by Ian Mann
May 31, 2011
Earthy, slide guitar driven acoustic blues.
Rev. Ferriday & The Long Dogs
Glen Ferriday is an interesting character. Originally from South East England where he was a founder member of cult late 80’s/early 90’s indie band Loop, he has now moved to the more sedate atmosphere of Ludlow in rural Shropshire where he has quickly established himself on the local live music circuit with his brand of earthy, slide guitar driven acoustic blues.
After leaving Loop Ferriday played with country band Sintra before joining the band National Debt in 2001 alongside fellow guitarists Owen Bray and lap steel specialist Michael Messer. Ferriday’s collaboration with Bray continues to this day, he forms the other half of the Lost Dogs duo, but I’ve only ever seen Ferriday perform as a solo artist. He certainly looks like an authentic white bluesman and with his years of experience sounds like it too. The Marches are fortunate to have such a seasoned old pro living on the doorstep. He’s a close friend of Bridgnorth based Juke Joint John who ploughs a similar furrow and whose work has already been reviewed elsewhere on this site.
Ferriday’s live shows include blues classics from the likes of Robert Johnson and Skip James and he once famously worked with Dr. John but this self released low fi duo recording with Bray comprises of seven items of original material with Ferriday and Bray featuring on a variety of guitars but with the bottleneck style always prominent. Opener “Sarah Ellen Dance” is a leaving song based on the experiences of soldiers in the First World War and comes complete with slide guitar and an authentically gravelly vocal. “How Long” is in the style of a country blues and has a catchy, sing along chorus that has made it something of an audience favourite at Ferriday’s live shows
The mixed metaphors of “Mother Earth” allow it to be interpreted as another “baby done me wrong” song or alternatively as an expression of more contemporary environmental concerns. “Out Of Touch” is a paean to the solace to be found in the consumption of strong liquor.
“Red Painted Lips” is a chilling murder ballad with the protagonist awaiting execution for killing his cheating sweetheart with “a rock in my fist” and dumping her body in the brook. The post apocalyptic “Burning World” adds a smidgeon of percussion but it’s mainly a slide guitar fest with a growled vocal. Even the closing “Sweet Little Love…” does little to lighten the mood, it’s another song of betrayal and death with searing bottleneck guitar and a heartsick lyric and vocal.
“Rev Ferriday & The Long Dogs” is probably best regarded as an EP rather than a complete album. Directly influenced by the delta blues it’s a simple, unpretentious record full of bleak imagery. The overall mood may be a little too downbeat for some but it’s a good souvenir of the live shows and there’s some plenty of fine guitar playing, particularly with the slide, throughout the set. There’s very little in the way of modern production values and on record the limitations of Ferriday’s voice are more apparent than in a live context where his excellent guitar playing becomes the natural focus. His gruff, semi spoken vocals are well suited to his material but on disc his lack of range quickly becomes all too apparent. However he tells me that he sees the disc as basically a “calling card” or demo and as such it does just fine. There’s plenty here for blues buffs to admire but it’s live music that seems to be Ferriday’s real forte. If you’re reading this and live in his catchment area of Shropshire and the Welsh Borders go and check him out for yourselves.blog comments powered by Disqus