The Simon Honeyboy Hickling Band at Fogherty's Function Room, Liverpool 22nd March 2014
Some blues bands exude talent, some set feet tapping, some engage the audience with warmth and good humour and a handful tick all of those boxes and deliver a complete performance. Simon Hickling and his band are one of the few that fulfil that description. The Honeyboy on vocals and harmonica, Bob Wilson on guitar, Tony Bayliss on drums and Frank Walker on bass guitar are masters of their respective instruments and collectively form an impressively tight ensemble.
The maestro demonstrated his mastery of the blues harp with the opening number of the first set, a brilliant rendition of Little Walter's “Juke”. There followed a compendium of blues styles, which incorporated the upbeat “Hey, Mattie”, the shuffle, “Just Your Fool”, and the insistent drive of “Judgement Day”, complete with some vibrant harmonica playing. The slow blues, “One Room Country Shack”, which featured lovely guitar work from Bob Wilson, was followed by Latin and Cajun rhythms and the slow rocker, “Louise”. Finally, a superb climax to the set delivered a magnificent rendition of James Harman's “Icepick's Confession” and an instrumental version of “Rockin' Robin”.
The bar was raised even higher in the second set, starting with a vibrant performance of Canned Heat's “Going Up The Country” and the bouncing “Mama Luchie”. From that point onward, the dance floor was fully occupied. “Never Rains, It Pours” gave way to “Wonderful Night” and Junior Wells's funky masterpiece, “Broke And Hungry”. A brief respite was provided by Chuck Berry's “Wee Wee Hours” before the earlier pace was re-engaged with “Too Many Drivers” and a terrific version of Berry's “Let It Rock”, which afforded the opportunity for more brilliance from Bob Wilson.
The specially requested Rolling Stones classic, “Miss You”, was followed by some upbeat r'n'b and a fabulous medley comprising “That's Alright” and “Mystery Train” with immaculate contributions from all four band members. The magic continued with a cracking version of “ Christo Redemptor” that Charlie Musselwhite would have been proud of. The wonderful set was concluded with “Bright Lights, Big City” and Steve Marriott's “Big Train”, which prompted a deafening demand for an encore. Very appropriately, the final number was “Promised Land”, which was precisely where the audience had been taken.
The Honeyboy Hickling Band at the the
Malt Shovel Tavern
The veteran blues-rocker Simon “Honeyboy”
Hickling has been a mainstay of the Midlands blues scene for over thirty
years. But what is notable about Honeyboy, as opposed to other veterans
of the 60s and 70s scene (such as John O’Leary, for example), is
his energy and undying enthusiasm for the music. From the word go, Honeyboy
hits the ground running, his trusty harmonica leading the charge. Backed
by a line up of seasoned musicians, there’s no holding back this
firestorm of a blues player.
* when you reach a maturing age, such things are noteworthy
The Honeyboy Hickling Band at Garston Royal British Legion, Liverpool, Saturday, 23 April 2010
There are few bluesmen that could
successfully follow a Hamilton Loomis gig but, fortunately for the punters
at Garston RBL, harmonica maestro, Simon Hickling, is one who sits comfortably
in that exclusive category. Backed by his excellent band, the Honeyboy
hit the floor running and maintained his customary, exhilarating pace
throughout a highly entertaining performance. He was also in a particularly
exuberant mood and the humour flowed like honey to complement the wonderful
The Honeyboy Hickling Band at Fogherty’s, Liverpool, Saturday,
15 March 2008
Following The Stumble’s great success in December
last year, another of the UK’s class acts was lined up for the second
blues gig at Fogherty’s in Liverpool. Simon Honeyboy Hickling has
been delighting the country’s blues fans for a number of years now
and his effervescent performances show no sign of diminishing. He was
as vibrant and energetic as ever and his harmonica playing was straight
out of the top drawer.
PAUL Orta & Honeyboy Hickling & the DTs
The Musician, Leicester 8/10/03
Great things can happen when a visiting blues master teams up with a cracking British blues outfit and tonight they happened bigtime. First up was Simon 'Honeyboy' Hickling and his band comprising himself (vocals, harp), Al Sansome (guitar), Tony Stewart (bass) and Tony Baylis (drums). This reliable outfit produced their usual immaculate platform on which Simon could strut his stuff and what a powerful front man he is, a natural showman who sings well and plays great harp. An early pleasure was the bustling and insanely catchy "Hey Mattie" followed by a tough Texas blues with good playing from Al and then the harp tour-de-force "Don't Believe in Nothing" with divine blow bends over rock solid guitar chords. There was great variety and something for everybody, from fun singalong numbers like "Love The Life I'm Living" (uncannily telepathic ending on this one!) and a rollicking "Just Your Fool" to a deep almost gospel train blues which chugged remorselessly and hypnotically to its impressively slowed-up ending.