Mick Clarke
Ruff'n'Roar - Live at Scratchers

Recorded live at Scratchers, The Three Lions, Farncombe, Surrey on June 6th 2015. The three piece MC Band of Mick, Chris Sharley and Eddie Masters rockin' the blues to a small club audience. The band is just having fun and it's all here - ups and downs, highs and lows. Blues standards such as Elmore James' "Happy Home" and original set favourites including "Cheap" and "Rockin' The Blues". Rough and raw, and in dedication to the Three Lions - Ruff'n'Roar.

01 Happy Home 04:33
02 Good Morning Blues 04:57
03 Rockin' the Blues 05:04
04 Love Me or Leave Me 09:00
05 Walkin' Blues 05:22
06 Little Rachel 05:51
07 Cheap 05:31
08 Give Me Back My Wig 04.51
09 You Need Love 07.00

Mick Clarke: Guitar / Vocal
Chris Sharley: Drums
Eddie Masters: Bass

Recorded and Mixed by Robert Harman for resetmusicproductions.com
Photos by Jack Hernandez-Darby
Special thanks to Graham Firth and the Three Lions www.thethreelionsfarncombe.co.uk
Executive Producer: Rainbow Jo





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A little background (from Mick)..

The Three Lions is thought to be the oldest public house in the Surrey village of Farncombe, and has stood there since at least the beginning of the eighteenth century. For many years the landlord held an annual fair each Easter Monday in an adjoining field with stalls of gingerbread, toys and other amusements such as climbing the pole, badger baiting and even bare knuckle fighting.

Fortunately the amount of bare knuckle fighting has decreased in recent years, and the pub has found a new identity as Scratchers, an excellent venue for rocking blues bands from across the land.

On a warm evening in June 2015 the three piece Mick Clarke Band assembled for an evening of straght ahead rocking blues - Elmore James, Hound Dog Taylor and a few MC originals. It is indeed rough and raw and what you you hear is what went down. Thanks to all those who attended and to the staff and crew who pitched in so readily to help make this recording possible.

On the evening I forgot to bring a piece of gear along, so popped back home for it. Fortunately not far - about a twenty minute drive. After rolling back to the gig over the Surrey hills with the missing piece (a small matter of the PA amp) I walked in to find the stage festooned with brightly coloured mike leads, while young people ran around everywhere plugging things in around a bemused rhythm section. I had quite forgotten that I'd arranged with my nephew Jo for his friends from Reset Music Productions to come and record the gig. No one else knew anything about it so there had been a little confusion while I was away.

Anyway - no worries. After a quick slug of something warming I was ready for the show. there was no soundcheck so it took little while for the guys to get a balance, and you join us, I think, about halfway through the first set, with a favourite Elmore tune, "Happy Home".

At the time I had no idea that this would become an album, and was just playing for the fifty odd people in front of me, and for my own pleasure (and hopefully the rest of the band). So the playing is loose and sloppy, occasionally erroneous and generally hanging on to its own shirt tails all the way through..

"Happy Home" leads in to the old leadbelly tune "Good Morning Blues" (great fill Chris)! with a verse of Tore Down thrown in. Then my own "Rockin' The Blues". By the time we reached "Love Me or Leave Me" I needed to tune my guitar so Eddie kindly stepped in with an excellent impromtu solo while I tweaked ..I can't say my guitar sounds much different really, but it seemed important at the time.

The good old "walkin blues" is always fun to play and then it was the Jimmy Byfield song "Little Rachel".. a tune that takes me back to my first solo gigs at the Father Redcap in Camberwell, London, back in the early 80s. It's really for the drums and bass to enjoy a groove while I fiddle about with some Lowell Georgey stuff.

"Cheap" is good.. my tribute to ZZ Top and the joy of alcohol. I'm a little embarrassed that on the night I forgot my preferred lyrics "I aint worryin bout the quality" and sung instead the original words "I'm just looking for quantity". Makes me sound like a right boozer, as anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm not. (stifles cough). I mean, I have seen people recoil visibly when I pull a bottle of whisky out of my bag at gigs, but actually I really do drink in moderation. A small scotch goes a long way, and I'd like to live to enjoy a few more years.

"Give Me Back My Wig".. I'm ashamed that I only discovered Hound Dog Taylor in recent years, and I really love the wild abandon in his playing. My favourite moment on his albums is on the live track where he says "I got it".. "What you got"? cries the drunk at the bar.. "the blues man, the blues"..

Yeah Hound Dog had it.

The album closes with "You Need Love", another song I've been playing for ever.. starting with Killing Floor in 1968. By the time we got to this I was clearly knackered, drying up on the vocal and then struggling for the notes. But it picks up in time and I think it's a piece of exciting music.. definitely "real".

Thanks once again to all who assisted so willingly in this recording, my nephews Jo and Jack, and Graham at The Three Lions who is always so helpful. Keep on Scratchin'










Bman's Blues Report

www.bmansbluesreport.com Rockfold Records artist: Mick Clarke Band - Ruff 'n' Roar - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Ruff 'n' Roar from the Mick Clarke Band (Live at Scratchers) and it's hot! From the opening riff on the opening track, Elmore James' Happy Home, this release rips. Mick Clarke (guitar and vocal), joined by Chris Sharley (drums) and Eddie Masters (bass) really know how to crank it up.

This band has the energy of early Savoy Brown or ZZ Top. What that means is endless boogie with flaming hot slide riffs! On Good Morning Blues, Clarke has his amp tuned in just right for that fat saturation and his riffs are thick. Masters keeps the blues vamp going an Sharley sets a tight bottom for a great romp. On Memphis Slim's Rockin' the Blues, MCB gets that Hooker electric boogie really cranking. This track was "made for" Stilladog. Showing his relentless slide attack, Clarke tears it up!

Slowing it down just a little on 9 minute plus, Love Me Or Leave Me, gives the band a breather and solos, including a nice one from Masters and a tense one from Clarke are straightforward and solid. Very nice! Walking Blues, a classic by Mr Son House, gets an update and a solid bottom driver. Clarke blazes a red hot path with his slide guitar. Excellent! Bo Diddley style track, Little Rachel, has the advantage of not only an infectious beat but raw slide work. This is what bands want to sound like live!

Cheap has that gritty early ZZ Top beat and that earthy, fat Billy Gibbons tone on guitar. I gotta tell you, there's hardly a serious guitar player on the planet that won't tell you that he admires Billy Gibbons tone and Clarke has it here. Excellent! Who doesn't love Hound Dog Taylor? Everybody loves Hound Dog Taylor. Give Me Back My Wig is a classic and Clark hits it here. He's not copping HDT's tone but he is tearing up the slide so if you are a slide blues freak like me...eat it up!

Wrapping the release is Willie Dixon's You Need Love starting with a classic Hooker (Boom Boom ) riff and with Masters and Sharley driving like it's Radar Love. Clarke throws down every blue rock riff you've ever heard (and a few you haven't) in this intense 7 plus minute closer. This is one hell of a show and if this three piece band hits this town...I'm there!

Let It Rock

http://dmme.net/the-mick-clarke-band-ruff-n-roar/ Caught red-handed, British bluesman gets down n dirty on a killing floor.

While many artists who emerged in the 60s are content to rest on the blissful side of blues, Mick Clarke is still demonstrating enviable vigor on its raw surface. Even more fierce than a Luxembourg set from 2002 available as a free download this concert album, recorded in Surrey in 2015, finds the veterans trio laying down heavy groove on classic numbers. Its hard to get more gutsy than on the guitarists take on Willie Dixons You Need Love but if thats a finely frenetic finale, theres a roar rolling from Micks rumble on Elmore James Happy Home onward, a seductive slider caressing the fretboard.

With a filigree strum on Good Morning Blues where Eddie Masters bass and Chris Sharleys drums chop a solid bedrock, Clarke turns to a twang to verge on the edge of chaos yet never cross the tuneful line, and the Diddley beat of Little Rachel has a well-measured grace to it. And if the hefty riffs and string pinches of Love Me Or Leave Me unhurriedly, over 9 minutes, pack a powerful punch, Micks own much more playful Rockin The Blues is a great wigout for the ensemble, the veteran wringing a double dose of melody out of his instrument.

So the looking for quantity refrain of Cheap also from 1993s Tell The Truth can hardly be applied here, in the field of bare-nerve quality. Rough: thats how the blues should be delivered, and thats how its done here. An exemplary performance.

*****

Artist Aloud

https://artistaloud.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/ruff-n-roar-live-at-scratchers-mick-clarke/ Review by Parag Kamani


One musician who faithfully reproduces his brand of blues live too, as I witnessed during his performance at Mumbais St. Andrews Auditorium on October 25th, 2014, is Mick Clarke; all this, even after churning albums out since the 60s, initially as a member of Killing Floor, before going solo.

Accompanied by long-time members Chris Sharley on drums and Eddie Masters on bass, the same line-up that toured India, Ruff n Roar was recorded live last year at Scratchers originally known as The Three Lions a small pub in Surrey, England, and effectively reiterates that Mick likes nothing better than laying out stinging guitar solos over blues, including on standards from Elmore James [Happy Home], on which Mick appropriately plays slide, to Willie Dixons You Need Love which, for the trivia-minded, served as a blueprint for Led Zeppelins Whole Lotta Love as well as Micks very own compositions that display his inherent affection for rocking blues.

This is an effort from a true musical superman that also has Clarke as part of his name!












International distribution to wholesalers through BGO Records www.bgo-records.com
Copyright Mick Clarke 2015
All photos by Jack Hernandez-Darby



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