The Roger Hill Band – Sorcery – Live! | Album Review

The Roger Hill Band – Sorcery – Live!

SAM Records

11 songs time-73:32

Sadly this is a posthumous release by a very talented guitarist from the United Kingdom. Roger Hill passed away in November 2011 working for ten years as guitarist for The Chris Barber Jazz Band, as well as a brief stint with Fairport Convention among other bands. Being as this is the first time I’m hearing of him it is a shame that someone that rose to such a high caliber of musicianship didn’t amass more recognition. On these live recordings of covers he plays with various drummers and bass players in a strictly trio format except for one vocal turn by New Waver Steve Gibbons.

His capable voice comes across like a less subdued Mose Allison on “I Got A Gal”. His jazz guitar side is displayed on this track. The strong version of John Lee Hooker’s “Dimples” showcases the clean recording separation of the instruments. J.J. Cale’s “The Same Old Blues” features some sturdy bass playing to support Roger’s guitar greatness. His former boss Steve Gibbons contributes a cheeky vocal to the old standard “Ain’t She Sweet”, that features some jazzy guitar playing. “Three Thirty Blues” is a lowdown slow blues burner instrumental.

Slow, bluesy and jazzy is their take on “St. Louis Blues”. The vocal is coarse and the song goes up and down in intensity on “Evening”. The Mose Allison reference comes in once again as Roger covers “Sticks & Stones”, a Ray Charles tune also known as done by Joe Cocker. It includes some spot on blues guitar. He does an able cover of Jimmy Reed’s “Runnin” & Hidin'”, while taking a few liberties with the lyrics. A curious cover song is The Clash’s “Brand New Cadillac” that features some raucous guitar antics. Although his version of “Hey Joe” builds in its attack it leaves out any Hendrix like guitar pyrotechnics.

Quite a master of guitar technique is on display here, but sadly it came too late to our American ears. Too bad he went under the radar here in the states. As far as I know this live recording is the only thing he had put out. At least this live presentation goes a long way to honor his contribution to music.

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