Speaking of UK blues-rockers (as we were in this semi-recent post regarding Catfish‘s acoustic EP Bound for Better Days), this next release is from a band that’s been around for quite a few decades now, having opened for the likes of The Who, Eric Clapton, The Kinks, Sting, and others during what you might call the band’s heyday. Fortunately, Nine Below Zero is still going strong following the pandemic, but their latest album is actually a previously unreleased one from quite early in the band’s history, culled from the tapes of their first studio recording back in March of 1979. It was so early in their history, in fact, that the band hadn’t even yet adopted its longtime name (taken of course from a Sonny Boy Williamson song title), going at the time instead by the name of Stan’s Blues Band, even though there wasn’t anyone named Stan in the band nor did they seem to know a Stan to have been inspired by at the time.
Founding member and guitarist Dennis Greaves discovered the 1/4 inch tape of the recording during an inventory of his loft earlier this year, and then passed it to UK producer/engineer and drummer Wayne Proctor to master. And, boy, are we glad he did! The result is a crisp, delightful listen to a band on the verge of hitting it big, with the quartet both changing its name to Nine Below Zero and signing with A&M Records within the six months after this session.Continue reading