“One More Mile”
Blonde On Blonde Direct Records
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
By Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © March 2021
Starting with the album’s title, “One More Mile“, telling you a bit about Dave Thomas and how this release came about is going to require using a lot of numbers.  Having played music for well over fifty years, Dave chose the title because he felt like the project was just one more mile on his lifetime journey in music.  Although Dave says that there are two more releases soon to come, this – his first in five years – was a decade in the making.  The album’s ten tracks – which were recorded in three different sessions and eras, with some of those sessions dating back over twenty years – include two originals and eight  covers.  Enough with the math already, now let me tell you about the music and its makers.
Along with Dave – on vocals, guitar and harmonica – the first few tracks include: Terry Popple on drums; Dylan Aplvor on bass; Tom Arnold on Hammond organ; Norman Tischler on saxophone; and Jeff Hager on trumpet; the next few tracks feature Dave along Declan Sinnott on all the other instruments; and the last tracks feature Dave playing with Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs.
The disc opens with a classic B.B. King track titled “It’s My Own Fault” and the guys clearly nailed it.  Just as you’d expect to hear the arrangement performed at a B.B. show, this rendition features the high energy that’s fueled by a  powerful horn section and powerful organ leads taking the already powerful rhythm section to a much higher level.  Then there’s Dave, who while soulfully belting the hell out of the blues vocally, is also doing those things on his guitar that B.B. used to do on Lucille.  WOW!  If you’re going to open your album with a cover, this is the way to do it.
One of Dave’s original tracks is titled “I Like My Chicken Fried”, and with some fabulously funky bass lines by Dylan; equally funky organ grooves by Tom; and Norman and Jeff firing pure funk out of their horns; the track could have easily had a subtitle…..”I like my chicken fried and my music funkified”.
Depending on who you ask, “One More Mile To Go” is either a James Cotton or Muddy Waters cover.  Either way, regardless which one of them is performing it, you know it’s going to feature some killer harmonica.  That said, in this particular case, it’s not: James Cotton; Little Walter; Carey Bell; Jerry Portnoy; or any of the other fabulous harmonica players that played with Muddy who is killing it here – it’s Dave Thomas.
The last of the four tracks recorded with this ensemble is Dave’s other original, “Poor Boy”.  With the rhythm guys in their groove, this one features Dave and Tom passing the lead around on the guitar and organ like a hot potato.
The middle three tracks: “I Want the Blues” , “You Danced In My Kitchen” and “There’s A Train”, are all written Tony Henderson, a dear friend of Dave’s.  Along with some masterful acoustic guitar and mandolin playing by Declan Sinnott, the all acoustic tracks highlight Dave’s outstanding vocal abilities.
The last three tracks: “Garden”, “Eccentric Man” and “Strange Town” are Tony McPhee originals and they feature The Groundhogs backing Dave’s vocals.  Because they’re a bit out of my wheelhouse, I’m going to steal a line from Rick Bowen’s one sheet to describe them.  “The project takes a psychedelic side trip to a studio in Bristol where The Groundhogs jammed out three more acid blues rockers…”
To find out more about Welsh born guitarist, singer and songwriter Dave Thomas, and his long career on the British blues scene, just go to his website – www.davethomasblues.uk  Wherever you go and whomever you talk to, please tell them the Blewzzman sent you.
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping the Blues Alive Recipient