Michael Barclay with The Michael Barclay Blues Band)
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Michael Barclay with The Michael Barclay Blues Band)

Santa Rosa, California, United States | INDIE

Santa Rosa, California, United States | INDIE
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"MICHAEL BARCLAY BLUES BAND"

MICHAEL BARCLAY BLUES BAND

Tradewinds, Cotati

January 15, 2005
By Rolf Olmsted

I arrived slightly early for the monthly Michael Barclay show at the Tradewinds. One of the things I’d missed in the concrete block warren of Honolulu was melodicism and some harmony beyond three chords; I was looking forward to the Barclay Band’s larger concept of the blues. Michael was fussing with the equipment, adjusting the house sound, and giving his guitar a long tune-up. The other musicians (Banana on organ, Kent Fossgreen on bass, Roger Volz on Saxes, Joel Rudinow on piano, and Gary Silva sitting in on drums) set up, eyed Michael, and talked among themselves.

Suddenly Michael was ready and turned around and the band went into "Dark Night,” one of their fine instrumentals. The small crowd of regulars turned to the band and mostly watched, enjoying the rich sound. I wish that there was a sound clip of this playing as you read this, words aren’t much good describing a big groove instrumental with a cosmic feel. It was a great start, and filled me with relief: "Oh God, I’m back, I missed this."

Michael’s song "Red Headed Woman" got every body out dancing. Michael was hot early and was driving and emotional. His singing was emotional too as he went into the next song, singing about "your new found friend" in "I Refuse (to get the blues)."

"I refuse, I refuse,
I refuse to get the blues.
You said goodbye,
But I ain’t gonna cry,
I refuse, I refuse,
I refuse to get the blues."

In a hoarse but heartfelt tenor Michael sang:

"I can feel your body
When I'm lying in bed
There's too much confusion
Going around through my head

And it makes me so angry
To know that the flame still burns
Why can't I get over?
When will I ever learn?

Old love, leave me alone
Old love, go on home

I can see your face
But I know that it's not real
It's just an illusion
Caused by how I used to feel

And it makes me so angry
To know that the flame will always burn
I'll never get over
I know now that I'll never learn"

(Cray, Clapton)

This song, done with looseness and power, had little muffs in it that would mark the evening.

I’d been into Kent Fossgreen’s amp repair shop (next to Zone Music) and Kent was playing a working dub CD of new songs the band was working on. The new CD is in the works and Michael’s been concentrated on new songs. Since the Barclay Band has been playing fewer gigs lately and working on new material, their regular show songs were a touch rusty. All through the night they would play with fire and a loose attitude, and occasional glitches. The back door kept opening, and more and more people came in.

Now the band moved to one of the new songs. Michael sang:
"Why’d you stay out so late?" Trying for something new the rhythm section sat out and only Michael on guitar and Joel on piano played through an extended section with nice interplay. I got the song as "Lonely House, Lonely Sheets." I’m looking forward to hearing the song on CD.

Then in a changeup they did "Drown In My Own Tears."

"It brings a tear,
Into my eyes,
When I begin,
To realize,
I've cried so much,
Since you've been gone,
I guess I'm drowning in my own tears,
I sit and cry,
Just like a child
My pouring tears
Are runnin' wild
If you don't think
You'll be home soon
I guess I'll drown in my own tears

I guess I'll
(Drown in my own tears"

Roger Volz did one of the soul tunes he’s noted for since his days in the Dynatones, "I Stepped Over The Line." The grown crowd was into dancing and the band did a long "Gimme a Break" which included bass and drum solos. The now big crowd cheered.

The second set opened with a big instrumental that had folks out dancing. Michael strapped on a slide guitar and went into a brand new tune which Michael introduced as an "oedipal drama"---"Mama’s Cadillac." "Mama I wanna drive your Cadillac."

"Louise" was done rawer than usual and with a really big raw solo. This song was like the whole night: the Barclay band more raw and emotional than usual. This time it was a lot more like Howlin’ Wolf and low down.

Roger did his song "High Maintenance Woman" with a new intro which faked me out, I thought he had a new song. Roger played a tenor sax some of the time, but his alto is really him.

Somewhere in here they did “(Really Have To Use My) Imagination", my favorite tune of theirs, this time it had a different buildup into the tune, every verse changed in feel.

Then Michael dedicated a whole big Hendrix medley to John the Tradewinds manager, wild pyrotechnics and wah-wah pedal and all. "I’m standing next to a mountain, I chop it down with the edge of my hand!" Voodoo Chile segued into "Purple Haze" and then into a huge sounding "Red House." The crowd was screaming.

They closed out the night with “Banana’s tune” with its skipping feel. People were still out dancing; we didn’t want them to stop.

I’m looking forward to the new CD sometime in the spring or early summer. I’m glad Michael is back to monthly at the ‘Winds. It’s interesting watching them change and grow. - Sonoma Tunes


"Blues Matters Magazine"

http://www.bluesmatters.com/modules.php?name=Reviews&rop=showcontent&id=141

Michael Barclay-Blue Eyed Blues

Artist: Michael Barclay
Title: Blue Eyed Blues
Genre: Blues-Rock
Label: Chatterbox Records
Website
CD Baby Link

Michael Barclay brings his Blue Eyed Blues to the table this year. He plays some mean guitar licks and sounds like the prototypical bluesman, and at times he is so expressive and heavy he sounds like the old black blues players.

Barclay offers up 16 solid tracks of spicy and red-hot blues-rock, the kind that starts a fire that never goes out. I mean this does not let up for second on the entire recording.

The album has a great kickoff song that typifies the blues; “Give It To Me Straight” sings the blues about a lover gone astray. Then “A Diary of the Blues (All the Prayin' in the World)” is another sad but funny rocker, as the man singing, who happens to be Barclay (this is autobiographical by the way), laments about his wife divorcing him and his girlfriend leaving town. Sounds like the blues came pouring down on him in this instance because of his own doing, but there is always a guitar to pick up and a saloon around the corner to make it all go away, yes sir this is da blues. “Stinky” and “NY Blues” are great instrumental tracks that give you an opportunity to appreciate the well-honed chops of everyone in the band, not to take away their equal expertise on the vocal tracks of course. “NY Blues,” which features Barclay playing all the instruments on the track, is a slow cooker, with some funky up front bass and stinging guitar licks; it is surely one of the best cuts on the album but far too short-lived. There is something special about an all-instrumental number; it allows you to focus in on the music without having to think about anything else. These are just a few highlights of a CD jam-packed with them.

Barclay’s guitar dominates this album, along with his vocals, organ, horns, and electric piano playing; however, I must tip my hat to the rest of the contributors on this outstanding album, which is quite a cast of characters, giving the entire project heaps of diversity and depth. Notably, the addition of an amazing horn section consisting of Roger Volz, Al Garth, Dale Gutridge, and of course Barclay, that adds some meat and potatoes to the mix.

Barclay has been around the block and back and his resume speaks very highly of his previous work. He learned production in the Electric Lady Land Studio right alongside the legendary Eddie Kramer and has played with the likes Norton Buffalo, Nick Gravenites, and Merle Saunders, to name a few of the long list of well known artists. This man is a blues veteran through and through and Blue Eyed Blues is a true test of his blues pedigree.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

March 1, 2006

Credits:

Michael Barclay: guitar, vocals, organ, horns, electric piano
Joel Rudinow: piano
Banana-organ and rhythm guitar
Kent Fossgreen: bass
Kendrick Freeman: drums
Roger Volz: sax, organ, electric piano, guitar

Special Guests include:

Ozzie Ahlers, John Allair, Jack Jacobsen: keys
Al Garth, Dale Gutridge, Tim Haggerty, Kevin Powers: horn section
Levi Lloyd singing Desperate Man
Rachelle Byrne,Dorian Hartley: background vocals
Rick Cutler, Aaron Haggerty: drums

01. Give it to me Straight
02. Drown in My own Tears
03. Mama's Cadillac
04. Desperate Man
05. Orphan
06. A Diary of the Blues (All the Prayin' in the World)
07. Maintenance Man
08. Old Love
09. Stinky
10. My Pretty Angel
11. Shake it Loose
12. Nylons and Heels
13. Just Can't Quit the Blues
14. The Shoe is on the Other Foot
15. NY Blues
16. Who's Stalkin' Who?

Added: March 2nd 2006 - Blues Matters


"Sonoma Tunes (.com) live review"

December 17, 2006
Michael Barclay Blows My Blues Away! (12/06)

I headed down the road to the Tradewinds lastnight for some long due Michael Barclay Blues Band.
I'm not sure why I haven't been to one of their shows in recent months but I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna miss any more.
I've been staying home most weekends regrouping so to speak, and I had forgotten just how damn good this band is.

I was settling in on the warm up opener and it didn't take long to get back into that groove. They made it so easy and it all felt right from the beginning. I was in my comfort zone.

It was great to see the band, the familiar faces of the crowd, and to hear that guitar of Michael's that had my knees like jello. I was short of crawling to him on the floor begging him to stop because I just couldn't take no more!
I was willing to sell my soul, sacrifice something living, even myself, if he would just stop- it was that euphoric. I felt like reaching in my chest and pulling out my still beating heart and handing it to him, it was that intense.
I wanted to kneel before him and pray, even though I'm not a big believer, he was making one outta me lastnight.
I wasn't sure what I wanted to do and if I didn't let out a holler, scream, or whistle, jump in the air, I was gonna burst!!

I'm not sure why blues guitar, I mean good blues guitar, gets to me this way. it's like it gets inside and touches something very vulnerable inside of me. I've tried to analyze it and I just can't seem to pinpoint the reason for my obsession with it.

And Michael....he'll just take it slow and build it up higher and higher, never faltering until it reaches the very top to where one can go no further.

The band follows behind him and helps the build up, higher and higher till I was literally almost floored.
A guitar player can build up and up but without a band such as this crew to build the foundation for the songs euphoric conclusion , it don't mean much.
What an awesome band!!
Rick, Kent, Jane, Joel, Banana, Roger....Thank You!

I feel mellow today thanks to lastnight. It's amazing how therapeutic live blues is for me. Not a trace of anxiety today and it feels good to just be calm, quiet and serene. Except for the Jimmy Dawkins I've got going in the background, it's quiet in my head and I have Michael Barclay and his Blues Band to Thank for that!

I don't know what else to say except Thank You Tony for having these guys every month at your establishment and I'll see you next month for some more of.....
The King of Sonoma County Blues!!

Later,
Mo (Maureen Hayes) The Blues Traveler
- http://www.sonomatunes.com/weblog/


Discography

Black & White
Blue Eyed Blues
Soul Patch
Midnight Rendezvous
Steal Your Heart (The Bandits)
WBBH

Photos

Bio

In the late 60s, Michael Barclay played with Chuck Berry. He then recorded at Electric Lady Studios where he learned production at the side of Jimi Hendrix’ engineer Eddie Kramer. In the early 70s Michael went west, joining Banana’s band (keyboardist in the Youngbloods), as well as that of Randy Crawford (Street Life). In the late 70s, Michael became part of legendary organist Merl Saunders’ bands where he had the pleasure of backing and playing with numerous legendary Singers and Musicians. After spending a few years in such top Marin California Bands such as “Fast Company” and WBBH” and backing such musicians as Julian Lage, Norton Buffalo, Nick Gravenites, Sarah Baker, and Stu Blank, Michael took a few years off to deal with life. Now he’s back to his love, the blues, and Michael Barclay (the Michael Barclay Blues Band) are in the process of coming on stronger than ever with the new release BLUE EYED BLUES on Chatterbox Records. Having thrilled the Russian River Blues Festival and the Sonoma County Blues Festival.

MICHAEL HAS SHARED THE BILL WITH (among others):

Robben Ford
Delbert McClinton
Roy Rogers
Joe Louis Walker
John Mayall
Roy Buchanan
Nick Gravenites
Mark Naftalin
Etta James
Ronnie Earl
Elvin Bishop
Coco Montoya
W.C. Clark
Terry Evans
Johnnie Johnson
James Armstrong