Magical blues performance
LEGEND has it that blues pioneer Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his extraordinary guitar technique.
Watching Buddy Whittington you wondered if the big Texan had made a similar deal because there was something supernatural about the way he played so fast yet so effortlessly and produced such a range of tones and sounds from an electric guitar without electronic gizmos.
Backed by drummer Darby Todd from The Darkness and bassist Peter Stroud from Peter Green's band, he opened with a Freddie King classic, Baby You Got Me Licked, containing the first staggering solo of the night. And followed it with another "cover", a version of Gary Nicholson's Jacksboro' Highway.
But Buddy Whittington has developed into a very clever songwriter and wordsmith in his own right as he showed in Deadwood And Wire, in which he wittily told of buying a vintage guitar. More contemplative was When The Beano Was Boss in which he looked back at the early days of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in which, of course, he was himself a member for many years.
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His newer songs have taken on many of the hallmarks of the music of his home state with its shuffles, swing and slide and many of its fabled musicians got name-checked in Texas Trio.
The trademark chugging rhythms of ZZ Top were often evident and he performed a gorgeous and rather timely version of their Sure Got Cold After The Rain Fell.
Just as evident was the influence of Stevie Ray Vaughan and there was even a hint of the Western swing of Bob Wills in I Had To Go And See Alice.
Generously he invited Bristol's young guitar whiz Joe Wilkins on stage mid-way through BB King's Baby How Blue Can You Get to showcase his considerable talent.
Buddy Whittington writes and sings well, with a big voice that is extremely expressive but of course it is his remarkable guitar playing that leaves you open mouthed. Magical.