Southern Fried Groove Queens plus Aled Clifford

Old and new friends came together in the Brecon Muse on Sunday for another excellent night at the Mid Wales Rhythm & Blues Club.

The evening kicked off with a rare solo set from our old friend Aled Clifford, who is well known and appreciated as one half of the mighty Henry’s Funeral Shoe.

Aled Clifford

Starting off with a poignant version of Little Feat’s ‘Roll um easy’, Aled initially showcased the more soulful side to his singing and the fluency of his guitar work. ‘Mary’s tune’ and ‘Gimme back my morphine’ from the Henry’s Funeral Shoe albums were delicate and bluesy respectively, and his version of Tom Waits’ ‘Ice cream man’ was skillfully excellent.

After a short while, he cranked up the volume for some classic Henry’s Funeral Shoe numbers – ‘Same boat, different sail’ and ‘High shoulders everywhere’ delivering that characteristically dirty raunchy fuzz-blues that we know and love from the band. He then took a quick detour via Neil Young, and then finished off his set with a much-appreciated version of Rory Gallagher’s ‘Pistol slapper blues’.

Aled Clifford

Aled seemed to enjoy the opportunity to play this gig as much as the audience enjoyed listening to him – and we very much hope that we will get a chance to witness the full Henry’s Funeral Shoe experience again before too long.

After a short break it was time for some new friends to the Club – Lucy Piper and Lee Hall, the Southern Fried Groove Queens, took to the stage and immediately launched into their trademark brand of irresistibly up-beat electric blues.

Lee Hall
Lucy Piper

Lucy and Lee play together brilliantly, with amazing and irrepressible energy, displaying an uncanny ability to follow one another’s moves. They manage to take some of the absolute all-time blues standards, and reinterpret them in their own up-tempo style, whilst never compromising the authenticity of the originals.

Southern Fried Groove Queens

So we were treated to excellent renditions of classics from Mississippi Fred McDowell, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and Howlin’ Wolf – all delivered with high intensity and skill, as Lee’s accomplished slide guitar work and vocals merged seamlessly with Lucy’s powerful yet intricate drumming. Their version of Blind Willie Johnson’s ‘Nobody’s fault but mine’ was particularly memorable.

Lucy manages to turn blues drumming into an art form, bringing an inexhaustible variety of styles and strokes into every song, playing with great fluidity, always with an infectious smile on her face.

Lucy Piper

After a while, Lee swapped over to his “Gretchen” guitar to create an amazingly infectious finger-picked blues groove – his singing echoing mournfully on enthralling versions of ‘Smokestack Lightin’ and ‘King Bee’.

Southern Fried Groove Queens

As their set drew towards a conclusion, their faultless rendition of ‘Trouble so hard’ was especially impressive – anthemic, modern and yet traditional at the same time.

The audience really appreciated their commitment and energy – they were given a very well-deserved encore, and we all felt that we could have gone on all night… had it not been a Sunday evening, and we all needed to be up in the morning! We certainly hope to be seeing them again at the Club before too long.

Many thanks as always to everyone who contributed to making this gig possible, the wonderful Muse, and to everyone in the audience who came along to support live music. See you for the next one!

Photos by Barry Hill
Review by Jim Kerslake

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