BOULEVARD BLUES LIVE & DIRECT (2006)
Vocalist Dr John Mostert once sang for the Blues Broers and when that band became defunct he moulded this outfit, through many changes in personnel, into the last remaining old school blues rock band still based in the Cape Town area. When I wrote about the Blues Broers' debut album, Sharp Street, I called Mostert the anti Christ of the blues, because he insisted in singing in a blues band when he'd clearly never had the blues in any shape or form. Yes, brothers and sisters, he was that bad
Well, like Steve Louw, " Dr" John Mostert did not let a small thing like the lack of a decent singing voice stand in the way of pursuing his dream and though I do not profess to understand the point of this dream, I must give the man his due. On the evidence of this live set, Boulevard Blues ain't a half bad little blues outfit
This is their second album, and a live one as the title indicates, with a mixture of hoary old blues standards, a couple of originals and, rather bizarrely, two Bob Dylan songs. There is almost a terrible confusion here: on the cover a song is indicated as 'Rolling Stone' and before hearing the track I thought it would be a version of the Muddy Waters song of the same name, from which Bob Dylan took the title of his song, 'Like A Rolling Stone', but then it turns out to be the Dylan tune; I guess the Boulevard boys do it because the Rolling Stones do it. Even more bizarrely, the band does Wild Cherry's 'Funky Music'.
The band's roots are clearly more in blues-rock than blues Puritanism. The big pity, as was the case with the Blues Broers, is that Mostert really is no kind of blues singer, not even a great rock singer, though I must admit that he has improved from his days with the Broers. The Dylan songs are sung by another band member and are the better for it.
The musicians in the band have their chops down, and avoid grandstanding and the overwhelming guitar histrionics that spoil so much of this kind of journeyman blues. I guess it must be good fun to be at their gigs, with a couple of drinks under the belt, getting a little loose and a little funky just like the guys on the bandstand. And maybe getting a little lucky too.