Courtesy of philhonley
The guitarist started out in the golden age of the mid-’60s and was a founder member of Mott The Hoople, the thinking man’s band of the glam era who recorded the first and still best version of David Bowie’s All The Young Dudes.
At the peak of Mott’s commercial success in August 1973 Ralphs decided he’d had enough and walked away.
The move from a quirky, quintessentially English sound to an expansive American-style hard rock supergroup with a soulful R&B edge said everything about the six-stringer’s single-mindedness and need to move on to different musical expanses.
Now at a time of life when the easy option would be to trot out endless retreads of former glories, and with contemporaries such as Harrison, Boz Burrell and the recently departed Bowie and Dale Griffin sadly no longer with us, it’s pleasing to report that 71-year-old Ralphs is again pushing at the margins.
He’s just released If It Ain’t Broke, the first album proper from his Mick Ralphs Blues Band which takes the buzz generated by the five-piece since they started playing live five years ago and gives it the full studio treatment.
Their gig at the Green Hotel in Kinross was an opportunity to hear cuts from the CD at one of Scotland’s best small venues and the new material showed up strongly alongside a few classics from the Mick Ralphs back catalogue.
If It Ain’t Broke pays homage to the bluesmen who have been a key influence on Ralphs, and If It Ain’t Broke’s Shakey Ground and Roll The Dice were performed with all the bump and grind you’d expect from the form’s most expert exponents.
Case Hardin guitarist Jim Maving provided an excellent foil for the legend, with his dynamic stylings giving MRBB an added Americana angle and allowing Ralphs to give maximum rein to his renowned solos.
With a muscular rhythym section comprising bassist Dickie Baldwin and Damon Sawer on drums keeping things moving at a fast pace, songs like Well Connected and a cover of JP Lenoir’s Talk To Your Daughter – with the latter incorporating a feelgood backing spot from the Green’s audience – were like rays of sunshine amid the late-January gloom.
The jigsaw is completed by Adam Barron, a former contestant on BBC’s The Voice, who joined the band less than 18 months ago.
His voice stood out at Kinross for its clarity and range throughout, and anyone closing their eyes during a rendition of Bad Company’s Too Bad could have been forgiven for thinking Paul Rodgers was in the house.
Wearing his trademark World Poker Tour shirt and jeans, Ralphs remained largely quiet between songs, happily allowing the bearded Barron to do the talking, which inevitably included some good natured banter aimed at his more senior bandmates.
The band split their performance into two sets and a half-time breather seemed to re-energise Ralphs for the run-in and he took centre stage from Barron to work his fret board to a frenzy on Hideaway, the much-loved Freddie King instrumental groover.
Going Down from the new album went down a storm, as did a super-smooth turn of Bad Company anthem Can’t Get Enough which had everyone present out of their seats.
A pumped-up version of Robert Johnson’s Sweet Home Chicago and Ralphs’ signature tune Feel Like Making Love in all its epic, widescreen glory brought the curtain down on a memorable gig.
It was a night when it felt like we’d been given a wonderful lesson in the history of blues rock by one of the greats.
Hi Jim, I just thought I would de brief you on the bands we saw & let you guys know that in our opinion “Mick Ralph’s Blues Band” were the best of the weekends bands we managed to see (those that I can remember seeing😄). We saw “Big Country, Cockney Rebel, Procal Harem & Nazareth”. Big Country were a close 2nd to you guys, they were bloody excellent, the other bands were very good…
Hi guys, I attended your gig at The Kinross Backstage last night after a last minute ticket purchase. And boy was I glad I did. I haven been to the Backstage for a while now and it was fantastic seeing you guys enjoying yourselves so much.
Dave Mundell does a sterling job bringing bands and artists of superior calibre to Kinross and the intimate nature of the venue never fails to make gigs enjoyable. But the Mick Ralphs Blues Band takes that enjoyment to a higher level…… Thanks guys, you made my evening! Cheers and keep up the great work.
“Ralphs’ physical presence on stage is unassuming and he’s the antithesis of the flash guitar hero but his seemingly effortless guitar playing is pure musical perfection. He’s supported by a strong bunch of seasoned musicians, Jim Maving on second guitar, Dickey Baldwin on bass and Adam Perry, drums.
Adam Barron, who only joined the band in Autumn 2014 takes lead vocals. The youthful Barron, a 2013 contestant on TV series The Voice, looks like he’s stepped straight out of 1975 and his soulful bluesy vocals couldn’t be more suited to Ralphs’ material. It was a real joy to hear the band perform classics like Can’t Get Enough and Feel Like Makin’ Love. But newer material like Should Know Better shows that Ralphs has not lost the knack for writing timeless blues rock classics.”
See full review HERE
Review courtesy of Darren’s Music Blog
“With a huge talent for writing songs that keep getting better as time goes on like a pair of old blue jeans, Mick has made the utmost of these vintage tools of the trade – also using them to searing effect in Bad Company for classic riffs such as Can’t Get Enough.
Here he tells us about touring once more with Mott, why Fender’s misunderstood Esquire is a tone machine with few rivals, and why lightweight guitars sing more sweetly…”
Full interview HERE
Interview courtesy of musicradar.com: Jamie Dickson (Guitarist)
“As the swashbuckling British guitar player for glam pioneers Mott The Hoople and later, rock and roll fantasy weavers Bad Company, Mick Ralphs has played a significant part in creating a number of A-side singles with both bands that have become airplay classics.
In the absence of current activity with either project, Ralphs is presently fronting a blues cover project revisiting the early tracks that influenced him heavily as a player. He also spent some time recalling the demise of his relationship with Mott The Hoople and the subsequent birth of Bad Company.”
Full Interview HERE
Interview courtesy of ultimateclassicrock.com: Matt Wardlaw