"Everybody's making lemonade" reviews
“Everybody’s Making Lemonade’ is Leeds based The Blind Dead McJones Band 2nd album. Members Ben “Buddy” Slack, Andy “The Cake” Johnson and Steve “Wee-Man” Nixon got together in 2008 and released their debut album ‘Last Resort Mexico ‘in 2012, which received great reviews and a British Blues Award nomination for “Best Original Song”.
‘Everybody’s Making Lemonade’ is an a Capella song, with not a hint of blues, so you can see where this is heading, The Blind Dead McJones Band are not going to conform to any genre or be pigeon holed.
‘Raised by Wolves’ has a glorious vocal madness to it, sung over a simple guitar part hinting of 60’s rock and roll.
‘Too Young To Be Afraid’, is sung over a rumbling bass and a stop start guitar line, full of quirky vocals and time changes, this album is certainly beginning to offer up an eclectic mixture of blues rock.
‘Deep Blue Sea’ has a great progressive blues riff going on, a much more straightforward blues rocker.
The more I listen to this band, the more the songwriting certainly reminds me of David Byrne, very clever and at times very funny.
‘Shit’ is a cleverly written song, about everything going to hell, or Shit, played out over a simple verse chorus verse, quite straightforward for The Blind Dead McJones Band I feel, with not much quirkiness.
‘Whistlin’ Willies Blues’ has a dark mood running through it, and you really do need to really listen to these lyrics, they are sublime, a nicely picked blues guitar solo brings this track to a close.
‘The Burden’ has a rich blues vibe to it, with great interplay between vocal and guitar.
‘Rust’ has more of a modern blues rock sound to it, a great guitar riff accompanying another wonderful thought provoking vocal.
‘I Sharpen My Blade’ has a slow tempo to the song, set to the sound of a knife being sharpened, and a wonderful out of phase guitar part. As quirky as it gets.
‘At My Funeral’ picks up the pace again with some seriously sexy blues sounding guitars that carry the vocal, adding a richness to the track.
‘The Cat’s In The Bag’ is the final track, and I have no idea if that is a good or a bad thing, this is a seriously mixed up record in more ways than one, but you have to listen to it, as it draws you in, mad, bad and quirky, I love it.
I have no idea what these fellas are one, but we all need a dose of it, mad as a box of frogs they are, and we are all the better for it.”
David Farrell at Planet Mosh
“It is an album created with spirit, passion and enthusiasm, it works flawlessly and meticulously creating a fantastic new and innovative style of Rock/Blues…” Pete Singleton, Yorkshire Gig Guide
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“People say that good things come to those who wait and today this has been proven true (well at least to me but I hope you too). After what seems like a longer wait than an Asthmatic Snail bringing your heavy shopping home, the new album from those McJones boys is finally here and I’m once again experiencing multiple eargasms.
“Unlike the last album, Everybody’s Making Lemonade starts off with a more sedate feel with the title track in the form of a stripped down performance. Singer Ben’s vocals seem to vibrate from the speakers with nothing to accompany them except the clicking of fingers and a small amount of backing and yet they still manage to excite and make you wonder what’s next? Not to worry though because even though it is short lived whilst still being the perfect length you are soon whisked away into the next track. This whole album is littered with treasure and gems which is what I have come to expect from The Blind Dead McJones band, each song being an amazing example of Blues writing and style. Punctuated with thunderous guitar explosions there is no way in hell you will ever be able to just sit and let this album play along in the background, the lads seem to have captured the very essence of smoky whiskey soaked back rooms and liberally dosed each and every one of the eleven tracks making you want to submerge yourself deep into it. Infact I would be willing to bet that if you played this album to a tee totaler like a monk by the time he has reached the third track he would be playing pool with his sleeves rolled up while nursing a scotch on the rocks.
The main problem I have with a band as good and consistent as The Blind Dead McJones band is with each offering I stop and say to myself “This is my favourite”, “No wait, this one is” and with each track as I listen I repeat this like some sort of mantra. Life would be a lot easier if they would just do one bad track, just for the hell of it. Then I would be able to turn round and say for once “yeah I loved the album but that track was a turd!”. Let’s face it, that won’t happen as long as these lads keep breathing because they not only love what they are doing and have copious amounts of talent but they are always able to inject some of that humour that makes then totally unique into all of their work. Eleven tracks and three radio edits in and like singer Ben is so fond of saying, I had a real cool time!
So, like I pointed out, all good things come to those who wait but also all good things must come to an end. I just hope that it will not be for as long this time.
Do yourself a favour and endeavour to own this and the last album, you will be a lot better off for it and it will also make you so cool that you will be irresistible to the opposite sex, whilst improving your social life (the last statements may be false but it sure as hell won’t hurt to try and you will get some of the best music out there to listen to while you wait and see if anything happens).
Muff, had a real cool time!” Muff, Manchester Rocks
“The back story of Leeds based three piece The Blind Dead McJones Band is, like that of Robert Johnson or Hayseed Dixie, shrouded in mystery and legend. Put together by the, ahem, enigmatic and elusive bluesman Blind Dead McJones as his backing band, the boys had to quickly learn to fend for themselves when McJones failed to show for their first gig. Since 2008 the band has channelled McJones’ aura and experience to become a popular live local draw. Seven years down the line and we have Everybody’s Making Lemonade, the follow up to their debut album, Last Resort Mexico.
The title track sets out the bands ethos – over finger clicks, they explain (acapella stylee) how, while bland lemonade is fine for most, they want to make orange juice – something different, odd, away from the norm, off the beaten track… well, you get the idea. And they go on to explain how they really don’t want to be drinking piss! Musically, there is a ramshackle, slightly indie-ish sound to the songs. There are echoes of Nick Cave to some of the vocal delivery – ‘Raised By Wolves’ in particular, although it does get progressively looser and sleazier and ends with probably the best recorded wolf howls since Warren Zevon! ‘Too Young To Be Afraid’ also namechecks rock n roll perennial Stagger Lee in a style very similar to Caves’ foul-mouthed ‘Murder Ballads’ classic!
And they love to tell a good tale. ‘Whistlin Willies Blues’ recounts the strange story of how sleeping with Wille’s wife gave him the authentic blues – which in turn earned him fame and fortune – but did our philandering heroes get any credit for their selfless act of infidelity? All this over some very deft, almost jazz guitar! And we musn’t let the humour and eccentricity completely overshadow the music – Big Ben Slack, Steve Nixon and Andy Johnson paint with a broad palette. Of course there is the blues – scruffy, tight but loose with riffs of the seedy and slippery variety. But there is also spidery funk, swampy country rock, ska shuffles and the country lope of final track ‘The Cat’s In The Bag’ which speeds up haphazardly to an almost punk thrash finish.
While this is not as bluesy as its predecessor it is certainly just as quirky. The band doesn’t take themselves at all seriously and it’s all great, refreshing fun. More importantly it gives them more stuff to play live, which is surely the best way to experience these individual young bluesmen. Gary Cordwell, Midlands Rocks
“Everybody’s Making Lemonade”- if Nick Cave and Tom Waits had a baby in a hospital built by a young Bruce Springsteen with Dr Feelgood on gas and air it would sound like this. Every city needs a mad preacher to berate its sinners, Alabama (formerly known as ‘Leeds”) take heed!” Buzz Longpencil
“Leeds band release their 2nd album, which isn’t as bluesy as the one before it, but it’s got real character and a great pace to it, and just enough bottom end. Sounds a bit 80s Matchbox in parts, with nods towards Nick Cave and the likes. SUPER!! Check them out live if you can too. “ Jumbo Records
“The band are now following up their debut release with ‘Everybody’s Making Lemonade’ which is an eclectic mixture of blues rock. Although the title track ‘Everybody’s Making Lemonade’ is an acapella song, this masks the powerful rockier tone the band have on the second track ‘Raised By Wolves’. With a vocal sound that harks back to the good old days of rock and roll, tracks such as ‘Too Young To Be Afraid’ and ‘Whistlin’ Willies Blues’ both have a darker sound to the songs, whilst ‘Deep Blue Sea’ and ‘The Burden’ have a rich blues vibe to them. ‘Rust’ has more of a rock sound to the song, with deep guitar riffs as well as harmonious vocals. ‘I Sharpen My Blade’ has a slow tempo to the song as the rhythm section thumps its way through the track over gentle vocals, before ‘At My Funeral’ picks up the pace again with delicious sounding guitars that add a richness to the track, along with a catchy bass line.
Going on the song titles alone you get the impression that The Blind Dead McJones Band have a sense of humour and don’t always take themselves too seriously, but once you hear how good the album sounds, you realise the band is all about making excellent sounding blues-infused rock and whilst a little quirky in places, ‘Everybody’s Making Lemonade’ does just that.” Rock and Roll Creations