Every now and then, Dick gets surprised by an LP with a Vertigo ‘swirl’ label that he hasn’t seen before. It doesn’t happen a lot, as the wise one has seen nearly every release on Vertigo. But along came Blue by The John Dummer Band, and Dick had a reason to be excited once more.
Ok then, Dick, Who are they?
Founded in the mid 1960s by Surrey-based drummer, John Dummer, the band would have a number of monikers over the years; The John Dummer Blues Band, John Dummers Famous Music Band, and even the John Dummer Oobleedooblee Band. For their fifth record, though, they simply opted for The John Dummer Band.
The album came after the band had initially “drifted apart” following their third album, then coming back together for the first of two albums in 1972, Nine By Nine. Dummer recruited violinist Nick Pickett, who stayed with the band for Blue the same year, as well getting Roger Dean to commission that artwork for the release. It has the look and feel of every classic Vertigo release. and like many, performed poorly at the time. It is only now, 45 years later, than we can really unlock the power of the album.
So how does it sound, then?
Truth be told, it is a little inconsistent, jumping from blues driven prog, to even nods of acid rock. However, it is very much of the time, anyone would be hard pushed not to be singing Medicine Weasel for literally hours after it has finished, thanks to the hypnotic, almost krautrock repetition that keeps it going. Elswhere, intricate guitar lines fight each through an often dissonant album.
While the disjointed nature of the album my seem like the slight, the inconsistencies of Blue make the album feel far more interesting than some of the plodding blues journeymen of the day. This is a record that boasts tracks such as Time Will Tell and Me and the Lady, which have more in common with Edgar Broughton than Eric Clapton.
The band broke up in 1974 and Dummer undertook a number of drumming gigs before moving to France. He now plays drums with a few local bands in Bordeaux, while spending his time as a furniture restorer and author.
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