Blacktop Deluxe

The Limelight Theatre, Queens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury

Friday 18.11.2016


Blacktop Deluxe


To quote their website Cornwall’s Blacktop Deluxe stepped out into the Limelight (Theatre) opening their set with two tracks from the 2015 'Presence & Gain' album; ‘Crank It Up’ and ‘Chasin’ Snakes’.  These set the tone for the evening as a well crafted set containing a mix of old, new and classics with a blue/rock style. Following on, there was some great slide guitar work in a 12 minute medley which included ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ and their version of ‘Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’ was just as spine tingling as Rory's original.


Formed in 2013 Blacktop Deluxe's current four piece line up of Keith Howe - guitar/vocals (ex Blue on Black), GB Bartlett - guitar, Jamie Fyffe - drums and Dean Saunders - bass have been together since May 2016.  Apparently the silent fifth member, a yellow plastic duck, is another story! They treated us to a preview of the pending third album with a rendition of the single ‘Robinson’s Shaft’, a song about Cornish mining and nothing to do with Poldark.



After the break in the 2 hour set were a couple of tracks from the debut EP, 'Dark Horses' with the laid back beat of ‘Money in My Pocket’, reminiscent of Free, and ‘The Wine’, apparently a favourite of Joe Bonamassa.


Liberally dispersed were tracks from BTD’s first album ‘Turn Up, Be Nice, Play Hard’. A change of mood was offered with ‘Out Of The Red’ and ‘Voodoo Slide’, the pounding drum and bass giving a southern rock edge to the music, akin to early ZZ Top. ‘Mustang 429’ had more muscle, just like the car and to me had more of a hint of AC/DC about it.


The rearrangement of Blue On Black’s ‘Man Down’, a homage to guitar heroes, featured Keith’s majestic solo. The lyrics offered a great game of ‘Spot The Legendary Song Title’…..

 “He ‘Couldn’t Stand The Weather’, but he is ‘Alright Now’. ‘Hey Joe’ and ‘The Stealer’ come in to take a bow.

‘Angel Eyes’ watching him, down at ‘The Laundromat’, ’Voodoo Chile’ at ‘The Crossroads’, he ain’t never lookin’ back.”


A change of pace was well received with a superb rendition of JJ Cale’s 'Magnolia', dedicated to absent friends. There was a switch of lead vocals when GB took us down to the delta with ‘Sweet Home Chicago’, and Canned Heat’s ‘Let’s Work Together’ finished a great evening’s entertainment with great music and great sound.


Words: Bronwen Harvey

Photos: Laurence Harvey