1: Silver spurs
2: Mary don’t you weep
3: Interlude: big george
4: Mortal coil shuffle
5: Interlude: charlie
6: Pony blues
7: I am the train
8: T’ain’t nobody business
9: Interlude: young mickey
10: Falling on down again
11: Preachin’ blues/live so god can use you/you got to move
12: Gallo del cielo
13: Hard times (come again no more)
In an age of information overload, this album title gives it to you straight. Man & Guitar Plain & simple. Short & sweet. But this is no ordinary album.
The man in question is Ian Siegal: the multi-award-winning British troubadour, the press-feted songwriter behind modern-classic albums like The Skinny and Candy Store Kid, and the artist dragging blues, folk, rock and roots into sustained relevance by the hair. The guitar is in fact one of several on this live solo album, including a 1930s square-neck lap steel adapted to play in conventional style, and a National Resonator.
Man & Guitar finds Siegal at his bare-bones best, tearing up an unplugged solo set at Bluesfest 2013 in London. At 45 minutes in length – by comparison to his club shows, which often run to two hours – this is the performer at his most punchy, pugnacious and smash-and-grab exciting. There were no bells, whistles or safety nets – just a world-class performer bleeding into some his favourite songs.
Maybe you were there. Maybe you weren’t. Either way, the BBC’s capturing of Siegal’s Bluesfest set brings every drop of atmosphere tumbling through the speakers. It’s all been caught in the bottle: the soul-fingered fretwork, the evocative gravel-flecked vocal and the deadpan banter.
Note: The album contains an additional three “interlude” tracks of dialogue