Sunday, July 28, 2019

Voodoo Kings

Voodoo Kings
By Pete Clemons

What I found impressive about the recent gigs by The Specials in the old cathedral ruins was the fact that, on each of the four nights, there was a different local support band.

And, on the evening I went, that band happened to be Voodoo Kings - a three-piece skiffle come rockabilly band. There was a tenuous connection to The Specials. Each member of Voodoo Kings had previously been in bands with one-time Specials guitarist Roddy Radiation such as The Bone diggers and The Skabilly Rebels.

It is easy to forget that Voodoo Kings have been together for around ten years now. Guitarist Dave West, drummer Terry Downes and Sam Smith on double bass apparently formed Voodoo Kings after the 50th anniversary gig of Coventry legends The Zodiacs. This being held at Christ the King social club during February 2009.

If one of the rules to putting on a live gig is to try to grab the listeners attention immediately, then yes, Voodoo Kings certainly did that. They put a great shift in and were more than a worthy support band.

Dave West carries a rich and soulful voice. Add to that, and like a metronome, the upright bass is being constantly slapped with the drums supplying a kind of glue to it all.

‘Rollin’, the band’s latest tune, was also given an outing. And, of course, in true tradition, that Midnight Train hit the tracks.

Given today’s music scene, I think that Skiffle / Rockabilly is a tough genre to define. 1920s country music and bluegrass revived during the 1950s. Hank Williams and Americana along with days long gone by all spring to mind. But when it was king, skiffle laid the foundations for much of what was to come. And, clearly, it continues to influence today.

After their set I bought a copy of Voodoo Kings excellent CD ‘Systems Green’. Yes, I know, it is around five years old now, having been released during 2013, but hands up, it had escaped me.

Part of this albums charm, and throughout it all, is that there is a rough growly edge to it. There is also a constant energy and tempo. It contains 12 original tunes and, as one tune suggests, it has a rock ‘n’ roll heart.

The album is filled with melodies and rhythms intended on getting you up there dancing, or at the very least, stomping your feet. An amazing energy is contained within this recording.

The future is bright the future is green.

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