Charlie Lankester And The Mojo Killers, Song In A Minor Key (Midmoor Music)

A few days ago we had no idea who Charlie Lankester was then, serendipitously, Glasgow Bluesmeister Dave Arcari alerted his Facebook fans that he was supporting the said Lankester and then this album plopped into sight. Strange days indeed compelling us to follow this particular Mojo magic. A quick search revealed that Lankester is an Australian who dropped out of medical school to follow his muse back in the seventies. Failing to hit the big time down under he busked around Europe eventually ending up in London where he trained as an osteopath and played the local circuits as a piano for hire. Last year he gathered some of his compadres on the circuit (Derek Mandel and Mark Hawkins ,guitars, Dave Cuthbert, bass, Daniel Howard, drums, Paul Silver saxophone, Gavin Broom, trumpet and Nick Mills, trombone ) and together they strode forward under the moniker of The Mojo Killers for what is his debut solo album. So far so good but as they were finishing off the album Lankester was diagnosed with a liver cancer, a blow which might have felled lesser men. Several months later however he’s well enough to tour in support of the eventual album release.
His particular Mojo must be working.
Mojo is the operative word here. With its magical and mystical hoodoo voodoo blues roots it’s as good a way to describe the music here. Lankester draws deep from the well of the masters of the genre. Tom Waits, Muddy Waters, Ben Sidran, Dr. John and dare I say it Richard Hawley. All of these and others are picked up and thrown into a gumbo stew that hubbles and bubbles with an intoxicating come on.
They kick off with Greed, a dramatic Tijuana flexed workout that sounds as if Jacques Brel came from Mexico, the trumpet is the sleazy underbelly of Mexico, think of Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil, monochrome and bad. Drink My Blues Away slinks along with an early Tom Waits vibe while Brixton Road recalls Waits’ latter work. The Spinning Of The Wheel is the masterstroke here. The horns amplify a grim tale of street life, almost like a Scorsese movie as the guitars squeal and bend and Lankester turns the old Blood Sweat and Tears song upside down. The clattering and skeletal blues of In My Time Of Time Of Dying is another highlight while the title song pins the Hawley connection. A pining love song beautifully dramatised by a bluesy trumpet it swaggers and sways in a magnificent woozy fashion.
Suffice to say that this is a cracking slice of modern rythym’n’blues, the grooves crackle and burn and the band are superb. Coupled with Arcari their gig at the O2 ABC Glasgow it looks like it should be a blinder. It’s on Sunday 9th December, be there or be square, it’s the only Scottish date, the others are on the


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