Sunday, December 17, 2023

Livin' Blues - Hell's Session (1968-69 holland, fine blues psych rock, 2009 japan bonus tracks remaster)

Livin' Blues was formed in the Hague around 1967, becoming a regular outfit from 1969. The early line-up included Bjorn Toll (vocals), John Lagrand (harmonica), Ted Oberg (guitar), Ruud Fransen (bass) and Niek Dijkhuys (drums) but although the name remained wholesale changes soon took place, bringing in a new singer, Nicko Christiansen, and new bass and drums, Peter Kleinjan and Beer Klaasse, the latter pair being swiftly replaced by Gerard Strutbaum and Cesar Zuiderwijk, while keyboard player Henk Smitskamp was added. Other changes followed through the 70s, by which time the band’s repertoire was more inclined towards rock. Musicians involved included bass players Ruud van Buuren, Jan van der Voort, Jaap van Eijk and AndrĂ© Reynen, drummers John Lejeune, Herman van Boeyen, Cor van Beek, Michel Driessen, Kenny Lamb and Arjen Kamminga; the latter pair played in the band simultaneously for a spell. Smitskamp sometimes played bass, singer Johnny Frederiksz came in, as did organist Paul Vin and guitarist Ron Meyes.

Although best known in the Netherlands, Livin’ Blues also gained a following elsewhere in Europe, especially in Poland. At the start of the 80s, the band included Oberg, Christiansen, Evert Willemstein (bass) and Boris Wassenbergh (drums). Spin-off bands formed by ex-members of the Livin’ Blues included Nitehawk and the J&T Band, while most members also played with other Dutch blues and rock bands. The band recorded from 1968, cutting a few singles with its first album coming in 1969. The band appears to have drifted from the limelight after the early 80s but interest in its recorded work remained high into the new millennium.
1. Waitin' on You (B.B. King, Ferdinand Washington) - 2:47
2. One Night Blues (Nicko Christiansen, Ted Oberg) - 6:40
3. Bowlegged Woman (Nicko Christiansen, Ted Oberg) - 2:34
4. Hell's Session (Nicko Christiansen, Ted Oberg) - 4:53
5. Big Road Blues (Traditional) - 2:46
6. Black Panther (Nicko Christiansen, Ted Oberg) - 3:10
7. Worried Dreams (B.B. King) - 5:11
8. Big Black Train (Nicko Christiansen, Ted Oberg) - 4:00
9. Murphy McCoy (George Kooymans, Rinus Gerritsen) - 2:54
10.My Sister Kate (Edgar Dowell, Mamie Medina) - 2:22
11.You Better Watch Yourself (Sonny Boy) (Lightnin' Hopkins) - 2:47
12.One Night Blues (Nicko Christiansen, Ted Oberg) - 4:33
Bonus tracks 9-12

Livin' Blues
*Cesar Zuiderwijk - Drums
*Henk Smitskamp - Bass, Keyboards
*John Legrand - Harmonica
*Nicko Christiansen - Vocals, Bongo, Saxophone
*Ted Oberg - Guitar