Keef Hartley Band – Half Breed

keef

The Keef Hartley Band’s ”Halfbreed” is arguably the best English blues album ever recorded. Having just been fired from the drum kit in John Mayall’s Bluebreakers — Keef Hartley took with him seemingly the entire horn section of the Bluebreakers who had just recorded the great ”Crusade” album. Joining them was Gary Thain on bass (who would later show up on Uriah Heep’s best efforts like ”Demons & Wizards” and ”Look At Yourself.”), along with Spit James and Miller Anderson on guitars. Two incredably talented guitarists whose work on cuts like ”Born To Die” is as good as any work by better known guitarists, such as Clapton, Beck, Peter Green, etc. These guys were incredible. Miller Anderson also had a voice that was born to sing the blues — it is an incredibly expressive voice that carries so much strength, emotion and tenderness (when needed) that few singers are his equal. To fill it all out, Peter Dines was on piano and the Hammond B3 organ to give that fat sound that only a B3 can bring to the blues. Gorgeous stuff. Brash stuff. Blistering stuff. It’s all here. Their version of ”Leavin’ Trunk” will peel the paint off the walls and the aforementioned ”Born To Die” would easily make any Best 10 Cuts of English Blues albums that were really worth their salt. This album was, for me, in 1969 when it was released, the high-water mark of English Blues. These guys were incredible.

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