I was at a terrific show by Lonesome Chris Todd’s Hardchargers on Saturday night and they ended with this version of Link Wray’s ‘Rumble’ that oozes quirkiness and personality. Thought I’d share it here. Probably only the second or third time this line-up had performed it.
Regular Afterworders will have heard me talking about Ballyclare bluesman Lonesome Chris Todd and his band the Hardchargers before. I’ve said it before but interest declared again: I’ve been helping Chris over the past year or so – and currently – towards a debut album (released last month) and furthering his performing opportunities outside of Ireland. I won’t benefit financially from any of this stuff – just an enthusiast for an artist wielding some contacts and loaning a bit of no-interest cash if needed. So, less a PR thread than an AW regular sharing one of his adventures…
Here’s the latest plank in creating that platform, the first of three live clips professionally filmed, by director Paul and his sidekick Jeff, at a show at Belfast’s Empire Bar on December 29th. Like most good things in rock’n’roll it was stitched together at an hour close to 11… or maybe 12…
We’d been introduced to Paul by NI film-making legend Michael Beattie. Paul was up for it – a plan to film three good quality live clips at the Empire show, to help get the message to overseas agents and promoters – in good time but reckoned, from costly past experience, » Continue Reading.
Regular Afterworders will know that I’m a fan of Northern Irish blues trio the Hardchargers and have been involved in helping them record and release an album. It was recorded late December 2016 and will be released on January 5th 2018. It’s a terrific album (well, I would say that…), but it’s certainly been a winding path.
A planned sabbatical for the first third of 2017, with frontman Lonesome Chris Todd moving to Dorset to work with Billy Boy Miskimmin’s band, was affected by Chris having family strains back home, an impossible landlady in Dorset, and winding up living in a pub car park for several days. And then it got really bad.
The trio’s drummer, Hodge, had become seriously ill in the interim, sharing the situation on social media and very bravely facing it down. There were a handful of gigs undertaken in the middle of the year, with Hodge in recovery, and things looked like they might be heading in a positive direction.
Chris, however, was heavily burdoned with a number of issues in his private life, which have taken a heavy toll, though a corner has definitely been turned in putting out those fires in the » Continue Reading.
Regulars around her will know that I’ve been involved in helping the Hardchargers – Irish blues sensations from the Ballyclare delta – towards a nationally released album. There have been a few bumps in the road – an inconvenient hellhound has been on the chaps’ trail this year in one form or another – but the album, ‘Scarecrow’, is but a Pledge Music campaign away from being pressed and will be released through Market Square Records (digital and physical) on November 17.
The Pledge campaign will start today -as soon as Lonesome Chris Todd has figured out how one sets a time limit on it. That’s no slight on Lonesome Chris – but on Pledge Music, which seems to have made that aspect of the page construction impossible to find. Maybe that’s the last bark of the hellhound…
I’ve had the pleasure of assisting Lonesome Chris Todd and his colleagues in the Hardchargers towards a debut album this year (nationally released on October 27).
Lonesome Chris has also been making occasional forays into solo performance lately, magically wrangling this 12-string beast and field-hollering his blues in unsuspecting bar-rooms around Northern Ireland.
This video was shot recently in the Toddfather’s apartment. Obviously, Chris himself lives not in a well-heeled plush environment but in a shotgun shack down a dirt road by a cotton plantation (actually, that’s not *too* far from accuracy…. okay, he lives on the sleepy far edge of a country town, down a cul-de-sac beside a marshy meadow…).
‘No Stone Unturned’, in an 11-minute smouldering electric form is one of the highlights of the forthcoming album, ‘Scarecrow’.
Regular Afterworders might have noticed I’ve posted a couple of clips featuring the Hardchargers recently. The ‘Chargers feature ‘Lonesome’ Chris Todd (electric guitar/resonator/vocal), Richard ‘Hodge’ Hodgen (dr/washboard) and Dave ‘Laughing Boy’ Thompson (bass/ukulele bass).
They are the missing link between Charley Patton and the Who – well, I think so. Blistering, telepathic, intense rock with howling field hollers and skiffle technology. After seven years playing up and down Ireland in a status somewhere between semi-pro and pro, up to 80 gigs a year (which in Ireland, trust me, is some going – it has nowhere near the live infrastructure or opportunities of Britain or Northern Europe), the first five months of 2017 will see a short sabbatical in above-ground ‘Charger activity.
A devut album, however, is being recorded right now with engineer ‘Late-Night Tony’ Furnell in Belfast, provisionally entitled ‘Scarecrow’, to be released nationally in May, at which point the chaps will tour Ireland. Hopefully, by then, cunning plans having been (a) thought of and (b) come to fruition, opportunities to play further afield, including Britain, will have solidified.
The vinyl-length album will feature 8 tracks – 6 cherry-picked originals and 2 blues classics in ‘Chargerified form – » Continue Reading.
I’m off to Newcastle, County Down, tonight (and no, I’m not doing the accent…) to see the Hardchargers – Christopher, Hodge and Dave – blow those blues away with, er, a load of blues. Serious, no-nonsense, none-of-your-namby-pamby-airbrushed-Albert-Hall-residency-pap-here-matey blues. They’re the most exciting live act I’ve seen in ages, with a set that begins with resonator, washboard and ukulele bass and ends two and half hours later with edge-of-seat power trio workouts worthy of the late ’60s (including Alvin Lee’s thing with detuning E strings over the course of a solo that appears to last for days).
The track attached is a muddy Waters number, ‘I Can’t Be Satisfied’.
The chaps play roughly two thirds originals, a third covers. They record a debut album next month. I’ve every reason to believe it will be great.