Mick Clarke
The Rambunctious Blues Experiment

Described as "Sea-Sick Steve hitches a lift with the White Stripes on their way to a Rory Gallagher concert" the album is a lo-fi gutbucket blues collection featuring Mick with Russell Chaney on the drums and Dangerous Dave Newman on harp, recorded mainly in one take with no rehearsal!

Recorded by Mick Clarke at Rockfold Studio, Surrey, England

01 Cheap
02 Poor Day
03 Groundhog Man
04 Wanna Do
05 Shake That Boogie
06 Twenty Miles
07 Old Bones
08 Slipaway
09 Go Go Freddie
10 Something's Wrong
11 I Should've Waited
12 Woodsman

All songs written by Mick Clarke MCPS/PRS



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Let it Rock Website
Warts and all: the raw 'n' dirty stew from the British master of the genre.

Held in high esteem since his day as a leader of THE KILLING FLOOR, Mick Clarke has never stopped playing, with his own band or solo, or even when a string broke, as on "Woodsman", the closing track on this album. Hence the "rambunctious" part of its title - the blues aren't meant to be polished, after all, as the opener "Cheap" states - with the "experiment" element joining in from the veteran's current MO: the guitarist called the shot to drummer Russell Chaney with no prior rehearsal which, intuition at play, resulted in grand spontaneity. Clarke cut some agnail while adding a bit of bass at the postproduction stage, yet the wayward spirit reigns all over the dozen tracks on offer.

It hangs well in the Chicago blues tradition, Dangerous Dave Newman wailing on his harp, even though "Groundhog Man" harks back to the Delta's slide with a slice of Diddley beat. But if "Old Bones" rattles its distorted heavy riff with a modern, Jack White-approved edge, the sadness of "Something Wrong" could have been well coated in an orchestral sweep. On the other side of emotional spectrum, "Shake That Boogie" and the instrumental "Go Go Freddie" are irresistible feet-tappers, so the only smooth thing there should be the floor where the rug has been cut, while "Slipaway" thrashes its hook in the equally infectious, if moderate, manner. The album bursts with a youthful energy: the experiment proved to be successful.
****1/3
Dmitry Epstein


Blues Matters Magazine

Veteran of the British Blues scene for many decades Clarke has produced an album of stripped down, raw, rough and ready Blues which was recorded in, mostly, first takes. The title and feel of opening track 'Cheap' sums up the philosophy of this spontaneous sounding album and the lyric states the case admirably - "I ain't lookin' at the label, I ain't worryin' bout the quality". There are a few glitches along the way but everything is left in - even a broken string! Drummer Russell Chaney copes well with this minimalist, no frills, approach and Dangerous Dave Newman added some harp to the finished tracks. Clarke was persuaded to add some bottom end so bought himself a cheap bass guitar and added it himself in deliberately clunky style. 'Groundhog Man' features a stomping Bo Diddley beat, abrasive slide guitar and distorted harp work. Great stuff! 'Shake That Boogie' does what it says on the tin with Clarke taking no prisoners with his fierce slide guitar. The pace relents for a moment with the perfunctory slow Blues 'Twenty Miles' but a distorted, heavy, rumbling riff introduces 'Old Bones' a rocker which ZZ Top would approve of.

A touch of garage rock features on 'Slipaway' a steady paced rocker that thrashes away at an insistent hook. The instrumental 'Go Go Freddie' is a toe-tapping tribute to Freddie King which speeds along furiously as Clarke's guitar duels with Newman's harp. I think Clarke won. This gutbucket album closes with the chaotic and rousing 'Woodsman' where Clarke ploughs on with five strings and also hits the pick up switch a few times randomly changing tones and switching off his corruscating slide guitar completely at one point as Dangerous Dave wails furiously and Chaney thrashes his kit within an inch of it's life. A mess -well yes but also incredibly exciting. as they thrash to a mutual climax. The dictionary definition of rambunctious is "boisterous and disorderly - difficult to control" and that certainly sums up this album.

This will serve to revitalise any jaded palate and is thoroughly recommended.

Dave Drury


Blues in Britain Magazine

Mick's latest album saw him go into the studio with just a drummer and some ideas, and this CD is the result. Old mate "Dangerous" Dave Newman added harp to about half the tracks and Mick himself added some bass guitar. As well as a clutch of new songs Mick revisits a few of his old tunes such as "Slipaway" "Cheap" and "I Should've Waited". The overall sound is rough and ready, raw rocking blues (lovely stuff!).

The CD opens with the above mentioned "Cheap" which has a slinky, swampy feel and some nice messy guitar. "Poor Day" has blasting harp from Dave and gutbucket guitar from Mick, a goodie. "Groundhog Man" has a Bo Diddley-ish beat with harp and slide guitar and the whole thing pushed along by the drums, another really good track. The old song "Shake That Boogie" (from the "Rock Me" album I think) is given a good seeing to with great harp and equally good, messy slide guitar, a storming track! Things slow down for "Twenty Miles" which features more good guitar. the instrumental "Go Go Freddie" rattles along with again both harp and guitar starring. The slow blues "Something's Wrong" is a moody number with excellent guitar, another cracking track. There's a walking bass line to "I Should've Waited" with harp and some fine gritty guitar. The CD closes with some heads down boogie on "Woodsman".

This is good unruly, rocking blues. Mick, as usual plays some great guitar and Dave adds some blasting harp, which fits well with the style here. A "mention in dispatches" for Russell Chaney on the drums; he holds it all together and provides the required propulsion on the up-tempo numbers. All round this is a rollicking good CD that deserves your attention. As always, Mick provides good value for money.

Rating: 9/10
R.Jim Greaves


lahoradelblues.com

Singer and guitar player Mick Clarke has decided not to include a bass player in this new album and set himself a programmed instrument. Only backed by Russell Chaney on drums and an harmonica player called Dangerous Dave Newman in some cuts, Mick has produced a well done album, intense but at the same time unpretentious, with no flamboyant decoration, full of good intentions and commitment for what they are doing. The album may satisfy or not but what is undeniable is Mick Clarke does his best in this new collection of twelve own songs. For many English fans Clarke is called to become the new Rory Gallaher but in my opinion it is daring to say it, as both musicians keep huge differences in sound, concept, technique, phrasing and blues spirit, although the true thing is there are different opinions and tastes and all deserve respect. If you liked his previous cds, or you already are Mick Clarke's fans, then I'm sure this "The Rambunctious Blues Experiment" will satisfy all the expectations you have placed on him. VERY GOOD.
Vicente Zumel

Blues Blast Magazine

According to the scientific method, there are five parts to any experiment: a hypothesis, prediction, independent variable, dependent variable, and conclusion. What would a blues experiment look like? Lets try one on a British veteran Mick Clarke and The Rambunctious Blues Experiment, released in 2011. Hypothesis: This album will be entertaining to fans of blues and blues rock, whatever their geographical location. Prediction: The hypothesis will be soundly proven. Independent variable: Clarke presents twelve original songs, each with their own distinct properties. Dependent variable: The factor being measured here, entertainment value, is highly subjective and relies upon the personal preferences of each listener. Taking a look at three particular songs, we can clearly gauge the musical expertise of Clarke, Dangerous Dave Newman on harmonica, and Russell Chaney on drums (additional bass, keyboards, and drums were programmed by Mick Clarke):

Track 01: Cheap-- Some people like to brag a lot at the expense of blues they got. Cheap dont worry me. I am looking at love--I aint worried about the quality. Right from the start, Clarke lays his objective on the line. One could easily substitute another word for love and realize the true nature of for what hes searching, but certain down-and-outers can relate. Clarkes gruff vocals are spoken-sung (throughout the CD), so the guitar hook on this song is its catchiest feature that will stick in fans heads whether they consider themselves Cheap or not!

Track 02: Poor Day--Continuing the theme of monetary difficulty is the second track on this album, a stunning piece of slow blues: I aint got time to talk with you. Moneys tight; Ive got things to do. Its going to be a poor day, poor day, and thats no lie. One gets the feeling that Mick doesnt only mean poor in a financial sense. Dangerous Dave Newmans harmonica wails in distress, adding emphasis to the gritty guitar solo in the middle.

Track 11: I Shouldve Waited--Sometimes, peoples mouths kick into high gear before their brain shifts into first. The result is the subject of this rueful ballad: I should have stood back and hung around--shouldnt have let my fool self down! Our narrator leaves it up to blues fans to imagine the situation (bar fight? Lovers quarrel? Mouthing off to the boss? All of the above?) Regardless, he gives us a playful reminder that its better to engage ones mental processes before the vocal ones.

In the CD liner notes, Clarke comments: The tracks were not only recorded first take, there was also no rehearsal at all, minimal discussion as to what we were about to play, and some of the songs were written actually as they recorded. This is a startling revelation, proving our original hypothesis: The Rambunctious Blues Experiment is a success worth more than one listen!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 32 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her fathers blues music collection.





Cheap

Some people like to brag a lot
'bout the expensive booze they got
cheap don't worry me
I ain't lookin' at the label
I ain't worryin' bout the quality


Don't talk about me
You know that ain't right
I'm just lookin' for a little
Hit tonight
and Cheap..
cheap don't worry me
I ain't lookin' at the label
I ain't worryin' bout the quality


Passed by the licor store grabbed the first thing in sight
The kid started worryin' I said
"Man that's alright cos Cheap..
cheap don't worry me
I ain't lookin' at the label
I ain't worryin' bout the quality



Poor Day

aint got time - to talk with you
money's tight - I got work to do
well it's a Poor day
poor day and that's no lie

It may be rainin - rainin hard
rollin down the gutter - fallin down in the yard
that's a poor day
poor day it ain't no lie

Well the sun could be shining - shining down on me
But if I ain't go no shadow - to walk along side of me
well that'll be a Poor day
Poor day - and that's no lie

I sittin here thinking - work to be done
I'm taking care of business - looking after number one
but it's a Poor day
Poor Day and that's no lie

So I'm leavin - headin down the track
looking over my shoulder -I won't be coming back
and it's a Poor day
Poor Day and that's no lie



groundhog man

Well let me tell you what to do
cos you know I'm in love with you
one thing that I have to say
I'm gonna be here everyday

so roll when you're ready
rock when you can
I'm gonna be - your groundhog man
roll when you're ready
rock when you can
I'm gonna be - your groundhog man


down the corner shop I can go
where the money goes I don't know
but I know one thing for sure
you couldn't ask for anything more

so roll when you're ready
rock when you can
I'm gonna be - your groundhog man
roll when you're ready
rock when you can
I'm gonna be - your groundhog man


well toss a penny and watch it roll
where it lands it your love will go
let me take you all the way
cos I'm gonna be here every day

so roll when you're ready
rock when you can
I'm gonna be - your groundhog man
roll when you're ready
rock when you can
I'm gonna be - your groundhog man



Wanna Do

you wanna stay out on the tiles all night
you wanna drink you wanna holler while you're gettin' tight
go ahead baby
do what you wanna do

cos if you're hanging round here I'm gonna fight with you
cos you're nothin' but trouble all through and through
go ahead baby
do what you wanna do

well I've listened to your story and it seems to me
that that and twenty cents'll buy you a cup of coffee so
go ahead baby
do what you wanna do

cos I ain't comin creepin with no beggin bowl
for a scrap of a favour that you just don't owe
just go ahead baby
do what you wanna do

yeah you wanna stay out on the tiles all night
you wanna drink you wanna holler you wanna get yourself tight
you go ahead baby
you do what you wanna do

cos I aint gonna be your old door mat
while you're runnin round actin' like an alley cat so
go ahead baby
you do what you wanna do



shake that boogie

well here come my baby all dressed in white
she can cruise like a satelite
gonna shake that boogie
shake that boogie
ah shake that boogie - the boogie's alright for me

here come my baby all dressed in black
rockin and a rollin like a cadillac
she can shake that boogie
shake that boogie
ah shake that boogie - the boogie's alright for me

ain't gonna worry bout a thing no more
we gonna boogie on the kitchen floor
we gonna shake that boogie
shake that boogie
ah shake that boogie - the boogie's all right for me

ah shake that boogie
shake that boogie
well shake that boogie - the boogie's all right for me



twenty miles

well i told you when I met you
I won't let you down
I'll call you baby
when i'm twenty miles from town

now trouble - it may find you
well they call that the blues
don't worry baby - well I'll be there with you

and people - they may doubt us
yeah they may mess around
but I'll call you baby
when i'm twenty miles from town

well the years go passin by now
for me as well as you
same old story - just do what you have to do

cos i told you when I met you
I won't let you down
and I'll call you baby
when i'm twenty miles from town



Old Bones

locked down on a steam train in a heat stream on a cold day
talkin on a mobile and the whole while I don't even know the man I'm talking to
dealing with these people is like dealin with these old bones


fightin all the time with some kind of party line they're tryin to lay on me
hasslin all the time with power trips and power bills and other contraryness of all descriptions
dealing with these people is like dealin with these old bones

bad time its a sad line the more you know you know the less you know
so I'm hanging on the internet and the blues comes all around down in my soul
cos dealing with these people is like dealin with these old bones


slipaway

I'm going down - to the brewers
gonna get me - a mess of blues
find people waitin' there
all drunk and loose
but when the crowd get too heavy
I ain't gonna fall down against the bar
I'm gonna take my leave
gonna move on out
gonna take a walk
gonna head for home
well I'm gonna slipaway with you

well I'm drinking - but I'm restless
I've got something on my mind
the whisky in my hand - turn to turpentine
and when the band starts flagging
and the guitar's out of tune
I'm gonna take my leave
gonna move on out
gonna take a walk
gonna head for home
well I'm gonna slipaway with you

cos your eyes - burn like hot coals
they can smoulder a man to death
the touch of your hand - send a shiver through my flesh
so when the crowd get too heavy
I ain't gonna fall down against the bar
I'm gonna take my leave
gonna move on out
gonna take a walk
gonna head for home
well I'm gonna slipaway with you

gonna take a walk
gonna head for home
well I'm gonna slipaway with you



Woodsman

well how many times
you gonna mess with me
I say how many times
you gonna mess with me
I knowe you got some woodsman - hanging round your tree
round your tree
your tree
alright
well
now who's that talking
on the telephone
yeah I heard you talking
talkin on the phone
You got yourself a toyboy - I can't find you at home
yo'aint home
I can't find you at home

so its early in the mornin
and the roads are clear
early in the morning
country roads are clear
I'm loadin up my wagon
head on out of here
out of here
out of here
the old man's blown a fuse
the old man's blown a fuse



Rockfold RF010

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