Blues Matters Magazine April-May Issue 2002

John O'Leary with Dr. Project Point Blank Blues Band
The Bitef Art Cafe, Belgrade 13th March 2002 Belgrade, Yugoslavia
& The Mojo Club,  16th March 2002 Senta, Yugoslavia
Review by Pejak Valdisllav Pejak, Radio Index Belgrade

Finally it happened! One of the true blue blues legends recorded a CD in Yugoslavia, in our studio, with our backing band and released it on our label.  That legend is Mr. John O’Leary of Savoy Brown, The John Dummer Blues Band, Sweet Pain, and Mainsqueeze fame; the CD is “As Blue As I Can Be”, the band is Pointblank, the studio is Focus and the label is ITMM.   In the middle of March, John and the band played two promotional gigs in our country during John’s all to brief visit.  In Belgrade, he played The Bitef Art Café and in Senta, a city near the Hungarian border, he played The Mojo Club.  I was lucky on both occasions to share the energy, the emotion and a lot of great blues moments which were exchanged between the musicians and audiences in these packed clubs.  John and the band took advantage of not having too many rehearsals, they were relaxed, they improvised, but at the same time we all had the impression that they had known each other for a long time. The evening’s programme was based on their CD material,  John’s and Dr’s (Pointblank’s guitar player and leader) originals which were carefully mixed with inspired covers of some great blues standards (among them, I would like to mention Sleepy John Estes’s “Divin’ Duck Blues”).

The greatest news brought to us by the CD was, of course, John’s singing.  He had spent many years with great vocalists ( Dave & Joanne Kelly, Tony McPhee, Victor Brow, etc) which is probably why it took so long for him to decide to start singing.  From what we have heard on the CD and at gigs, it seems that he has picked the right moment.  Great emotional delivery is the main characteristic of John’s voice and it is perfectly suited to his powerful and colourful harp playing.  Pointblank backed him with respect and feeling, but John gave them enough spaceto prove themselves as the seasoned blues musicians they are.

The audiences at both gigs showed great enthusiasm, and at all times were willing participants in the events, which I am sure, inspired and willed the band to finish these gigs in triumph.  When the stage lights finally went dark, all of us had the feeling that we had been part of something really big and were hoping it will not be long before we see John and Pointblank together again!….Valdislav Pejak, Radio Index, Belgrade.  

 (Editor’s Note:- Vladislav Pejak is a respected broadcaster and Blues authority in Yugoslavia and host’s his own weekly blues programme on Radio Index