Alan Glen: Retrospective II - Crazy Life

Special 2008 Promo CD , own distribution, Not For Sale

If Alan Glen were Belgian, I would nominate him musical heir of Toots, because Alan Glen isn’t only a fine composer, singer and guitarist, but first and foremost a harmonica ace. All these qualities are featured prominently in his work with The Yardbirds and his own projects  The Barcodes and The Incredible Blues Puppies, but equally on countless recordings with friends and fellow-musicians.  An anthology taken from dozens of recordings since 1986 is now available and what a wonderful record it is indeed! Let us focus on the harmonica. The opening track (from a record by his friend and drummer Dino Coccia) is a 360° exposé.  A first radical switch is made to Dr. Feelgood’s thunder & rumble and a second one  to the ripple & murmur of “The Waterfront” – a nice duet cd with keyboardist Roger Cotton, famous for his work with Peter Green. The variety and versatility is further displayed through  jazzy lounge courtesy of The Barcodes, the mysterious and sultry sound of Little Axeo, a cover of Blind Lemon Jefferson, the Yardbirds’ bluesbeat and the discrimination of sound by Nine Below Zero. Yet, the coherence of his harmonica playing remains intact. Whether Alan Glen plays with the famous (Eric Clapton, not present on this record), the unknown (e.g. Tim Renwick) or the forgotten (e.g. Shakey Vick), the support and the surplus value rendered by his harmonica is obvious . Or rather : all his harmonicas -  in the plural. Hats off.       

Eddy Bonte

Alan Glen & Papa George

Bluesnights at Dorchester Arts Centre   -  8/3/08

A maximum capacity audience packed the Dorchester Arts Centre to welcome these two muchrespected stalwarts of the UK blues scene. Though each had played the venue before in other groups, this was their first appearance together in duo mode, with George playing guitar and handling vocals, whilst Alan laid down harmonica. Presenting a rich mixture of classics and selfpenned numbers, they set about wowing the crowd with a display of first-class musicianship. Papa George pulled some beautiful sounds from his Amistar tri-cone guitar, which he used for most of the gig. Fine examples of this instrument's versatility were "Blues With A Feeling", with its rolling railroad feel. and "The Sun Don't Shine" in which the combination of slow poignant guitar and Glen's subtle harp playing was superb.

Throughout the evening, the duo laced their playing with anecdotes about the music business; comparing verbal notes about who had seen which artists, playing where and when, led to Alan giving a virtuoso rendition of "Bye Bye Bird" as a tribute to the late Sonny Boy Williamson. John Lee Hooker's "Crawling King Snake" had a strong loping rhythm, segueing into "Broken Mirrors" which provided a good example of Papa George's songwriting skills. The first set ended with an excellent syncopated rhythmic version of Robert Johnson's "Walking Blues". In the second set they played a couple of Muddy Waters numbers - "Rolling and Tumbling" and "Can't be Satisfied" - both had a primordial rock feel to them, which was nicely complemented by the duo's take on the Stones' "Honky Tonk Woman", with its almost country blues feel. Another contrast came in the shape of George's "Moon Shadows On Coconut Grove", a beautiful ballad with a Hawaiian feel, featuring empathic harp from Alan. Keith Emerson's instrumental "Barnes Station Blues" got a warm reception, whilst the final number, Cyril Davies's "Country Line Special" received rapturous applause. The duo perfectly complemented each other; Papa George's guitaring and vocals were excellent, as was the subtly understated harp playing of Alan Glen. Individually they are impressive; together they are dynamite!.

Lewis A. Harris  - BLUES in BRITAIN

The Barcodes, The Incredible Blues Puppies

Eel Pie Club, Twickenham 5/3/08

 The Eel Pie Club is not on the famous island but on the mainland, upstairs at the Cabbage Patch pub, a rugby ball's drop kick from Twickenham railway station. The  Cabbage Patch is a large pub with a selection of ales (downstairs), eating areas, a garden, a games room and a sports TV bar, which saw a fine performance from Roman Abramovich's Blues Band warm up the evening. Regular readers will probably be aware that tonight's double bill consisted of two bands containing Alan Glen (harmonica, guitar, vocals) and Dino Coccia (drums). The Barcodes, comprising Glen, Coccia and Bob Haddrell (keyboards, bass pedals, vocals), were up first, augmented by Nick Newall on sax and flute, and Robin Jones on congas.

 Officially this was the launch party for their 2007 album Live In Session For The BBC (note-records NCD 1012 2). Saxophonist Art Themen joined in for 'Comin' Home" and "Halfway To Nowhere", one of two band originals aired. Gypie Mayo came in on guitar for a few numbers and the set closed with a cameo from vocalist and label-mate Paul Cox on Glen's "Everything Or Nothing". Highlights of the gig are on youtube: "Comin' Home" with wonderful solos from both saxophonists; "The Sky Is Crying", sung by the hidden Haddrell, showcases the guitars, Mayo exuberant as ever, followed by an excellent sax solo from Themen; "That's Alright" sung by Glen with delightful work from Newall; and the guests got to shine on "Everything Or Nothing", although Cox's voice sounded veryworn.

 The Incredible Blues Puppies are John O'Reilly (guitar & vocal), new boy Costa Tancredi (one of several fine Italian bass players based in London), Glen and Coccia. They opened with their signature instrumental "Puppy Fat" and essayed a few standards before Cox and Mayo returned to the stage for Glen's "Tuff Days" and "No Time For You".

 The hugely enjoyable evening rounded off with vocal contributions from former bassist Jim Mercer and Shakey Vick, joined by numerous musicians. Previous note-records bashes have turned into high quality jam sessions too early but tonight the balance between the Barcodes, the Puppies and their guests was just right.


Brecon Jazz Festival - 11/8/07

Captains Walk Venue @ at The Brecon Jazz Festival was packed to capacity (1,200) to see The Barcodes and their top class Friends close the Saturday night. The trio (Bob Haddrell – vocals/organ/piano; Alan Glen - vocals/ guitar/harmonica; Dino Coccia - drums) opened with a swinging "Statesboro Blues", and then into Willie Dixon's Seventh Son" (both sung by Bob), and a real down home slow blues version of Jimmy Rogers’  That's Alright", which featured on their first album  “Keep Your Distance”.  As a tribute to 'Whispering’ Bob Harris followed with an exciting "Stone Fox Chase" (The Old Grey Whistle Test Theme) with had some nimble harmonica playing from Alan.

Then came the first of The Friends – multi award winning saxophonist Alan Barnes and Britains number one jazz guitarist Jim Mullen both of whom feature on The Barcodes' recent album “With Friends Like These”, and Alan Barnes other half, Clare Hirst (sax). They proceeded to whip a storm of great solos on Mose Allisons’  “I don't Worry 'bout A Thing", and Junior Wells “Snatch It Back And Hold It", and were then joined by Jacqui Hicks for a selection of songs made famous by Joe Williams and Count Basie including "Everyday I Have the Blues" and  “Alright, Okay, You Win".

By the time they got to the encores, "Let the Good Times Roll" and "Walkin' the Dog", the aisles and every available space was full of dancing, happy punters and musicians. Jim Mullen looked very happy - he really had lots of space to let rip. Alan Barnes was his usual superlative self, and both Clare and Jacqui obviously had a great time. The Barcodes have a knack for seamlessly fusing jazz and blues into a sound that is uniquely their own, and they provided one of the highlights of the Brecon Festival.

 - Elaine Williams

The Barcodes & Friends - Brecon Jazz Festival - August 2007

The final gig of the day was The Barcodes with special guests at Captain’s Walk. The Barcodes trio kicked off the show with Willie Dixon’s "Seventh Son". Essentially a blues band The Barcodes comprise of Bob Haddrell on keyboards and vocals, Alan Glen on guitar, harmonica and vocals and drummer Dino Coccia.

Next came "Who’s Lovin’ You Tonight" from the repertoire of Chicago Jimmy Rogers.
Written by Charlie McCoy and originally recorded by Area Code 615"Stone Fox Chase", better known as the theme from the "Old Grey Whistle Test" was a feature for Glen’s harmonica.

The core trio were then joined by guest artists Alan Barnes on alto sax, Clare Hirst on tenor and Jim Mullen on guitar. This line up proceeded to charge through a couple of blues classics in the form of Mose Allison’s "Everything’s Gonna Be Alright" and Junior Wells’ "Snatch It Back" with Glen on harmonica and vocal.

A somewhat incongruous instrumental version of "Norwegian Wood" followed before guest vocalist Jacqui Hicks was introduced. With Hicks in tow the group cantered through "Every Day I Have The Blues" and T Bone Walker’s "Stormy Monday" and followed this with "Route 66" and "Walkin, the Dog"

All this was fairly predictable fare but the jazz soloing of Barnes, Hirst-looking far more confident here- and the ever inventive Mullen kept up the level of musical interest. Hicks’ stage presence and gutsy vocals inspired a number of dancers to get up and strut their stuff, after all this was the party slot.

This was a good-natured show and the musicians looked as if they were having fun even if they weren’t particularly extending themselves. Everybody would have gone home happy if the curfew had allowed for an encore.

Taken as a whole though it had been a day of excellent music and just for once in this miserable summer the weather had been marvellous.
Review by Ian Mann

The Barcodes - The Oval Tavern, Croydon - 7 January 2007

The Barcodes are a well respected band composed of three excellent musicians, all of whom have a fine track record in the business. They are Alan Glen on harmonica, guitar and vocals, Bob Haddrell on a keyboard which sounds like a Hammond and also bass pedals, and Dino Coccia on drums. They have all played with some of the best names in the business, and it shows. They are very professional but also play with feel and flair, and play in a relaxed style but have plenty, of oomph when they need it.

"Statesboro Blues" opened with organ and drums then Alan joined in on guitar and harmonica with Bob taking the vocal. Alan sang "Seventh Son" with fine soloing from Bob and Alan. On "King. Bee' there was fine work on organ and guitar with a lyrical harp solo from Alan to finish. On 'Big Boss Man" Alan sang and played harmonica in the first position, felling the audience that this is how Jimmy Reed would have played it. The set finished with "Outskirts Of Town', J. J. Cale's "Don't Go To Strangers" and Mose Allison's "I Don't Worry About A Thing".

The second set started with "You Upset Me Baby", then a stonking rendition of the Old Grey Whistle Test anthem "Stone Fox Chase" with all three musicians soloing. After a spirited version of "Bright Lights, Big City" there was great work from Bob on Mose Allison's "Parchman Farm" and "No More Fooling Around With  You". Alan featured on "Take Out Some Insurance" while Bob did the honours on "Love The Life I Live" and "I've Got News For You", then Alan finished the set with a spirited version of "Talk To Your Daughter".

The third set passed in a blur, with "Natural Ball", a rumba version of "Eyesight to the Blind" then guest vocalist Carmen Carr sitting in on a reggae version of "Checking Up On My Baby" and the bluesy "Everyday I have the Blues". After great versions of "Mojo Workin" and "Sweet Lovin' Mama" the gig finished with the punchy "Watch Out For Me Baby" and a large crowd shouted their appreciation.

This was Blues entertainment at its best, an enjoyable, evening for all concerned. This is the kind of fare on offer at the Oval every Thursday and now a Saturday night is to be added to the roster. If you get a chance to see the Barcodes at this or any other venue, then do so, they are well worth it.

- Bill Smith - Blues in Britain

PAPA GEORGE & ALAN GLEN - @ 'Blues With Bottle Club' - 'The Anchor' - Sevenoaks,Kent. 7th June 2006.

For years Papa George has managed to elude me; I'd heard great things,but whenever he was within reach at a gig,I was playing somewhere myself.So it was with smile-on-face that I entered the hallowed portals of the 'Blues With Bottle Club' in Sevenoaks to see him play accompanied by the splendid Alan Glen on Harp.Both these musicians have pedigrees that go way back,and are part of British blues royalty at it's best.And from the first number you could see why: George opened with several solo numbers - he alternately spanks and strokes his Resonator guitar like a loving parent encouraging and admonishing junior,and makes the guitar appear to be an axe-tension of his body.He lazes and weaves like a relaxed and contented old blues toad in a sunny pond that he's known for years and will know for years to come.The voice has a beautiful warm timbre-never straining for effect.If you love acoustic blues that slides effortlessly along the Delta,follow Papa George,'cos he knows the way.
Alan Glen - where to begin - a musician who can take the stage with the best of 'em ( and has ).He can groove along like Rice Miller,and he can blow Chicago style like The Walter's.He can also play very individually like - -well like - - Alan Glen.He played through the PA for country style( boldly scaling the north face of 'Bye Bye Bird' ),and poked us in the ribs with the Bassman for more hard-edged stuff.He also plays mean guitar and is charmingly surprised when I tell him of high praise from other guitarists.How was the gig?Well if I had another couple of pages I'd tell you just how good it was.But I haven't.So go see 'em yourself.
Gear Note - Papa George  plays an Amistar steel guitar given him by that company,and the wooden resonator is a prototype Flying Finn by Matti Nebalainen.Alan Glen plays Hohner and Lee Oskar harps through a selection of Rod Piazza's customised Astatic mics,and uses a Fender 59 Bassman re-Issue amp with the original valves restored.

Blues In Britain

Papa George & Alan Glen - Peiham Arms, Lewes, 15/1/06

Papa George and Alan Glen are a combination not tobe missed. They opened their first set with 'You Can Love Yourself"; immediately we were uplifted and looking forward to what was to follow. Which was a couple of John Lee Hooker numbers, namely Crawling Kingsnake" and "This is Hip", both performed with great timing, great vocals and amazing harmonica. Alan creates a sound on his harmonica that almost adds another vocalist. He uses a turquoise astastic microphone which he bought from Rod Piazza. The sounds he gets out of his harmonica blew us away. It made the songs brilliantly different whilst maintaining the original riffs. The set continued with one of my favourite Papa George compositions, "Sun Gonna Shine", this is such a beautiful song and George's vocals make it the great song it is. I suppose a blues gig wouldn't be one without a Robert Johnson song, and they performed a superb "Walking Blues". The first set ended with George's "Blackjack", which demonstrated this duo's ability to play so tightly together and perform such brilliant outs.

George got the second set off to a melodious start with his own famous "Blues With A Feeling"; this i sung with such sincerity it is the best title he could have given it, the song lives up to its name by rising and falling in a passionate crescendo of sound. Alan added snippets of harmonica in just the right places. The Amistar steel-bodied resophonic guitar Papa George plays on this number was made in the Czech Republic. This guitar was specially commissioned by him by Resound, UK distributors for Amistar, when he played at The "Dobrofest" in Slovakia, 2001.He tells me he uses this guitar in open G and D tunings with a
bottleneck. The classic John Lee Hooker number "Groundhog Blues" played in G7 tuning with a bit of foot stomping on the wooden floor followed. Again George's vocals excelled. This segued into "Hoochie Coochie Man", which had the duo lost in their own performance they were so focused. The out was just superb. Then it was Alan's turn to do the vocals on Sonny Boy's "Bye Bye Bird" which he used to sing with The Yardbirds. Next came the inevitable train song, which is appropriately called "Barnes Station Blues". "Barnes Station Blues " was written by Ken Emerson from Kauai (one of the Hawaiian Islands). They met him on a trip over there in 1999 and invited him over the following year to do a few gigs together and stay with Papa George at Barnes Station House, which inspired Ken to write this instrumental piece. Soalthough its title makes you think it is a train song it sn't. However it picked up so much speed it could have been written about The Flying Scotsman on the run from bird flu. Alan accompanied amazingly and
Papa George gave it a brilliant wah wah out. "Dust My Broom" had to come into the set somewhere and they did it proud. Papa George demonstrated his own enigmatic style, with awesome slide guitar, it was such good entertainment value, with each playing to the other and they created laid back but bustling blues at its best. Then they played "Broken Mirror" from Papa George's solo album. The lyrics were sung with such clarity, and were so uplifting and melodious. I have never heard any Jimmy Shand at a blues gig, but Alan provided that too. And so to the end of a fabulous evening of blues ending with a rocking version Jagger and Richards' "Honky Tonk Woman". As they say in Pop Idol, etc., you did it justice with just you two. It definitely cooked up nicely and was a fitting end to such an enjoyable night.

The Pelham Arms will be hosting live bands on Saturday nights as from February. We all wished Alan the best for the launch of The Incredible Blues Puppies CD Puppy Fat, which I will be adding to my

- Helen Steele

Devizes Festival 2005 - 3rd to 25th June Friday 3rd June

Barcodes - Papa George & Alan Glen

The first Devizes Festival Fringe Blues Day, at the Lamb Inn on Sunday 5th June, was a stunning success, with a mixture of superb musicianship and variety of blues styles.

Kicking things off during the Sunday lunchtime set was London-based band The Barcodes, which played an excellent set of smooth piano blues featuring the outstanding keyboards of Bob Haddrell and ace guitar/harmonica player Alan Glen.

Drawing heavily on a repertoire of Mose Allison, Ray Charles, Sonny Boy Williamson and Little Walter, the band demonstrated why it is one of the top acts on the London scene.

In addition, the duo played original songs from its current CD "Independently Blue" on Note Records. Of particular note were compositions "Be Cool" and "Grits and Greens"................

...........The stylish Papa George drew the Festival Fringe blues day into the early evening and demonstrated his skill and ability with the National Steel Guitar. The sound he produced was at times mesmerising and transformed the function room of the Lamb Inn into a Deep South bottleneck blues bar. Joining Papa George was Alan Glen, who stayed on from his early performance with The Barcodes to accompany George on harmonica. It was a mean combination and one that reflected both men's passion for the genre.

Reviewed by James Harrison

Reviews CD - Keep Your Distance

Downeast Record & CD Review

Whether a Jazz or Blues fan, this is one album that should not be passed up.

The Barcodes are a unique trio with a Jazz essence which contains elements of Blues, Rock and many times pure musical genius.

David Lands, Jazz Journal

This group plays with a coolness that creates the desired effect.   'The Barcodes' suit the ambience of a late night club when all the good looking chicks have been pulled and you are left with a glass of lonely wine.

Bill Smith, Blueprint

This top notch highly professional outfit bill themselves as a cool new fusion of Mose Allison and Jimmy Smith style of Blues and R&B.  They were created in part by vocalist and keyboard man Bob Haddrell, whose impressive CV includes much work as a session musician in the UK, work in Nashville, and with Billy Swan in the USA.  He is ably matched by Alan Glen on vocals, guitar and harmonica.  No stranger to the British blues scene, Alan is currently a member of 'The Yardbirds' and has recorded with 'Nine Below Zero', 'Little Axe', 'Dr Feelgood', Alannah Miles, and Junior Delgado.   Drummer Dino Coccia completes the line up, again with great credentials having worked with James Carr, Larry Garner, Tutu Jones, Katy Webster, John Primer, Paul Lamb, and Otis Grand.

It is no wonder that with a pedigree like this, that when the band got into its stride on 'Statesboro Blues', it very much showed its mettle, with good guitar work from Alan who also wowed us on harmonica.  But the most impressive aspect was Bob, who, apart from singing, was playing keyboards and laying down bass lines with his foot!   This excellent work continues throughout 'Seventh Son', 'King Bee', and 'Hand Jive'.   Then we had 'Crazy Life', an Alan Glen/Roger Cotton collaboration, a melodious jazzy blues from the band's new debut album 'Keep Your Distance'.  Blues fare continued with 'Big Boss Man', and 'Early in the Morning'.  The first set finished with Junior Wells' 'Snatch It Back' with Alan excelling on harmonica.

The band roared into the second set with a mellifluous 'Let the Good Times Roll' and a funky 'Walking the Dog'.  Then, to honour the Fleetwood Mac connection, they gave a slow, spirited, moody, and atmospheric rendition of 'World Keeps on Turning'.  During this number the band carried the audience with them, as by then we were mesmerised by the musicianship on display.  And so it continued with a countrified 'Going Up the Country', then the Neil Hefti penned jazz instrumental 'Splanky'.  Here the band showed their jazz credentials, which were excellent.  Back to the blues with 'Mojo Working', then the band encored with that fine Sonny Boy Williamson the 2nd number 'Eyesight to the Blind'.

'The Barcodes' are a first class outfit and deserve every bit of success that they can get.   They are a musicians' band and are always worth seeing.

Rating: 9, Frank Franklin, Blueprint

London based trio 'The Barcodes' debut album contains six originals and four covers, three tracks being instrumentals.  All of 'The Barcodes' have authorship credits of quality written titles.  Like many Brit-blues sessions this was recorded at Roger Cotton's Roundel Studios in Kent.  'The Barcodes' have put down a set that would not be out of place at Soho's most famous jazz club.   Bob Haddrell's electric piano and organ grooves fill the session and are underpinned by his footpedal bass lines.  He shares vocal duties with Alan Glen who performs high quality harmonica and smooth guitar work.   Dino Coccia on drums drives the proceedings along with sensitive force.   Nick Newell fittingly guests on saxophone on a couple of tracks.   The overall sound falls somewhere between Blue Note, Allison, Charles and Fame.  Best to listen to this volume sometime after midnight.

Leszek Pabjan, Blueprint

'The Barcodes' are not a simple and straightforward blues outfit.  They mix blues and jazz with influences from Mose Allison and Jimmy Smith, and produce their very own instantly recognisable sound.  The opening instrumental [on 'Keep Your Distance'] said, "Hey, this is us, just stay and listen to our sound."   We need more bands like this.  They are exceptional; the level of musicianship is excellent and they provide those delicious and subtle little touches that will make the listener look at familiar blues in a totally different way.   This is worth a lot.  Thank you Barcodes.  

Jon Taylor, Blueprint

Alan Glen - one of Britain's finest harmonica players.  A class act.  
Lewis A Harris, Blueprint
The Barcodes at Bluesnights, Dorchester Arts Centre, 10th January 2004

It was almost four years since we'd had a visit from The Barcodes and what a welcome return it was. The band features ex- Yardbird Alan Glen on vocals, harp and a 1968 Gibson guitar, Dino Coccia on drums and Bob Haddrell on keyboards and vocals. All three are veterans of the UK R&B and blues scene and, as is usually the case with musicians who play regularly together, there was an underlying empathy between them from the word go. Just a look or a smile or a nod and they would move effortlessly from one style to another. Throughout the numbers they built a foundation, embellished it, went off on a tangent and brought it all back home again. Put more succinctly, they were locked in really tight! Click here to read the whole review

Click here to read a review from the "Record Buyer & Music Collector" magazine.
Review of Live Preformance at Teddington Arts Centre

Magically we found our way from this rather soulless veterans' night to the beating pulse of blues in London purely by chance - happening on Friday at a gothic church at Teddington, in the heart of the Thames delta. On stage were the Barcodes, featuring Scottish blues-piano virtuoso Daniel Smith, and acclaimed guitarist Sonny Black. In about half an hour Smith played every style of blues-keyboard known to man - failed only by another sub-standard electric piano - from Chicago down to New Orleans, and we did the journey with him. Black, looking like a languorous Texan Sheriff, played acoustic and electric in the British folk-blues style - another musical twist - but was truly captivating.
Sonny Black and Alan Glenn

But the centre of gravity for the evening were the Barcodes - who took me back to my Blues Attic at a stroke. Soulful Hammond-style organ and vocals from Bob Haddrell (who I mistakenly took to be the rustic jolly lock-keeper from Teddington); artfully syncopated drums from Dino Coccia; and solid Brit style guitar from Alan Glenn - the ex Yardbird and Nine-Below-Zero harmonica player who truly dusted the floor with Mr Mayall every time he picked up his harp. Maybe these guys have day-jobs (you know - Banks, Building Societies etc.) although the astonishing number of blues projects they are involved in makes me doubt this. But they oozed the passion for the roots of rock that characterised my earliest musical adventures. Apparently they find it hard to get gigs - I can't think why. Check out the website, buy the CDs, pick up the 'phone, and book them. In a world full of barcodes these are truly unique - and they deserve to be cherished. - Nick Morgan (photos by Kate)

Thanks, Nick. Here are a few mp3's...
Stan Webb's Chicken Shack - A blues song (low fi but very good track)
John Mayall - Don't waste my time
The Barcodes - plenty of short, but excellent samples here

January 11, 2005


I first heard of The Barcodes when Nick Morgan sent me a rather laudatory review of one of their latest gigs in London. Well, I still had to have a good try at one of their CDs, as the short mp3 samples the gang has uploaded on its website did make the same effect on me as a coïtus interruptus.
I don’t know if Nick got my telepathetic calls for some more consistent evidence of the band’s brilliance, but yes, a few days later, The Barcodes’ CDs crossed the Channel and made it into my brand new car’s CD player, before I had a chance to amazon them. Many thanks, Nick, it’s been a perfect occasion to check that eight loudspeakers really are better than just two, and also that a speed limiter is actually useful. Of course it’s no secret that I love jazz, that I love organ – especially the sound of the Hammond B3 – and that I’m not against a good old blues from time to time, but hearing all three ‘genres’ gently mingled on one slice of aluminium coated with plastic always rockets me to heaven, which didn’t happen since… Brian Auger (not the original LPs - I’m not that old - but his CD re-editions).

Anyway, that’s what happened with the Barcodes’ superb album ‘Keep Your Distance’ – a worthwhile warning when you’re driving your car, by the way. It all starts with ‘I got news’, a short, laidback jazzy/bluesy tune with a Hawkinsian saxophone joining the dance after just a few seconds… But that was just the aperitif. ‘Thick cut’ – my favourite track – is a great funkish and pointillist piece where the players add different touches of colour to the canvas one after the other: the B3, the harmonica, the howling electric guitar, the electric piano… Just simple touches, but what a great picture!

‘Crazy Life’ is a very nice blues, with some delicate guitar by Alan Glen – an ex Yardbird, s’il vous plaît! - while ‘The Barcode Theme’ has both some funny Henry Mancini and Rhoda Scott feelings. Ah, here’s Steely Dan now! That’s on ‘A little bit more’… Excellent guitar and piano again! It all goes on with some blues from Blues’ - ‘Tell me the truth’ and ‘That’s alright’ are both excellent - and some very good jazz (Neal Hefti’s ‘Splanky’, with some solar organ again by Bob Haddrell). Dino Coccia, the drummer, displays his subtle playing on ‘Eyesight to the Blind’, which is the last track of this splendid little CD. In short, ‘Keep Your Distance’ is much more than just some old buddies having fun together, it’s an excellent showcase of what some experimented blues and jazz musicians can do when they are in great shape, for our most total enjoyment. Thanks again Nick – you’re hired for one more year as Whiskyfun’s now Official Music Reviewer (but again, we have no budget, sorry). - Serge

If there's such a thing as sophisticated grit, these chaps are driving the delivery truck' -
Pete Sargeant - 'Blues Matters'