James Oliver Wows Thirst Edition Crowds in Shipston

UK Blues Federation Award Winner James Oliver from Cardiff, South Wales electrified the crowds at Thirst Edition in Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire. The gig was promoted and put on by Tim Porter as part of his Porterhouse music range of gigs in South Warwickshire. He was assisted by David Allsopp from Thirst Edition and this was the first gig in 2024.

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James (vocals and guitar) was joined by fellow Cardiff resident Mark Kemlo (drums and backing vocals) and ex-The Specials Bassist Horace Panter, who is based in Coventry and performs with James at gigs in the Midlands.

Just before the gig started Horace wanted to find out who Coventry City had been paired with in the 4th round of the FA Cup (Sheffield Wednesday away was the result) with James non plussed as mainly not a sports fan!.

James’s expressive style on guitar and vocals covers Rock and Roll, Rockabilly and traditional Blues music.

James kicked off the evening with a Albert King song ‘Let’s have A Natural Ball’ and followed it with the well known John Lee Hooker song ‘Boom Boom Boom’. Throughout all these songs the tall James, who is still only in his early 30s played with great passion and quick finger picking with lots of expression!

Next we had the first instrumental number with a Dave Edmunds song ‘Sabre Dance’, before moving into American funk and soul with Sly and The Family Stone’s ‘There’s a Riot Goin’ On.

Then James kicked into a Rockabilly song ‘Tear It Up’ before changing themes with a Rumba song by Howlin’ Wolf ‘The Cause Of It All’.

With the solid rhythm section of Mark and Horace James launched into a Freddie King song ‘Hideaway’ before launching into a Hank Williams song ‘ Mind My Own Business’ in what James called his Raka Raka style, which he claimed was unique to Welsh guitarists!

Then James moved onto a 1959 song ‘Sleep Walk’ to help us think warm thoughts to miss the snow showers and was at a slower tempo that the previous songs. 

We travelled even further back to the 1937 song by Robert Johnson ‘Stop Breaking Down’.

Before the beer break, we moved into the 1970s with a Dr Feelgood song ‘Roxette’ in key of G, but in a rockabilly style.

Then to close out the first half a Country song by Chet Atkins and Merle Travis ‘Cannonball Rag’ as an instrumental was performed.

Then the crowds had the chance of getting another beer or similar and Tim Porter asked for donations for James and the band, which included a Malaysian note from Darren Clarke!

The second half then kicked off with the Chuck Berry song ‘No Particular Place To Go’ before ‘The Train is Coming’ which James’s favourite guitar lick of all time , which gave him to demonstrate the train sounding licks, with Horace Panter walking the bass.

Then as an audience request James played Jimi Hendrix’s  All Along the Watchtower, To great acclaim. 

Then after playing the earlier songs on his Fender guitar he moved over to his Blues guitar, a Gibson guitar.

He then played a Muddy Waters song ‘Rollin and a Tumblin’ before moving onto 

‘Can’t be Satisfied’ with slide guitar and a slowed down finale.

Then after moving back to his Fender guitar to moved styles to Peter Green’s ‘Albatross’ with its echoey guitar style.

Then James moved to Blues legend BB King with ‘Sweet Little Angle’ with its extra quick guitar playing from James. 

Then back into Rock n Roll with Chuck Berry’s ‘Never Can Tell in the key of B with quick picking from James.

Then the second Dr Feelgood song of the evening with ‘She Does It Right’ with James’s alternative feel to the song. Then as the last song of the night with a Dick Dale’s  ‘Full Fiction’.

After a rapturous reception from the crowds James played an Elvis Presley tribute on what would have been his 89th birthday.

James’s next gigs are 9th January at Henry’s Blues House in Birmingham before on the 11th January in The Bootlegger in Cardiff.

James Oliver Wows Thirst Edition Crowds in Shipston
WiderView Visual Media, Chris Roberts 9 January 2024
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