Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Elsewhere has always been favourably disposed to blues albums by local artists because we know they don't sell in large quantities and rarely get much, if any, mainstream attention.
Over time the CDs will tick over on the back of live concerts but in the absence of any concerts for Tauranga's long-running Kokomo (once Kokomo Blues) this 16 song collection of rarities, demos and alternate versions with Nigel Gavin, Liam (Narcs) Ryan and others among the guests -- including the late Bruce Morley on a remix of Baby's Getting Bigger -- might seem courageous.
With material dating from the late Nineties – most of it originals by mainman Derek Jacombs – you can hear how Kokomo extended the blues into soulful folk (Nowhere To Go), roughed-up Stones-styled country blues (Baby's Getting Bigger), moody but swinging country-folk (Any Road Up), a touch of reggae (the live Burden Down), Bob Dylan's Cat's in the Well (from his unloved Under the Red Sky album) and further.
Inside the CD booklet there is a double-page spread of those who have “joined us to make music over the last 30 years”.
It's a measure of how respected this band is that among the many names are New Orleans' Lillian Boutte, Terry Crayford, Julia Deans, Rodger Fox, Hawaii's steel guitar player Ken Emerson, Wayne Mason, Ritchie Pickett, Jan Preston, Brian Smith, Shona Laing, Robbie Laven . . .
That's a remarkable cross-section of folk, jazz, rock, rock'n'roll, blues and more.
That's why Kokomo are always worth tuning in for even if, as the promo sheet admits, “Kokomo have never been a band afraid of imperfection and there is plenty on display here”.
Actually what you get is a band of earthy honesty . . . and something more than a “blues band”.
You can find this album and more about Kokomo at their website here.