WENTUS BLUES BAND DICK HECKSTALL-SMITH
MAN OF STONE
This album is a last hurrah for the late lamented saxophonist DKS who died aged seventy, in two thousand and four. He embarked in two thousand and two upon a tour of Scandinavia with the highly acclaimed Blues outfit The Wentus Blues Band from Kokkola, Finland. They have established themselves as one of Scandinavia’s finest backing bands by working with; Carey Bell, Eddie Kirkland, Eric Bibb, Gary Primich, Kim Wilson, Louisiana Red, Mick Taylor, and Phil Guy. Dick was an original member of Alexis Korner’s Blues Inc., he then moved on to join the Graham Bond Organisation and they were one of a number of bands that merged blues with jazz and rock. After a short stay with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers he joined Colosseum for three years, after which he became a freelance musician playing whatever took his fancy. The ten numbers here were recorded live in Helsinki, at Cantina West April 5th, two thousand and two. The album kicks–off with Key To Love, a lively shuffler that bounces along nicely with guitar and drums while Dick’s wailing saxophone pops up and leads a merry dance. Missing You, and You Got Me (Where You Want Me) continues the groove but, in a looser vein. Eddie Kirkland’s Man Of Stone, is an enjoyable eight minute stomping roller that gives Dick the room to sweetly swing, wail, weave and roam wherever he wants to. Dick’s own composition, Woza Nasu, is a seventeen minute opus that epitomises Dick’s sublime talents to entice, entwine and endear you to his free flowing world. The band are sharp, tight and enthusiastic, this is amply displayed on the rousing versions of Pretty Thing, Before You Accuse Me and Looking Back. Well worth investigation.