Legendary record producer Mike Vernon is stepping up to the microphone as Mike Vernon & The Mighty Combo line up a series of dates throughout Europe from now until October with the release of their debut album Beyond the Blue Horizon due on September 7th through Manhaton Records.
Best known as the founder of the Blue Horizon record label, in 2013, he was awarded the BASCA Gold Badge Award in recognition of his unique contribution to music.
Vernon’s studio work has seen him work with some of the most famous artists in British rock and blues. These includes John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (featuring the likes of Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor as lead guitarists), David Bowie, Ten Years After, Savoy Brown, Fleetwood Mac (with Peter Green, Danny Kirwan and Christine McVie), Chicken Shack, Focus, Freddie King, Climax Blues Band, alongside the likes of Level 42 and Roachford.
Not so well-known his “other’ job” – that of vocalist. In the 1970s and early 1980s he was not only a member of The Olympic Runners but also the baritone singer with Rocky Sharpe & The Replays, and now he’s making that more of a priority in his creative life.
“To be fronting my own R&B outfit has always been a dream but the right moment to make that transition never appeared until now,” Vernon said of The Mighty Combo who features young Spanish guitarist Kid Carlos, Ian Jennings on upright bass, Matt Little on keyboards, Paul Tasker on saxophone and Mike Hellier on drums.
Taking a trip down memory lane, Vernon said: “The year is 1956 and Little Richard and his totally outrageous song ‘Tutti Frutti’ hit the #1 spot on the U.S. pop charts. Fats Domino had similar success with ‘When My Dreamboat Comes Home’ and ‘Blueberry Hill’ that same year whilst Chuck Berry introduced us to his unique rocking rhythm & blues style with ‘Roll Over Beethoven’. Four slabs of musical genius that were to totally change my life.
“Fast forward sixty-one years to 2018 and the ‘with my own band’ debut album Beyond The Blue Horizon features tough, energising and tuneful rocking slabs of R&B in the vein of Fats Domino, Wynonie Harris, Little Richard and Louis Jordan,” he continued. “Twelve titles in all including nine new self-penned originals and three covers from the catalogues of Brook Benton, Mose Allison and Clarence Henry.”
Tracks featured on Beyond The Blues Horizon are ‘We’re Gonna Rock The Joint’, ‘Kiddio’, ‘Heart & Soul’, ‘I Can Fix It’, ‘(I Don’t Know Why I Love You) But I Do’, ‘Be On That Train’, ‘Your Mind Is On Vacation’, ‘Old Man Dreams’, ‘Jump Up’, ‘Red Letter Day’, ‘A Love Affair With The Blues’, and ‘Hate To Leave (Hate To Say Goodbye)’. The album can be pre-ordered by clicking here.
With a full-scale European tour also underway look for 100% goodtime music that’s intended to put smiles on faces from Mike Vernon & The Mighty Combo.
MIKE VERNON & THE MIGHTY COMBO UK 2018 TOUR DATES
Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival Sunday 22 July
Old Bakery Studio, Truro Friday 17 August
Blues at Broom Hill Festival Saturday 18 August
The Hope Tavern, Market Rasen Sunday 19 August
Wrotham Arms, Broadstairs Tuesday 21 August
Haven Club at The Bulligdon, Oxford Thursday 23 August
Bluefunk, Poynton Friday 24 August
Darvel Music Festival Saturday 25 August
Great British RnB Festival, Colne Sunday 26 August
Venue 77, Ipswich Friday 7 September
Market Lavington Music & Comedy Club, Devizes Saturday 8 September
Borderline, London, Double Headline with Sari Schorr Friday 14 September
Forest Arts Centre, New Milton Saturday 15 September
Keighley Blues Live, Keighley Friday 28 September
Carlisle Blues Rock Festival Saturday 29 September
Discovery Centre, Winchester Wednesday 3 October