Music Sunday, March 6th

Review: The Mick Ralphs Blues Band, Left Bank, Hereford

There are few more unassuming figures in rock and roll than Mick Ralphs.

A surprising fact when you consider he was a founding member of both Mott The Hoople and blues rock giants Bad Company.

Quitting Mott at the height of their success, the Herefordshire guitar hero must have sent shockwaves through the glam rock scene in 1973.

But the massive popularity enjoyed by Bad Company more than justified the decision. IMG 1150

Their hard rock sound was perfect for the American market. Record sales were swift and sensational and their legacy remains intact.

In our recent interview with Mick he modestly admitted he found it ‘amazing’ that Bad Company are still so popular in the US.

As if to underline the point a few days after we spoke the band released details of another major American tour co-headlining with former Eagles member Joe Walsh.

The ‘One Hell of a Night’ tour will see Bad Company play 26 dates in front of thousands of fans at each venue, so a chance to see Mick play in such an intimate setting as The Left Bank in Hereford was not to be missed.

Backed by singer Adam Barron (a former contestant on The Voice), guitarist Jim Maving, bassist Dickie Baldwin and drummer Damon Sawyer, he has put together a crack squad firing on all cylinders.

On stage Mick is pretty low-key so it’s more than handy he has the charismatic Barron alongside him.

Adam, who turned 30 within minutes of the end of the gig, was in no way intimidated about stepping into the shoes of the other vocalists Mick has worked.

Long haired and heavily bearded he looks like he just walked out of the seventies and his gravelly but rangy blues/rock voice is perfect for these songs.

The way he tackled Bad Company’s ‘Can’t Get Enough’, ‘Feel Like Making Love’, and ‘Too Bad’ made them in no way inferior to the originals – and judging by how good Paul Rodger’s original vocals were this is a massive compliment.

But the band are just as impressive on newer numbers such as ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me’ and ‘Should Know Better’ proving Mick can still pen tunes to the standard which made his name.

What you also get with the band are covers, such as Robert Johnson’s ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ and JP Lenoir’s ‘Talk To Your Daughter’, that are certainly true to the spirit of the originals.

But it was their take on Freddie King’s ‘Hide Away’ that was the highlight of the set providing Mick with the ideal opportunity to showcase his sensational six string skills.

On stage the band made much about the gig being Mick’s homecoming – appropriate then that a lot of what they played took him back to his musical roots long before he left Herefordshire and set off on the road to fame and fortune. 

Good to have you back in your own 'sweet home' Mick.

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