Bleggae - Note Records-NCD1015 2 - * * * 1/2
Who would have thought that a melding of blues and reggae would work this good.
Englishman Tim Hain is a singer, guitarist and songwriter. He is of public school education and aristocratic descent, a real English eccentric but with a very small percentage of Jamaican in him. He found himself playing blues guitar for visiting reggae artists, and from this he founded the fusion of two musical genres that he has affectionately named BLEGGAE! They seem a strange mix, but when you break both styles down to the nitty gritty basics, they are both built on 2-3 chords, both originate in hardship, and sometimes both inspire joy (although blues does have its depressive moments), but in the main they both can be quite spellbinding with a great beat and very hummable melodies.
On the album Tim is joined by band members Roy Parsons and Pete Shaw on bass, and drummers Leroy and Prince (the drummer formerly known as...), as well as a bevy of guest musicians.
In the main the music and singing is very much reggae, as in the tracks Welcome To Iraq and If I Ever Get Home, but with a driving and scything blues guitar sound throughout. Another great example is the really fun sounds of Reggae Lift The Blues featuring vocal support from Prince (the drummer currently known as).
Although not all the tracks have reggae taking the lead, and songs like the fine An Old Bluesman Never Dies has only a smattering of reggae to a larger portion of blues, then there is the funky blues of Thatís What The Blues Is All About featuring Andy Cortes, as well as the great blues tune Feels So Nice.
One track on the album that has to be heard is the cover of the Jimi Hendrix song Wind Cries Mary, a blues rocker done in a blues/reggae style, quite inspiring. The album also ends with a real feel good reggae song One Man Went To Mojo.
Tremendous idea that works exceedingly well, Bleggae on! DK
BLUES MATTERS / Classic VR Radio (Leith, Scotland)
TIM HAIN & The SUNNYSIDEUP BAND – Bleggae Note Records
l must admit to being just a tad skeptical when this arrived and I read the promo which alluded to the merging of Blues and Reggae into a new genre. However after a few spins this fusion works and works damn well. I suppose there was no real reason why the two should not be bedfellows after all they stem from adversity and share a common ancestry. So here we have an irresistible bass driven groove so redolent of Reggae with catchy stories of the Blues over the top. This groove keeps you on track throughout the twelve cuts and there is much to enjoy on the originals and the two covers. The album opens with Little Willie John's 'Need Your Love So Bad' as you've never heard it before. At once instantly familiar in essence to say Fleetwood Mac's version and yet with that funky Reggae rhythm take takes it off in a completely different direction. 'Reggae Lift The Blues' is a joyous celebration of the marriage and creation of Bleggae with some amusing lyrics. On the much more sobering 'Fine Time Child' sees a father talking to his new born about this crazy world we live in. 'An Old Bluesman Never Dies' is well and truly a blues song in character and 'Welcome To Iraq' has some nice slide guitar and clever lyrics on how that place is a brand new business park opportunity in the name of freedom. Yeah right! 'If I Ever Get Home' continues the antiwar theme but the album really comes to maturity on a brilliant version of Hendrix's 'Win Cries Mary'. I liked this a lot. On balance it is more Reggae than Blues on this album but don’t dismiss it, it’s good.
Hi Fi + Magazine - November 2007
TIM HAIN Bleggae Note NCD 1015 2 (2007)
The great joy of music is that all boundaries are purely imaginary. If the mood takes you and you have the talent you can throw the rulebook out the window and just do your own thing. Tim Hain, an eccentric public school educated musician of distant Jamaican descent decided he'd fuse reggae with the blues, a style he's affectionately labeled Bleggae. As both forms are built around two or three chords and a prominent, flowing bass line. the idea is not as far fetched as it sounds. In the hands of a lesser talent the results might have sounded forced and a little trite, but Hain is a wonderfully fluent guitarist with a highly authentic voice. Take 'Need Your Love So Bad' as an example; the guitar weeps and weaves its way over the reggae backdrop without losing any of the heart break, it's just as beautiful as the original, but different. The same sentiments apply to Hendrix' 'The Wind dies Mary' and Tony Joe White's 'That's What The Blues Is All About' and let's face it, it's a fruitless exercise doing straightforward covers of such luminous pieces unless you-can inject new life into them. All the other tracks are originals, expertly written and executed. The purists will have kittens but the rest of us can sit back and bask in a truly innovative and extremely entertaining listening experience.
Get Ready To Rock - November 2007
TIM HAIN Bleggae Note NCD 1015 2 (2007)
Coming at you with a new take on both reggae and the blues, namely 'Bleggae', Tim Hain has set his sights high with a crossover album that features a handful of magical moments and a few fillers. But it is one thing to come up with a new musical concept and quite another to be able to write a dozen in the genre.
In the event he's not far off the mark as at least half of the songs are more than worthy of note with the very funky extended jam of 'That's What the Blues Is All About' being a stand out track. Significantly perhaps, the latter features barely any semblance of reggae beats relying on a post Jamie Nolen (James Browns funky guitarist) signature guitar riff.
Cleverer still, Tim references some of his musical influences, including Tony Joe White who would have been proud of this track.
But it's on the reggae input that we should focus, with Tim working up some fine bluesy grooves over a subtle reggae back beat. Things work best on his show stopping cover of Hendrix's 'Wind Cries Mary', if only because the dub beats sound an integral part of the song rather than an adjunct as on some of the other efforts.
On other occasions Tim's white boy Bleggae has a commercial bent with the ballad 'If I Ever Get Home' being the kind of song that UB40's Ali Campbell might consider, though it's doubtful he would have the benefit of such a love of slide playing.
On 'Everybody's Talking To Themselves' Tim jettisons the humour for the role of socially concerned narrator, and as with the album as whole he is trying to be all things to all people.
If you can overcome the two tracks that top and tail this album - a languid 'Need Your Love So Bad', and a thinly reworked 'One Man Went to Mow' reggae style - then there is much about 'Bleggae' that is worth investigating. On that basis 'Bleggae' just about warrants four stars.
Review by Pete Feenstra
Blues Art Journal - November 2007
TIM HAIN & Sunnysideup - Bleggae - Note Records NCD 1015 2
Tim Hain is a British singer, guitarist and bandleader who, like many of his accompanists, has worked in both the local blues and reggae scenes. He has now combined these two genres to make ëbleggaeí ñ not crudely grafting one form onto the other, as has sometimes been the case in the past when others have tried this combination but making an organic whole. This set is a revamp of his earlier ëOne Man Went To Mojoí and it finds the warm-voiced singer turning Little Willie Johnís ëNeed Your Love So Badí and Jimi Hendrixís ëThe Wind Cries Maryí into Jamaican skanks and making it sound quite natural. Timís playing can sound a little like Albert King, or sometimes a little rockier, and for his own original tracks he has written some pointed, committed and hard-hitting lyrics. Blues fans with any interest at all in reggae should certainly make the effort to seek out this release.
----- Norman Darwen - http://www.bluesartstudio.com