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Milton - Farrow Skiffle 'N' Blues Band

Barefoot & Blue

Right Track RTR-S 12011

Richie Milton will best be judged by history and most likely found to be a significant figure inthe British blues scene. With releases on theNote-Music, Blues Matters! and Indigo labels, plus some he has put out himself, the beshaded frontman for his Lowdown is not a new name but he does seem to get overlooked in the UK blues pantheon - despite always receiving excellent reviews (and he'll get another of those here). Fellow singer/ guitarist Bill Farrow is known to some for his song "Canning Town Blues", which West Ham fans will have heard down at Upton Park, but Bill is also an all-round talent, being both an actor and poet in addition to his blues skills. This CD presents the two men alternating their vocals, backing each other up, and performing real duets.

The music is acoustic based, with a rhythm section of Greg Harewood on bass and Graham Hollingworth on drums providing just the right kind of bottom for this music, and Roger Cotton on organ on two tracks. Alan Glen provides his top-notch harmonica playing to six songs and also supplies the kazoo on "She Don't Know". Alert readers may now be forming reasonably accurate ideas of what this release sounds like - kazoo may suggest the urbane hokum sound of Tampa Red And Georgia Tom, and the use of the word "skiffle" tends to reinforce that - and it has English

sounding connotations which are certainly borne out by the likes of the gospel-based "Hammersmith And City Line" and several less obviously-titled compositions. There are also a couple of tips of the hat to rockabilly - but in a aid-back style, as is the rest of the album. I enjoyed this very much; a little different, but a lot familiar. Richie never disappoints, does he? Neither does Bill...

Rating: 8 -

Norman Darwen - BLUES IN BRITAIN

Artist: Milton & Farrow Skiffle ëní Blues Band
Title: Barefoot & Blue
Label: Right Track Records RTR-S 12011

Richie and Bill have combined their talents to create a refreshing mixture of acoustic folk, blues and lively skiffle; both have written six original numbers each and for which they accordingly provide lead vocals, except for the title track in which they share the lead. Bill, with his patient and understated approach, excels on the shuffling, compassionate and† more than thoughtful poignant folk and blues numbers, giving each of them a gently evocative toetapping homespun feel, while Richies vocals on the bright and breezy skiffle numbers injects a feeling of energetic joy; on the slower shuffles Richie presents a rather more distinct feeling of† vulnerability.†
Providing the excellently sensitive and shuffling accompaniment is; Alan Glen; harmonica and kazoo, Greg Harewood; bass, Graham Hollingworth; drums and Roger Cotton; keyboards.
After a number of plays you become pleasantly aware of how Richieís unique voice bears more than just a passing resemblance to the original ëking of skiffleëLonnie Donegan, a fact that certainly more than adds to the highly enjoyable proceedings. The twelve numbers gently and evocatively explore the highs and lows of love, hope, loss and the ability to successfully negotiate the intricacies of the Hammersmith and City Line. One number that particularly stands out is ìBlond Blue Baby,î which seems to be a wonderful homage to Gene Vincent and Cliff Gallup, the lyrical vocals from Richie and plaintively sweet guitar passages are most definitely a delight for the ears.
Although the pace is far from frenetic it is a fine body of work that more than warms and reaches into the soul!
Highly recommended!

Brian Harman.

Richie Milton and The Lowdown - Lowdowning - Oct 2008

Itís quite simply great: the singer and guitar player, Richie Milton, has produced in the 14 tracks of this album a blues of such vitality and beauty that it takes your breath away, the kind of stuff which makes for unforgettable evenings.

With that husky voice of his, he cannot fail to send shivers down the spine, as in Test On Time, a really slow blues which will be a hit on the dance floor. For this track, Richie Milton is joined by a first-class line up with the likes of Ed Spevock on drums, Phil Lucas on bass guitar supported by Dave Lennox on keyboards and two outstanding brass players: ëSlickí Dick Hanson on trumpet and Steve King on sax and keyboards. With Suspicious Again, itís off to a flying start, a powerful song followed by a swinging Call Annie. Richie then hands the mike over to the beautiful Linda Hall for a Dr Goodstuff, which the Neal music clan would be proud of whilst with Alchemy, the South American notes which fly away from the piano sweep you off to a world of choppy blues, a world you want to be part of. Written by Steve King, Ghosts On Rampart St., is a perfect example of what modern bluesmen can write by cleverly mixing influences from here, there and everywhere, a mix of strong and soft lighting with sounds full of exotic colours and flavours: the ultimate music track which could feature in any world music anthology.

All the other tracks, written by Richie Milton (except for Suspicious Again, co-written with Ruby Turner) are threaded like cultured pearls, each one more beautiful than the other. This album opens the doors to welcome you in the world of this very English Blues, so strongly defended by the Note Records label.

I canít help but recommend you to immerse in the excellent July In The Sunshine in which Steve King is absolutely luminous on sax and the Alchemist Gypsy Dub (exactly 3 minutes 23 long) which can only be played with your windows wide open transforming your sitting-room into a fashionable club, a track deep in tints of salsaÖ Richie Milton creates the kind of blues which makes you feel so happy, thereís only one thing you want to do, rush to press ëreplayíagain.

You will find the CD here: www.note-music.co.uk

Frankie Bluesy Pfeiffer
Translated from the French by Nathalie Harrap ñ Active Languages
Paris On The Move & Blues Magazine

Blues In Britain - Richie Milton & The Lowdown - September 2008

Lowdowning note-records NCD 10 10 2

This is Richie Milton &The Lowdown's fifth album in a thirteen-plus year recording career. The core of singersongwriter-guitarist Milton, CO-vocalist Linda Hall, bassist Phil Lucas and hornmen Steve King and Dick Hanson remains from their 1994 debut; Dave Lennox (organ) and Ed Spevock (drums) complete the line-up.

All bar one of the thirteen originals on this set come from Milton's pen and the liner promises 'rhythm 'n' blues, old time soul, ballads, Latin and rock 'n' roll! All mixed up in a big ole gumbo this is ... Lowdowning!'

The album opens with "Suspicious Again", co-written by Milton and Ruby Turner, who recorded it on Call Me By My Name. "Call Annie" is a rock 'n' roller in the style of the late Larry Williams. "Test Of Time" is a lovely soul ballad. The Latin tinge rears its head on the two-part 'Alchemy"/"Alchemist Gypsy Dub" and King's instrumental "Ghosts On Rampart Street", whereas "No Time" utilises a ska rhythm. "May You Never Be Blue", Milton's dedication to his mother, is pure country. "July In The Sunshine" brings Leon Redbone to mind and shows Milton to be an optimist but sadly no good at forecasting the weather. Linda Hall gets a chance to shine on "Dr Goodstuff" and "Sucha Lotta Lovin'", still sounding like a young girl despite the fact that she must be, oh at least 29 by now.

 An enjoyable varied set from a band of hard- a working, seasoned professionals is the lowdown on this one.

 Rating: 8 - Jon Taylor

Blues in Britain

David Lands – Jazz Journal  Sept 2005

A powerhouse performance from Milton and his band. Most of the songs are by the leader and are very well con-structed; in fact the only non-original (Don't You Just Know It) is the worst track on the album. His voice is free from Mississippi mud (which makes a change) and although heavly influenced by the music of the fifties and sixties (Bobby Bland, Joe Tex etc) he puts it across in a per-sonable manner. Linda Hall backs up the vocal and has a fine voice, notably on Life Is Strange. I can imagine the band rockin' the house when performing live and punters eagerly buying this CD as a souvenir.

David Lands – Jazz Journal

This is a band that must be seen...

Master players exercising their craft.

RICHIE MILTON ©The Spitz, London. - 'Bluesique CD Launch Party.

Richie got the set underway with that old chestnut 'Soul Finger.' A few bars later the brass section comes in and your insides smile as the whole machine becomes motioned. And I'm pleasantly transported back to the days of the Blues Brothers and can recall the time when all the boring blokes down my pub who talked about nothing except cars and football were suddenly awoken by this real music. Now we have 'Stars in their eyes!' When you add brass to a group it becomes a band. 'Had No Lovin' follows, a pace shuffle number with no surprises that is the albums' opener. 'Nothing Can Stop Me' clipped guitar, brass section riffing, and a lazy feeling. A gentle hip swayer. 'Get Naked' Brass led rhythm about Adam and Eve. The title explains the rest of the song. Nice one Richie couldn't agree more! 'Grooving', with Paul Cox, guesting on vocals, and 'You Don't Shake It' follow. And then the big one; 'Bluesique' the title track is a sheer piece of genius, transforming you back to the 30's and 40's with some great scat harmonies from Richie and Linda Hall weaving their vocals 'snake- like' through the melody. A Fine piece of songwrit- ing and a story line that had me hooked from the start. Maybe it's just the period that Richie has so respectfully borrowed from, but I have the feeling it would be the kind of song that every serious musi-cian would love to play on. 'Alright Ok You Win' has Linda taking the lead vocals combining a freshness to this familiar standard with just enough slur in her voice to put you on the south side and once again the brass section delivered some dynamic alternat-ing punctuation trade offs. The first set ends with 'Proud Mary', which starts off deceptively slow before breaking into 1,2,3, and the familiar, raunchy speed of 'Low Rider', that has the girls coming out of the woodwork and on to the dance floor like snakes. The second half kicks off with Hawain Ska', and the dance floor is on heat auto-matic. 'Dressed To kill', 'Straight Ahead, No Stopping' keeps the dance floor buzzing with some nice swelling organ play by Dave Lennox. When Linda takes over the lead vocals with 'Lover Please' we witness the horn section simulating Wild West railroad train siren sounds, prompting screams of enthusiasm from some secret admirer somewhere in the room. In 'You Wanna Take A Mile' we're treated to some very authentic Stax reminiscences with key changes within the number and the old vocal talking numerical counts on the beats and nice organ stabs/swells from Dave. 'Wasn't That Love' follows and bassist Phil 'The Rock' Lucas plays some lovely Duck Dunn lines! 'Tip of My Tongue' features Linda Hall sounding incredibly like Brenda Lee accompanied by that lovely farty brass with those beautifully punc-tuated stops. This is a band that must be seen and as good as the CD is, it cannot create the sheer excitement of a live show with master players exercising their craft.

John Freebrey - Blues Matters - August 05

Blues & Rhythm – UK – June 2005-06-20

 Bluesique - Note Records NCD 1006-2 (53:43)

Talented songwriter, bandleader, singer and guitarist Richie nearly broke big in 1998 when Indigo released a couple of his CDs, but things have been relatively quiet since then. This generally admirable set (only the poppy closer and a couple of examples of overly derivative writing detract from the overall excellence) proves that although the south of England is his base, his heart is way below the Mason-Dixon line.

He's equally at home with southern soul, blues shuffles. New Orleans r&b and good old rock and roll: there's even a bebop blues with the title track. Special mention must also be made of second singer Linda Hall and to the horn section for helping out with a job well done.

Norman Darwen

Rootstime Radio and Magizine - Belgium - June 2005 ( In Belgique)

http://www.rootstime.be/

British Blues associeert men soms wel eens met fifties, jump, rock-'n-roll, jazz, soul, funk en blues. Toch verstaan frontman Richie Milton en zijn Lowdown perfect de kunst om dit alles op een verpletterende manier te brengen. Richie Milton luisterde als tiener zeer aandachtig naar Herbie Goins and the Nighttimers en Zoot Money's Big Roll Band, zowat de eerste generatie Britten die R&B en soul nummers in hun muziek wisten te brengen, en dit terwijl andere leeftijdsgenoten luisterden naar Elvis en Pat Boone. Hevig beïnvloed door deze R&B begon hij een soulcarrière en creëerde een eigen originele sound. Het pas uitgebrachte album "Bluesique" is een perfecte illustratie van hoe het kan en eigenlijk hoort. Luister maar eens naar een pracht van een rock-'n-rollnummer "Takes 2 To R&R" en ook "Nothing Can Stop Me", een alom swingend, met prachtig blaaswerk gedreven nummer. "My Confession", een track die de '50 jaren laat herleven, brengen zij met een zo'n wonderbaarlijk enthousiasme dat het mij onmogelijk lijkt hier niet aan toe te kunnen geven. Alle muzikanten zijn heel professioneel, o.a. Phil ‘The Rock’ Lucas(bas), Dave Lennox (Hammond orgel), Paul Atkinson (drums), maar toch zijn het de blazers Steve King (tenor, alto en baritone sax) en ‘Slick’ Dick Hanson (trompet) die het geluid van het album bepalen. Invloeden van mambo en Caribbean mixen de muzikanten in soul en rock-'n-rollsongs zoals in "If Love Is A Crime" en het afsluitende "Goodbye Song", zodat gebrek aan originaliteit absoluut uit den boze is. Van de veertien nummers is er één cover, nl. Huey 'Piano" Smith's "Don't You Just Know It", en dit is wat men noemt een ware killer. De andere songs zijn door Richie Milton zelf neergepend, waarop hij op het New Orleans-getinte "Tip of My Tongue" en in de slow blues van "Life Is Strange" vocaal wordt bijgestaan door de helder klinkkende Linda Hall. Dat zelfs blues voor dit explosief sextet geen geheimen heeft, bewijzen ze zo maar eventjes in "Life Is Strange". Men beweert wel eens dat men met het ouder worden de goede dingen gaat appreciëren, "Bluesique" is er alvast het goede voorbeeld van. Wie van meer dan alleen maar pure blues houdt, is bij deze gewaarschuwd!

François Braeken

Babel Fish Translation

In English:
British blues one associate sometimes sometimes with fifties, jump, rock-'n-roll, jazz, soul, funk and blues. Nevertheless front man Richie Milton and understand perfectly are Lowdown art of bringing all this in a crushing manner. Richie Milton listened as a teenager very attentively to Herbie Goins and the Nighttimers and Zoot Money's piglet Roll link, zowat the first generation at that R&B and soul numbers in their music could, and this bring whereas other contemporaries listened to Elvis and stalemate Boone. Violently influenced by this R&B he started soulcarrière and created its own original sound. The album "Bluesique" brought out just is a perfect illustration of how it is possible and in fact hears. Lustre to a splendour of rock-'n-rollnummer "Takes 2 To R&R" and also "Nothing Can stopper me", everywhere swinging, with splendid bladder work number floated. "My Confession", a track which revives the 50 years late, bring they with a such miraculous enthusiasm be able give me which it does not seem impossible to this. All muzikanten are very professional, among other things Phil ' The Rock ' Lucas (bass), Dave Lennox (ham mouth organ), Paul Atkinson (drums), but nevertheless are it fumaroles Steve King (tenor, alto and baritone sax) and ' Slick ' Dick Hanson (trumpet) that stipulate the sound of the album. Influences of mambo and Caribbean mix the muzikanten in soul and rock-'n-rollsongs like in "If Love are a crime" and the closed "Goodbye song", so that lack of originality is absolutely from pine boze. Of the fourteen numbers is there one cover, viz. Huey ' piano "Smith's" Don't You Just Know It, and this is what one calls a truth chillier. The other songs is by Richie Milton themselves neergepend, on which he on the New Orleans-getinte "tip or My Tongue" is and in the slow blues of "life Strange" vocaal is assisted by the clear klinkkende Linda hall. That even blues for this explosive sextet has no mysteries, proofs she this way but eventjes in "life is Strange". One claims sometimes that one become with parent the good things will appreciate, "Bluesique" is of it in advance the good example. He who more than only pure blues loves, at these has been warned!

Blues Revue Magazine - USA - May / June 2005

On Bluesique (Note 1006), U.K. singer/guitarist Richie Milton has penned a set of terrific songs that actually say something - his narratives and love songs display humor, keen observation, and in experts’s turn of phrase. His band, the Lowdown, preserves the feel of classic R&B, with grooves played properly and the horns out in front most of the time. Millton tends to let his singing speak for itself and confines his guitar work to swinging rhythms; on "Nothing Can Stop Me," a fine exception, he leads the band crisply. Excellent vocalist Linda Hall steps out on the New Orleans-flavored "Tip of My Tongue" and the luxurious slow blues "Life Is Strange." The only cover is a killer – Huey 'Piano" Smith's inscrutably ridiculous masterpiece "Don't You Just Know It." Soul and jump music lovers cannot let Bluesique go unheard.

Blues & Soul review April 2005:

RICHIE MILTON & THE LOWDOWN: Note Records BLUESIQUE

Richie Milton and the Lowdown are a jobbing UK band who've been mainstays on the live circuit for longer than they can probably care to remember. Bands like the Lowdown are typically British and sit in the tradition of outfits like Herbie Goins and the Nighttimers and Zoot Money's Big Roll Band who back in the day peddled their own take on first generation R&B and soul. Add to that a hint of the Commitments and Blues Brothers show band style and you'll get the feel of the album. All the tunes are originals and throughout homage is paid to seminal influences. So, "Tip Of My Tongue" is based on "Yakety-Yak"; Nothing Can Stop Me" has the off kilter sound of ska, while "Goodbye Song" 'loans riffs from "Wooly Bully" and "Sweet Soul Music". On each cut you'll hear a particular influence - but in the context that's no bad thing. It's all good time music and with twin vocalists Richie himself and the sweeter tones of Linda Hall, there's plenty of variety. I suggest that the band are better live than on record - but if you've ever caught them live you may want to own this.

(BB) [3 turntables rating]

B. Harman - Blues Art - Austria - March 2005 

The first time I had heard of Richie was back in 1991 when I reviewed his then new release “Collaborators “ {on the Shunting Legends Label SL2} I remember saying at the time that I considered him and his band to be a class act; now, with this fresh, lively and invigorating album I am convinced that Richie and his band are now a top class act. His maturity, knowledge and skill gained in the intervening years has enabled Richie to produce a smoothly, sophisticated groovin’ Blues album on which numbers move seamlessly, from tasty Blues shuffles,  through to elegantly cool, mellow late night Blues, at times reminiscent of the late great Percy Mayfield.

A high quality horn section is evident throughout, especially on the highly enjoyable swing numbers.Richie is joined on vocals on all but two of the fourteen numbers by the talented Linda Hall, who has also co-written one of the numbers, whilst twelve of the thirteen others are self penned Richie originals.Underpinning Richies’ quality performance is The Lowdown, who are; the aforementioned Linda Hall; vocals, Steve King; tenor, alto and baritone sax, ‘Slick’ Dick Hanson; trumpet, Phil ‘The Rock’ Lucas; bass, Dave Lennox; Hammond organ and Paul Atkinson; drums.

Richie and The Lowdown have produced an album which, by rights should put them in the forefront of English blues. Hopefully, a brave high profile label will give this band the backing that is long overdue.Buy British! Have, a bloody good toe tapping time.

B.Harman

http://www.bluesartstudio.at

Nonny James - BBC Hereford & Worcs UK - Feb 2005

" A new CD BLUESIQUE from my friend Richie Millton nice tunes and great vocals for Linda Hall and Richie."

nonny.james@bbc.co.uk.

David Blue - netrhythms.co.uk UK - Feb 2005

There's a big jazzy opening to Richie Milton's fourth album, his first for Note Records, Bluesique. Had No Lovin sets the scene for what you can expect from Richie and his backing band, The Lowdown. It's big and bold and Dave Lennox's funky organ will have you dancing in the aisles. All 14 tracks are written by Richie and the complete lyrics are on the booklet. If Love Is A Crime starts a run of soul/R&B songs and the horns make this one a winner. Steve King on sax and 'Slick' Dick Hanson on trumpet are an excellent backdrop to Milton's style.

Get Naked is more soul/R&B and Blind To Her Love is a tear-jerker which is almost gospel in its delivery. The title track has the horns to the fore again for a competent big band swinger and there's a big sax and organ build up to the slow track Life Is Strange. This is the highlight of the album with Linda Hall's sultry vocal and it sounds as if it could have been the theme for a sixties detective movie. Heavenly Moon has barrelhouse piano and sounds very much like Dr. John, right down to Milton's vocal. There's a little bit of Randy Newman in there as well.

Rock and Roll gets an airing on the uncomplicated Takes 2 To R&R and Tip Of My Tongue. Back to R&B for Nothing Can Stop Me and, not for the first time, it's the horns that make the song. Better The Devil flirts between country and rock and roll and has a good-time feel to it but I couldn't help humming Wild Side Of Life along to it. Another rock and roll song, this time a ballad, turns up in the form of My Confession. This is another of the better songs on the album and is sung in a 50s style.

The album finishes with two differing songs, the slow R&B of Don't You Just Know It and the slight ska feel to the start of Goodbye Song. The former of the two is a better song with its easy feel and with the band on top form. However, the vocals are not quite up to it on this occasion. The latter is a fun way to end the set.

This has more plus's than minus's and I think that Richie Milton and The Lowdown will do good business with it and a number of the songs will go down well live. The album is due for release on 15th of March 2005.

David Blue -

www.netrhythms.co.uk

Ian McKenzie - Blues In The South UK - Jan 2005

MY Oh My, what an eye-opener this is! I have to admit I have not heard of Richie and his band before, but once heard never forgotten. This is the real deal! Without exception, the fourteen tracks on this album are ass-kicking, soul-tinged, funky R&B of the highest quality. Richie Milton (v,g), and the Lowdown (Steve King (ts, as, bs, p, org), Dick Hanson (t), Phil Lucas (b), Dave Lennox (org), Paul Atkinson (d) and vocalist Linda Hall) are tight-as-tight and swing like nobody's business. This all comes with horn arrangements that would not shame the boys from Muscle Shoals or The Room Full of Blues Horns and some original songs with juicy lyrics. All the tracks, with two exceptions were penned by Richie; and even one of those two was co-written by him. Linda Hall, the backing singer on most of the tracks, is also given a chance to show her solo skills (and very good it is too). Frankly I can't wait to hear this band live

This is Richie's first album for Note Records but it must not be the last. Why are you still sitting there? Go and get a copy of this one straight away you will never regret it.

Ian McKenzie

http://www.bluesinthesouth.com/

Andy Bennett - Blues In Britain UK - Jan 2005

Richie Milton & The Lowdown - Bluesique Note Records NCD 1006 2

This is Richie and the band's fourth album and in my opinion their best. The line-up is Linda Hall on vocals, Phil Lucas on bass, Paul Atkinson on drums, Dave Lennox on organ on some tracks, Steve King on sax and keyboards on some tracks, and Dick Hanson on trumpet.

The album consists of 14 tracks; 13 are written by Richie, the cover being a lively version of Huey "Piano" Smith's "Don't You Just Know It". This CD covers a variety of styles including the jazzy title track.

"Tip Of My Tongue" is a very catchy sixties style toe-tapper sung by Linda and there are two excellent ballads in the fifties style, "My confession" and the very bluesy "Life Is Strange". My personal favourite track is a delicious piece of southern soul called "If Love Is A Crime". The album concludes with the aptly named "Goodbye Song" which in a catchy Caribbean styled number.

This album should appeal to a large audience with its variety of styles and I am looking forward very much to his next one.

Rating: 8

Andy Bennett

Jim Moore - Scottish Internet Radio. UK - Jan 2005

Just wanted to add that I did listen to the album and fell totally in love with the track "LIFE IS STRANGE".
Astonishing Vocals and a deep rich sound from the Organ. Totally Magical.! Best savoured at five thirty in the morning,in the car ,volume and bass cranked up to eleven. Sent shivvers down my spine. Lush stuff.

http://www.internetradio.co.uk

UKBOB - GOOD MORNING BLUES " WRFG 89.3FM Atlanta. USA - Jan 2005

....14 good time tracks on his typically up to snuff outing “Bluesique”

http://www.ukbob.com/

Bob Muncey - Linton Festival. UK - Jan 2005

I think the album is superb & I particularly like “Blind To Her Love” & “My Confession” , these are the type of numbers that for me, Richie excels at. I am looking forward to the launch party.

The DIGITAL BLUES LETTER - Phoenix Fm . com Dec 2004

With their first release on the Note-Records label, Richie Milton & the Lowdown have the excellent Bluesique scheduled for release in the first quarter, a fine collection of swinging and jazzy numbers, big band style mixed with some really cool blues. Classic Richie Milton stuff!

http://www.phoenixfm.com/

Redlick Records - Feb 2005

Bluesique. Big band blues from guitarist Mr Milton whose written some pretty good tunes for this CD. A nice sound on this, crisp guitar work, neat horn arrangements and impressive organ playing from Steve King.