Bernie Marsden – Big Boy Blues and Green (1995 – 2005) 

Big Boy Blues and Green (1995 – 2005) Box Set Cover Art 

Bernie Marsden – Big Boy Blues and Green (1995 – 2005) 
Cherry Red Records
Release Date: 24/02/23
Running Time: 
Green And Blues: 58:00
Big Boy Blue: 55:00
Big Boy Blue: The Sessions: 42:00
Big Boy Blue Live at The Granary: 77:00
Review by Paul Hutchings

A four CD package from Cherry Red brings together these recordings in one box set. All are previously released, so it may be that this is one more for the dedicated fan, but it’s also a quality collection of some of his work, it works fabulously and if you aren’t acquainted with one of the most talented guitarists the UK has ever produced, this is a cracking introduction.

Although he’s best known for his time in Whitesnake, Bernie Marsden’s CV is a sparkling collection of musicians he’s worked with over the years which include Wild Turkey, Cozy Powell’s Hammer, Babe Ruth, UFO, Paice Ashton Lord, and Alaska. He’s also a fabulous blues guitarist, and his love of all things Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac is well known. 

The packaging contains updated liner notes which put the flesh on the bones to the background to each recording. “Green and Blues” sees Bernie pay homage to some of his heroes with a selection of songs by the likes of Peter green, Freddy King, and John Mayall. Originally recorded at Battery Studio in London in October 1994, Bernie says in the notes that “We used The Blues Room which is Studio 3. If it’s good enough from Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker, it’ll do alright for me”. Ironically, although the album did well, it was released at the same time as a certain Gary Moore released “Blues for Greeny”. From the opening track ‘Hideaway’, the first Peter Green track ‘If You Be My Baby’ through to the harrowing sadness of ‘Man of the World’, it oozes with a laid-back charm and quality that you just can’t force. It’s organic, fluid, and oh so relaxing. 

The second and third discs are ‘Big Boy Blue’ and ‘Big Boy Blue: The Sessions’. Both are intriguing, compelling, and totally enjoyable. The first is a combination of covers and Marsden originals, these feature a range of musicians including Detroit born Marsha Raven whose classic US voice brings a touch of extra authenticity to proceedings. Again, it’s all delivered in that chilled and confident vibe, with plenty of harmonica, meandering bass lines and some exemplary guitar work. Bernie adds more detail about the recording in the notes, including the following comment. “Throughout my professional career I have always tried to play music that moves people and makes them enjoy themselves. This is the kind of music that inspired me in the early days.” There’s another homage to Green in the shape of ‘Loved Another Woman’ alongside a neat version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s ‘Do It If You Wanna’. “Big Boy Blue: The Sessions” contains out-takes and demos from the same sessions and is more for the ardent fan. 

To round off the collection we have “Big Boy Blue Live at the Granary”. Having released the “Big Boy Blue” double disc in 2002, he set off on the road with his own band. This recording is from The Granary in Buckingham, in February 2003. A small crowd squeezed into a baking hot room to listen and watch Bernie and band deliver a 12-song set that is captured for prosperity here. It’s a fabulously crafted set, opening with George Jackson’s ‘Down home Blues’, and exploring some covers of 60s standards. Bernie’s duets with Sharon Watson are stunningly good, whilst the brass contribution enhances Bernie’s gentle playing. It ends, perhaps inevitably, with Bernie’s biggest hit, a duet with Sharon Watson on the Whitesnake classic ‘Here I Go Again’.

A fantastic package then, and as the sleeve notes confirm, BB King on German Radio in 1996 was asked if white men can play the blues. His reply: “Some can, Peter Green, Eric Clapton, Jonny Lang, they feel the blues, oh and that Whitesnake guy, Bernie, he got it”.

Green And Blues (1995)
01. Hideaway
02. Don’t Want No Woman
03. If You Be My Baby
04. Little Girl
05. Rollin’ Man
06. Merry Go Round
07. Watchout
08. Snowy Wood
09. My Heart Beats Like Hammer
10. Shake Your Money Maker
11. Love That Burns
12. The Welfare (Turns It’s Back on You)
13. Steppin’ In
14. The Supernatural
15. Man Of the World

Big Boy Blue (2003)
01. Burn Your Bridges
02. Working For the C.S.A.
03. Man Or Mouse
04. Dream On
05. Downhome Blues
06. Lady Friend
07. Memphis
08. Funny People
09. Loved Another Woman
10. Pick It Up
11. Do It If You Wanna
12. Place In My Heart
13. Tone Down

Big Boy Blue: The Sessions (2003)
01. Wiggin’s Wail (Alternate Mix) 
02. Someday After (Alternate Mix) 
03. Dream On
(Session Outtake) 
04. Working For the C.S.A. (Session Outtake)
05. I’m Tore Down
06. Pick It Up (Acoustic Demo)
07. Pick It Up Groove (Session Outtake)
08. Do It If You Wanna (Alternate Mix)
09. Place In My Heart (Alternate Vocal Mix Version)
10. Funny People (Alternate Harmonica Mix Version)
11. If You Be My Baby (Alternate Version)
12. Place In My Heart (Instrumental Mix)

Big Boy Blue Live at The Granary (2005)
01. Downhome Blues
02. I’m Tore Down
03. Funny People
04. Key To the Highway
05. Loved Another Woman
06. Knock On Wood
07. 3 O’Clock Blues
08. Man Or Mouse
09. Place In My Heart
10. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
11. Hold On I’m Coming
12. Here I Go Again

Green and Blues 
Bernie Marsden – Lead vocals / lead guitar
Josh Phillips – Piano / organ
John Gordon – Bass
Steve Dixon – drums
Guests – The Midnight Horns

Big Boy Blue Live at The Granary
Bernie Marsden – vocals / guitar
Sharon Watson – vocals
Nigel Neill – piano / organ
John Gordon – bass
Graham Walker – drums
Nik Payn – Harmonica / saxophone
Gabriel Garrick – Trumpet
Andy Hamilton – saxophones
Matt Winch – Trumpet


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Cry For Mercy – Automatic Breakdown EP

Cry For Mercy – Automatic Breakdown EP
Release Date: 26/03/2020
Running Time: 15:36
Review by Beth Jones

Lockdown is still upon us, unsurprisingly I may add. It could have been horrific, but thankfully the kids are finding ways to amuse themselves, and any time is wine o’clock here at EMHQ! We’re keeping ourselves busy with all the new releases that are still appearing, in spite of the sucky nature of the world outside our windows. Within this ever-expanding list was the new EP from one of our local favourites, Cry For Mercy.

After having a really good run in the 2019 Metal 2 The Masses competition, and making a bit of a name of themselves locally as a very talented and catchy blues rock band, these three down to earth guys aren’t letting lockdown stop them from putting new music out there. The release of this EP was supposed to happen in physical form, but was instead released digitally. Although checking on their Facebook page, they do now have physical copies.

So, to the music! This is their second EP release, and after really enjoying their first, I was very eager to give this one a spin. At only 4 tracks and a little over 15 minutes, it’s a short burst of what the Cry For Mercy boys can do, but in terms of the songs, it is concentrated goodness! Each track has a great swinging blues rock feel, with cracking riffs, some really smooth guitar solos, and gravelly vocals making it the perfect soundtrack to a road trip through a dusty sun-bleached dessert in Nevada (after lockdown is lifted of course – currently please stay at home, etc, etc).

In terms of production, this EP is a big step up from their first release. I love it when you can see measurable progress in a band, and this is demonstrated perfectly here. The balance of every instrument in the mix is spot on, and the timings and ‘togetherness’ of everything really shows the progress they have made in terms of being tight in performance in order to create a fully gelled sound.

I particularly like the second track, ‘Skin Crawl’ as it has some great dynamic variations, progressing through full on vocal harmonies and crunchy chords, to a softer vocal and fingerpicked guitar section, which then picks up again into the very catchy chorus!

These guys have a very classic sound. A mix of Mama’s Boys, with some early AC/DC, and a good hit of deep-south groove, which is easy and pleasurable to listen to, and always makes me smile. Another great release guys, now get cracking on an album please, because 15 minutes just isn’t enough for me!

1. Automatic Breakdown
2. Skin Crawl
3. Fire
4. Breaking Down The Walls

Kevin Plant – Bass/Lead Vocals
Andy Cutty – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Steven Taylor – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.