Blues In Britain
Review by Lionel Ross

The John O'Leary Band Alexander's Jazz Theatre, 29th April 2004

Harmonica player John O'Leary has a considerable pedigree as a bluesman, starting out as a founder member of Savoy Brown's Blues Band back in the mid-1960's. He recorded an album with the legendary blues singer and pianist Champion Jack Dupree and over the years he has collaborated with many well respected British bluesmane, including Dick Heckstall-Smith, Bob Hall, Tony McPhee and Victor Brox.
The programme at Alexander's comprised Chicago blues favourites, opening with "Born In Chicago" and "Snatch It Back", which gave Jules Fothergill an early opportunity to display his impressive array of jazz-tinged chords and riffs.  John O'Leary then played some delightful harp on a fine version of "Early In The Morning", which was followed by "19 Years Old", Howlin' Wolf's "Who's Been Talking" and "Little By Little" to complete the first set.
 The second set continued the splendid, Chicago-based blues miscellany, and included "Yonder's Wall", that drifted in and out of Rice Miller's "Help Me"; "Rock Me Baby", "Checking On My Baby" and a stirring version of "Black Cat Bone".

John O'Leary gave a typically, warm and relaxed performance on lead vocals and haerp, was wonderfully complemented by a cosmopolitan trio of excellent musicians; Jules Fothergill on guitar, German drummer Joachim Greve and New Yorker Dave Clarke on bass guitar.  Throughout the evening, the level of musicianship from all was consistently outstanding, much to the delight of a suitably appreciative audience. - Lionel Ross