BLUES MATTERS! ISSUE 115 | REVIEWS | AUG/SEP 2020

Blues Matters - Hands of Time Album Review

Hands of Time: A review by Yvette Jenkins aka Yvelvet Blues of ‘Hands of Time’ the latest Climax Blues Band album, released in 2019 to coincide with the bands’ 50th Anniversary.

The German Hands of Time tour was stupendous! – couldn’t wait to review the album, released January 2019 and coinciding with the bands’ 50th Anniversary.

The first new music from this line-up features 13 new original songs and a previously unreleased bonus track ‘Getting There’ with the late and great founding member and frontman Colin Cooper (vocals and sax). The superbly crisp, clear production and ‘climaxing’ sound epitomizing everything Climax Blues Band hits the senses with a kaleidoscope of music genres. A cool blues and funky groove is layered with soft rock, jazz and soul. Graham Dee’s lyrics are cleverly written with creative composition – each song telling a story.

The overall arrangements showcase each musicians’ unique, emotive and polished style – all performed with passion. Supremely talented guys! This is a sophisticated sound, mostly mellow with a mid-tempo feel. A great 21st coming of age album. Graham Dee’s husky baritone, backed by the outstanding lead guitar of Lester Hunt, Chris ‘Beebe’ Aldridge’s amazing sax solo, George Glover’s gorgeous keys, Neil Simpson’s lock0in bass and Roy Adams on drums holding the groove, lend a funky feel to the opening track Kick in The Head, with its catchy hook, great fills, and bags of sax appeal. ‘Straight Down the Middle’ is brilliantly structured with an air of tempered flamboyance. More blistering guitar follows on ‘What’s Your Name’, a song of seduction with a sting in the tail. Sexy funky beat, rumbling vocals, Hammond sounds and beautiful Brecker, Sanbornesque sax solo make this simply superb! ‘Flood of Emotion’, a melodic love ballad.

If 12-bar boogie is your thing you’ll love ‘Hard Luck’, a shuffle with great guitar, keys and some true-grit vocals. Even more upbeat is ‘Wrong Time’, a great tune for the boogie floor with a tinge of soft blues/rock; for that more laid-back feeling ‘Faith’ has a funky baseline and some cool clean guitar licks.

A dreamy wash of harmonies and perfect sax on 17th Street Canal makes this one of my favourite tracks; a poignant political and social commentary.

The Cat’s clever almost whispered lyrics, create an eerie atmospheric feel to this jazzy number with yet another outstanding sax solo. ‘Hand of Time’. The title track is slinky-smooth with sensual soulful strings and soprano sax.

Don’t expect ‘old-school’ rock-your-socks-off Climax – but do be pleasured by the refreshing new creativity that captures the band’s bluesy tradition. This new music is just too good to go unnoticed – give it a listen. If you enjoy a good road trip through the genre gears littered with cool bluesy roots along the way, buy the album, it will not disappoint.

YVETTE JENKINS aka YVELVET BLUES

Track List:
• Ain’t That a Kick in the Head
• Straight Down the Middle
• What’s Your Name
• Flood of Emotion
• Top of the World
• My Music
• 17th Street Canal
• Simple Song
• The Cat
• Hands of Time
• Faith
• Hard Luck
• Wrong Time

Bonus Track
• Getting There