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Who's Who of talent joins Barber on memorable trip

Chris Barber: Memories of my Trip (Proper Records, 2 CDs)

Barber (trombone) and band with guests.

THIS two-CD compilation spans several decades and incarnations of the Chris Barber band. Dedicated to the late John Slaughter (guitar), a long-time band member, it consists mainly of live recordings.

Disc One puts the accent on the blues, with a Who's Who of vocal guests. The title tune, Memories of My Trip, features Brownie McGhee (vocals, acoustic guitar) on his own.

On two tracks he joins Sonny Terry (harmonica), who played with him for 30 years in an unforgettable blues partnership. Another great voice from the Deep South is Mississippi-born James Cotton (vocals and harmonica), who sings a 12-bar blues.

The most famous Mississippi man of them all, Muddy Waters, leads his own band with Chris Barber on Kansas City, but he is not at his best and the sound quality is poor.

It's a long way from Mississippi to Cork, but Rory Gallagher (vocals, guitar) gives a most authentic rendering of Can't Be Satisfied. Belfast's Van Morrison also sounds very convincing on How Long Blues and Goin' Home. They are joined by another northerner Ottilie Patterson.

Disc Two is a nostalgia fest for those who remember the New Orleans revival of the Fifties. The veteran New Orleans clarinetist Albert Nicholas plays an elegant C-Jam Blues, while Trummy Young (trombone) does wonderful things with Georgia on My Mind. And of course Chris Barber's mellow trombone plays a major role in both CDs.

Today JJ Smyth's opens early for a 5pm gig by teen guitarist Andreas Varady. The Slovakian prodigy will be joined by his father, Bandi Varady (bass), Michael Buckley (saxes) and David Lyttle (drums).

Sunday Independent