Laurence Jones, Christina Skjolberg And Albert Castiglia, Blues Caravan 2014. Album Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

For the romantic at heart, a caravan can conjure up images of life on the road, the sun forever on some distant horizon and the sound of a well played instrument soothing the soul as a camp fire roasts a meal and children play with content. For Ruf Records that romance is heightened by having celebrated 10 years as a producer of excellent material and what better way than to enhance its prestigious output than combining three of its major stars together under the Blues Caravan 2014 title.

British Blues has really been on an upward curve. Moving away from the delicate, and in some ways outdated for the times we find ourselves in, sound that at times was aping the American standard. British Blues has arguably gone under a huge renaissance – led by the phenomenal Joanne Shaw Taylor and Danny Bryant, the genre has seized hold of the responsibility laid down at its door and started the marathon race in earnest.

One of the most enjoyable of the new breed of British Blues artist, the outstanding Laurence Jones is joined by the Scandinavian queen of Blues Christina Skjolberg and the excellent Albert Castiglia on stage in Germany. Their vigour vibrates, the guitars start to hum in unison and the power of three of the turn of the century greats plough through the live audience’s feelings and cultivate such a feeling of contentment that the appetite is forever whetted.

Ruf Records outline has always been to highlight the best of female music and in Christina Skjolberg, the evidence of their crusade is evident. Working alongside Laurence Jones and Albert Castiglia, Ms. Skjolberg demonstrates belief, a confidence that is sublime as songs such as Come and Get It, Wind Me Up, Fat Cat and Sweet Home Chicago perfectly offer the listener the realisation just how much Blues has undergone a transformation. From being the haunting and insightful, through to a time when it became a pastiche of its former glory to this new and exciting silver age, an age in which the caravan keeps rolling and keeps enlightening, the parade of talent is a procession which shines brightly.

Ian D. Hall