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CD Feature/ Pete Alderton: "Cover my Blues"

img  Tobias

Only outsiders ask questions about the Blues. To someone like Pete Alderton, it  certainly doesn't need any explaining: „There's different days in life. There's those bright days and then you've got those dark days“, he says as an introduction to his latest full-length, „You've only got two things left. You've got those worn-out loafers. And you've got that long road to walk the Blues with. So what else could you do?“ God knows that Alderton's decision was never in much doubt: He's walked that road with as much conviction as absence of choice and never once questioned his fate during all those years spent on the tiny stages of sweaty clubs. On „Cover My Blues“, though, he is finally taking his time fto catch his breath and see how far he's come. And the only question he's interested in is whether it's „real“ or not.

What this effectively means is that with the exception of two self-penned tracks, the material here exclusively consists of what can safely be referred to as classics. On the other hand, there is nothing calculated about the programing of the album whatsoever: Constantly checking one's roots for consistency and contemporary relevance is an essential aspect of the Blues and it therefore goes without saying that an album built on standard repertoire and covers makes for something entirely different here than in the doman of Pop and Rock. Without someone like Alderton singing these songs, they would effectively bleed dry – there are no "definitive“ versions for him and interpreting a piece like „Little Red Rooster“ is not a tribute but an act of bare necessity.

While one should therefore not expect any novelty-arrangements or completely new revelations from Alderton's favourites, there can be no denying that he has added his own touch to each and every one of them. „Summertime“, especially, benefits from Michel Sajrawy's orientally ornamented Guitar solo and Alderton's congenial partner Carsten Menzel's subcutaneously grooving production. „Cold Turkey“ has lost its psychotic haziness but gained a physical funkyness. And the equally raw and refined Guitar- and Bass-trio assembled for „Don't Give a Damn“ as well as the slowly trudging sludge of „I'm your hoochie coochie man“ sounds as though the songs had been written especially with him in mind. The secret of why these versions never sound forced or frumpy is that Alderton is definitely not trying to make these pieces his own. Rasther he, is bringing out their essence from his perspective, turning them into personal stories again, despite their universal popularity.

This, of course, is what differentiates an amateur posing as a Blind Lime Jefferson from someone living with this music each and every day. Alderton has rightly remarked that he doesn't need to compete with the rich tradition of Blues singers the UK have brought forth and that the only standard he should be measured against is his own.  It must be said that his calm and composed delivery, free from forced vocal virtuosity, makes this attitude seem all the more plausible. „Cover My Blues“ is not just about sadness. It is about the good times, too. It is about happiness, elation and relief and about how experience tells you that there are bright days and then there are days when the road seems as though it will never end. And it is very, very real.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Pete Alderton
Homepage: Ozella Music

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