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Friday, 22 July 2016

HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY TO MY BLOG




Today is the 5th birthday of this blog. It started out as a workshop for my own poetry and then developed into all sorts of meanderings. We are heading towards 105,000 views. Amazing.

I am particularly proud in recent times to have championed quite a number of creative Northern Irish writers and musicians and the all-time most viewed posts appear below.

Thank you to everyone who took an interest. I hope to continue to keep things interesting in the future.

MOST VIEWED:

The Good Son by Paul McVeigh
Full Throttle by Liam Beckett
The Beginning of the End by Ian Parkinson
Down to Earth Cookbook by Paula McIntyre
Feeling' Good by Kaz Hawkins Band
They Killed The Ice Cream Man by George Larmour
Spirit of '58 by Evan Marshall

MOST VIEWED LINKS:







Tuesday, 19 July 2016

ALBUM REVIEW - KAZ HAWKINS BAND - FEELIN' GOOD

“Multi award winning Kaz Hawkins is Northern Ireland’s very own blues and soul darling. The Belfast born singer-songwriter is fast becoming a performing icon across UK & Europe with the United States temptingly beckoning her over. Her high energy, original shows with her 1950s style swing-dress-meets-Dr Martens look and ability to closely connect with her public contribute to make Kaz one of today’s most popular blues artists in the UK and Ireland, as she continues to play to full houses.  Kaz has been compared to Etta James & Janis Joplin to name but a few. Mixing through the genres of music for over 20 years, she finally found her niche in roots and blues………”

Feelin’ Good
Kaz Hawkins Band
2016














Recorded at Millstone Studios, Comber, Northern Ireland
Produced and mastered by David Jamison.


Track Listing:

Pray (Hawkins)
It Ain’t You (Hawkins)
Don’t Make Mama Cry (Hawkins)
This Is Me (Hawkins)
Belfast Town (Hawkins)
Feelin’ Good (Anthony Newley & Leslie Bricusse)
Don’t Run Away (Hawkins)
Because You Love Me (Hawkins)
Soul Superstar (Hawkins)
I Just Wanna Make Love To You (Willie Dixon)

Kaz Hawkins – Lead vocal, acoustic guitar. Keys
Nick McConkey – Lead guitar, acoustic guitar
Peter Uhrin – Drums, percussion, backing vocals
Jan Uhrin – Bass
Deanne Jones – Backing vocals

I’ll get to the singing shortly. But first, hats off to the production team and the musicians. Every note, every second of this magnificent album just oozes perfection. The arrangements are superbly thought through and delivered with confidence and expertise. Each musician is a vital ingredient and when they all combine, man, what an astounding piece of work.

I have listened to Feelin’ Good six times and each time I have jotted down words like power, energy, drive, authority, confidence, force, dynamism, supercharged, compelling, infectious, irresistible, mind-blowing – you get the idea. It is as mighty a recording as you are ever likely to hear. It will have equals as an album but you’d be hard-pressed to find much better than this, and that includes you, Adele.

And so, specifically to Kaz Hawkins, a soul and blues hurricane, to rattle your contact lenses before turning it down a notch and hugging you in a sweet embrace. Kaz has an amazing vocal range from the edgy gospel opener Pray to the rocking It Ain’t You.

The first words you hear from Kaz are: “Lost ma mojo.” Sorry to contradict you, KH, but this album just drips mojo. (I know what I mean!) Pray is a full power track, perfect played loud to gain the full benefit and to absorb the vibe. It lifts the spirit and stirs the soul, an anthem for troubled times.

We hop aboard a driving riff on It Ain’t You, a rock ‘n’ roll-soul-blues combo that has classic written all over it. Add that to the slinky, sassiness of Don’t Make Mama Cry and I’m thinking, if Tom Jones plans any more duets, Thomas, look no further.

This Is Me and Soul Superstar, both brilliant slower, but no less stunning songs, underline who Kaz Hawkins is – a Belfast girl with a gift of a voice and a talent to behold that has universal appeal. She is from a particular place but she can go any place, if I can write those words like an old blues guru! Radio stations should be falling over themselves to play this album.

On Belfast Town, the foot is back on the accelerator, this time with quite brilliant drums played expertly by Peter Uhrin, the beats and rhythms staying with you long after the track ends. Apart from anything else, it is a masterclass in percussion. And it is always nice when the old home town gets a mention.

Of the ten tracks, eight are Kaz Hawkins originals and two are covers. Feelin’ Good, the old standard, is in safe hands here and it fits in beautifully with the texture of the album. Kaz doesn’t put a foot wrong on any track and it is to her credit that she can include covers in such a seamless way. I Just Wanna Make Love To You benefits from a large dose of funk and the arrangement takes the song to a whole new level. She was born to sing these songs, just as she was born to write new ones and perform them as new classics.

Kaz Hawkins is a world class performer with a voice to enjoy and treasure. The Kaz Hawkins Band is a composite of individual talents that combines here to make an outstanding album.

Feelin’ Good deserves much success and maybe, just maybe, it will be a launching pad to greater international recognition. KHB – you’ve achieved something very special here.



Good luck with it.

Here's a YouTube link to the band performing Belfast Town