who can be more pacifying than sad Peter Green, musing over so aptly titled "Cruel Contradictions". Dick's guests cherry-picking appears impeccable, and shadows of "Man Of The World" and "Drifting" in this tune are very poignant, even when Green's guitar and harp step back to let the ringmaster to the fore. That's the blues. Beyond, then? Aerially relaxed comes "Angie Baby" free bop filled with Clem's loops. Amidst all these colours it's only a pity that Jack Bruce, mildly intoning in "Hidden Agenda", leaves bass duties to Dave Hadley, a player confident yet not of the Jack's class.
For striding jaunt you're invited with Paul Williams-delivered "Twilight Shuffle", engaging and sweet, and it's the golden road, that John Mayall's piano paves, and we follow Dick as he goes out and beyond in the instrumental "If You Know You Don't Love Me Why In The World Don't You Leave Be". This mood is called blues. The real one. Indispensable!