SWEET BOURBON BORN A REBEL Bourbon Records Blues from Holland, always welcome because long experience shows that our European friends are willing to absorb British and American forms and attitudes, and still sprinkle a little native dust into the mix. Sweet Bourbon embrace the Stax / Atlantic style of gospel-tinged r ‘n’ b sounds, lots of horns and upfront harmony vocals. After a quick one-two fast-and-furious openers, comes the stand-out track on this collection. The delightful Mrs C, a left-field story told with some absolutely smoking guitar and understated Hammond. It proves yet again that the contradiction of the blues is there to be explored, a simple basic format framework, with an endless variation of atmospheres and tones to be laid on top of it. Next up is a country blues number, and the appeal of this band, and this album starts to emerge. They have versatility to burn in terms of format and delivery, arrangements are chosen to embrace the overall feel of the lyrics. Fans of European artists will find, as I do, that people writing in their second language can often come up with a better phrase than native composers, as Chris Janssen does with You have evil moments, But I want you to stay Muddy Footprints, a ghost story with some more of that scorching guitar, is atmospheric and cleverly constructed and delivered. Sitting On Top Of The World is as classic a blues as you would wish to find, both musically and lyrically, and once again that neat turn of phrase at work, All last summer, worked on this farm, Had to take Christmas in my overalls … The final cut is a cheerful jazzy Chet Atkins-esque twelve-bar, tailor made for the live performances we all miss so much. This band is added to the ever-growing list of outfits I really want to catch live somewhere. In the mean time I commend this excellent selection of versatile and clever tunes to everyone who likes their blues with intelligence and passion. Watch out for this band. ANDY HUGHES.