Ace review of Blueberry Pie by Liz Aikin of Bluedoodles
Starlite Campbell Band Baking Up Tasty Blueberry Pie
New band seasoned with British Blues experience. Starlite Campbell Band formed January 2016, features Suzy Starlite’s deep bass grooves and joining her is husband Simon Campbell on guitar and vocals. Filling out the sound is Danny Boy Sanchez on Harmonica, Steve Gibson drums and keyboard wizard Johnny Henderson on Hammond and Wurlitzer.
Expect blues steeped in the British tradition with grooves that would fit into the soundtrack of Carnaby Street of the 1960’s given the modern twist. Vintage Contemporary Blues with a bite like a well-baked pudding this Blueberry Pie has the right balance of sweet, sharpness, crunch and mellow softness. And we have eleven original slices of this Pie.
Opening with Walkin’ Out The Door the sixties vibe is present as the Johnny Henderson fingers walk majestically over the keys. The bass line has power, the vocals pour out as Simon sings with a steely determination that he is going see you baby walk out of the door. One thing is for certain the listener will not be walking out they will want to have another slice of this Blueberry Pie! Suzy’s bass line opening to I Need Light shines a light of the deep groove intensity of her bass and the mix of vocals and drums with overtones of jazz this is music that transcends genres. We are transported back with these opening numbers, yet, there is an originality in the understated performance of the band where timing is more important than flashy fast playing. This is a pie that fills your musical hunger. The musicianship is spot-on, there is complexity in the layering of styles and mixing with Campbell Blueberry juice so the mixology is as intriguing and surprising as a well-crafted gin.
The album changes shape with blues that is slow, considered full of flavours as we Cry Over You, the vocals reflect the leisurely playing of the keys combined by guitar that cuts through the ballad with its purity. Simon may sing about mediocrity but there is definitely nothing mediocre about this pie.
The title track is not saccharin sweet, it is a stripped back number with a hometown country feel, of certainty that some things stay the same just like Grandma’s Blueberry Pie. This is Simon delivering acoustic with timing and a deft touch. Reflecting back to his 2014 album The Knife. We have another change as the album heads to the last slice of pie on the plate as Suzy takes over vocal duties on guilty full of soulful angst that suits her style. Then the album hots up again with a rocking and rolling number Empire full of sassy licks and driving riffs that re-energise the music pleasure of an album that will always sound fresh.
All too soon we are down to last two tracks instrumental Shimmy, that slithers from the speakers as jazz fuses with blues add layers of stinging guitars and Hammond that swells with a rhythm that keeps the Shimmy in shape. Closing out with Thrill Me, full of blues a walk into Chicago and around the block this is a tasty Pie filling you with blues shaped and sweetened by the musicians who ensure this is an album that may not be breaking the mould it certainly is filling a gap on the shelf with blues that entertains and you want to listen to again. This is a perfect Blueberry Pie comfort food for your musical soul.
EIGHT Bluesdoodles paws out of TEN