Mike Vernon and the Mighty Combo: Beyond The Blue Horizon Review

What do Alexis Korner, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Spencer Davies, Jack Bruce, Rod Stewart, Ginger Baker, The Artwoods, Muddy Waters, Savoy Brown, Otis Spann, Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson, Larry Williams, Graham Bond, Ten Years After, Stan Webb, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Champion Jack Dupree, Christine McVie, Mick Taylor, Eddie Boyd, Dr.Feelgood, Freddie King, Climax Blues Band, Roger Chapman, Cleo Laine, Jimmy Witherspoon, Sherman Robertson, The Hoax, Oli Brown, Keith Richards, Ron Wood and Bo Diddley all have in common? All have, at one time or another, been involved in the making of records that have been produced by Mike Vernon.

For this album, Mike has handpicked the musicians he will be working with in The Mighty Combo Kid Carlos (guitar), Paul Tasker (Saxophone), Matt Little (keyboards), Ian Jennings (upright bass) and Mike Hellier (drums). Given his history you’d be right in assuming this is going to be a blues related album, but he’s picked a sound that I wasn’t expecting. It’s not the sort of Blues we hear a lot these days,  it’s got more of a ’50s feel and probably as much rock and roll as it is blues. The album does, however, have many tracks to satisfy blues followers such as “Old Man Dreams”, “Love Affair With The Blues”, and “Kiddio”. If ‘5os style swing is your thing, then the cool sax solos on the likes of  “Heart & Soul” and “I Can Fix It” will be to your liking. In the same vane are the call and response chorus of “Be On That Train” and the swinging “We’re Gonna Rock The Joint”. The songs are mainly around the 4 minute mark which is a little disappointing, but there’s a fun feel to things. The ’50s/’60s influenced sound here isn’t new, think the jump blues of Brian Setzer or early Colin James.

Not a great album by any stretch of the imagination, perhaps the sound is more suited to live shows than on disc. With that said, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to.

The Review: 7.5 /10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– We’re Gonna Rock This Joint
– Love Affair With The Blues
– Be On That Train
– Old Man Dreams

The Big Hit

-We’re Gonna Rock This Joint

Review by Clive Rawlings

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

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