Auld Mans Baccie are an acoustic duo playing roots, Americana, and traditional blues music.
Consisting of Davey (the Reveren...d Curtis Humbucker) Curtis Vocals and Guitar and Nick (the Baptist) Phillips on slide. Playing an eclectic mix of Delta, Chicago, and Gospel foot tapping beer drinking music along with a growing number of self penned songs.
The blues is a very peculiar genre of music. In the (nearly) half century since Jimi Hendrix choked on his own vomit, electric blues bands featuring lots of grimacing and fret wanking from guitarists technically far more accomplished than I, have become a staple of pubs across the country, and with very few exceptions are somewhere in the existential no man’s land between ‘dreary’ and ‘annoying’, whereas the original music, especially the original source material laid down in the twenties, thirties and forties by poor black men in the southern half of the United States of Amerikkka, for whom slavery was still a recent racial memory, is often still undeniably thrilling!
The folklore which has grown up around Robert Johnson, claiming that he sold his soul to a cornute stranger in return for the ability to play the guitar like nobody else had ever done before, has grabbed its way into the collective cultural subconscious of Western culture, and has spawned a million spoofs. Even I have written a couple. But I am not going to do it now. Why? The blues, like reggae, is music which was born from an oppressed culture; a culture which, for centuries, had been browbeaten, and kept under the thumb of a ruling elite from elsewhere. So when you look at it in those terms, the claims made by Jimmy Rabbitte (and quoted above) in the seminal Irish movie, and before that in the movie by Roddy Doyle, start to make a hell of a lot of sense. But what has this to do with Auld Man’s Baccie? Well the conceptual links are obvious; much of Ireland has been oppressed by absentee capitalism for much of its history, but much the same can be said about the North East of England. So this gives the two musicians the existential right to play the music of poor black men a century or so after pioneers like Son House and Robert Johnson, but are they any good? Hell yeah. I have known Davey Curtis for about twenty years, and the two of us have cut a boozy swathe through UFO conventions and giant catfish investigations for twenty odd (sometimes very odd) years, but I am not praising his new band just because he is a mate of mine. Mates of mine have made some spectacularly bad music over the years. Nope. Davey and Nick have actually pulled off something extraordinary here. I have been a fan of Davey’s songwriting skills for a long time. Like me, he is someone who has always brought a wry (and sometimes macabre) sense of humour to bear on his lyrics. But something has always been missing. Whilst his lyrics were always slick and elegantly funny, and his tunes well crafted and clever, something always seemed to be missing. And now I know what it was. The two Northeastern Nutters may not have paid a midnight visit to a lonely crossroads to meet the Devil.
In fact it could be claimed that The Devil had already paid a visit to Seaham and its environs in the form of thuggish strikebreakers and the Special Patrol Group. But in that case The Devil wore a blue twinset and had annoyingly coiffured hair. But whoever gave them the spiritual permission to play it, these two eccentric bluesmen have latched a hold of their spiritual and cultural legacy, and are tearing it up massively in front of all comers. And their second album The Church of Lost Souls is even better than their first one, and that is saying something. Davey’s songwriting skills have finally found their spiritual home, and peculiarly, whilst they are funnier than ever, somehow there is a deep kernel of grittiness that I had never noticed before.
Most peculiar Mama. JD