13 songs — 54 minutes
Jamie Thyer and his band, The Worried Men, are based in Britain’s South West and are road warriors who’ve performed more than 4,000 gigs across Europe since forming in 1994, playing original music that’s heavily rooted in rock-blues and R&B overtones.
A guitarist who used to work as a demonstrator for Marshall amps and Rotosound strings, Thyer and his bandmates have averaged about five gigs a week, playing many of the best clubs and festivals in the UK and elsewhere, after their initial live album, Fear And Loathing At The Wunder Bar, sold well and built a loyal following despite minimal promotion. They’ve shared the stage with Robert Cray, Johnny Winter and Peter Green, among others.
In recent years, Jamie has also split his time in a partnership with Verden Allen, who achieved international fame in the ’70s with Mott The Hoople. They produced the album Love You And Leave You, which received heavy BBC airplay and led to a gig headlining the prestigious Cambridge Rock Festival.
Postcards From Bedlam features Thyer on guitar and vocals, backed by Ben Groenevelt on electric and upright bass and Kevin O’Rourke on acoustic drums. Carole Warren co-wrote six of the original tunes here and provided spoken commentary, lead and backing vocals, which vary from full-on rock to acoustic blues.
Not to be confused by the Frank Sinatra song of the same title, “My Way” kicks off with a guitar riff. It’s a rapid-fire walking blues that tells a lady that the singer always has to have his own way. The bottom’s heavy with Jamie providing guitar flourishes throughout. A speedy version of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Further On Up The Road” — using the Brit spelling — follows. It’s a speedy, but faithful version and features a single guitar note that sustains for about 25 seconds after a mid-tune solo.
Another classic, B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone,” gets a speedy rock-blues treatment before a stripped-down acoustic version of the early Rolling Stones’ hit “Play With Fire,” driven forward initially by a steady handclap. The music takes a decided right-hand turn for the instrumental “Modesty And Willie.” It has a symphonic feel with Jamie’s guitar filtered to sound like strings.
Up next is the original blues-rocker “The Light That Failed,” which features Warren on lead vocals. Another instrumental rocker, “Boo Radley’s Porch,” follows, apparently based on a character in Harper Lee’s famed book, To Kill a Mockingbird. The pace slows for the searing version of B.B.’s “Nobody Loves Me (But My Mother)” before a funky drumbeat introduces quickly picking up again for “We’re Coming Home,” an instrumental with psychedelic overtones and repressed spoken passages.
An acoustic cover of Ray Davies and The Kinks’ “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” precedes the interesting rock-blues instrumental, “Rova,” before a cover of Redbone’s “Witch Queen Of New Orleans” before the interesting “Wake Up Rocket Dog!” — which starts as a sweet instrumental, but breaks for more than a minute of silence before a funky rock finish with spoken lyrics — brings the action to a close.
Fans of blues-rock will enjoy this one, although it’s difficult to acquire. A quick internet search found that it’s available only through the artist’s website (address above).