CD: 7 Songs, 20:17 Minutes
EP: 4 Songs, 10:53 Minutes
Styles: Blues Covers, Traditional and Contemporary Electric/Acoustic Blues
All artists have to start somewhere when they embark on a creative endeavor. Take yours truly, for example, who is trying to write a novel. I started with an age-old scenario, a haunted house, and am proceeding from there, hoping the trope doesn’t turn into tripe along the way. The same is the case with Northwich, UK’s JP and the Razors, who present us with two blues albums: a full-length CD full of covers, and a short EP featuring fresh compositions. Ironically, Let the Good Times Roll and Covering All the Corners could have been combined, to make a 30-minute release with more oomph and variety. Besides, their titles should have been switched around. Covering all the Corners contains the original songs, while Let the Good Times Roll offers tunes so familiar they’re like the backs of blues fans’ hands: Willie Dixon’s “The Same Thing,” Muddy Waters’ “I Can’t Be Satisfied,” and Hank Williams’ “Lost Highway,” for example.
Overall, no one can fault their enthusiasm and energy, but one might get the sense they don’t feel the full depth of the emotion in the music they’re playing. Have they really done enough real-life sinning to equal Hank Sr.’s anguish, as he laments his sorry condition? What about the universal lust applauded in “The Same Thing”? On Reverbnation.com and their promotional information sheet, JP and the Razors (and I, for that matter) quote Simon Jones of f Roots Magazine: “…[they’re a] bunch of free thinkers who play for the hell of it…” This may be true, but many fans think playing the blues should be more than a casual hobby. People who eat, drink, live and breathe their favorite genre may not be impressed by the nonchalant style of this British band.
According to their website via Reverbnation, “It took a couple more years for front man JP Slidewell to rediscover his song writing boots, but by the mid naughties they were a full on Alt. Country rock band just called ‘The Razors’ playing the likes of The Borderline and The Greyhound in the big smoke, and the likes of The Musician and The Railway further afield. They also played The Britons Protection Festival and started to get noticed more as an ‘Americana’ act.”
JP and the Razors now consist of JP Slidewell on guitar, vocals and harmonica; Dave “Robbo” Roberts on bass guitar and Stuart Arthur Wright on drums.
The following original song is the best of their lot, short and sweet, but it proves that this ensemble has a lot of potential.
EP Track 01: “There’s Something Going Wrong” – Clocking in at a lightning-paced one minute and fifty-one seconds, the EP opener is an acoustic zinger: “You get caught in the middle of a one-way street You take a girl dancing with two left feet. You can’t see right when doing wrong. You always said, ‘Hey, it’ll take too long.” Dig JP’s hot harmonica and bouncy acoustic guitar.
JP and the Razors, if they focus entirely on their original material in the future, will really shine!