Monday, April 15, 2024

David Sinclair Four – Apropos Blues

Anyone familiar with the music press will probably recognise the name David Sinclair (no, not the Caravan Keyboard man). David Sinclair is a music journalist whose work appears regularly in The Times, plus he’s written for Kerrrang and Rolling Stone, and he’s written books about ZZ Top and The Spice Girls.  But he walks it as well as talks it and his band, The David Sinclair Four [DS4], have been playing together for several years, building up a following around the London clubs and the country, supporting artists like Wilco Johnson and Walter Trout, and they’ve built a rep for ‘live’ shows combining good musicianship with some very wry social observations.

Their third album, Apropos Blues, the title deriving from a chat Sinclair had with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, is an album which packs some serious ‘heft.’  It’s rooted in bluesy riffs and rock fundamentals but played with panache, with lyrics drawn from personal experience, personal feelings plus observing what’s happening in society. Their influences are clear in what they play but never to the extent of blatant copying.

‘Hip Hopping’, with delightful harmonica playing from unofficial 5th member, ex-Yardbird Laurie Garner, and ‘Borrowed Rhyme’ sets out their stall nicely but it’s with title track ‘Apropos Blues’ where they really catch fire. Heavily ZZ Top influenced, this is a slow blues boogie with a solid beat, a gorgeous middle eight and exquisite harmonica playing. In fact, there’s a case for stating the DS4 are at their best when they play slower, more bluesy tunes such as ‘Years Are Gone’ (singing “while you’re dreaming of tomorrow, today disappears”) and ‘Won’t Be Divided’. But they’re no slouches when it comes to rocking either, as on tracks like ‘When Her Ship Comes Sailing In’, written about someone Sinclair knew who miscarried her baby at four months “..the future inside her died..” and they close the album with a ‘live in the studio’ rocked up classic, Chuck Berry’s Bye Bye Johnnie, which they do real justice to.

The DS4 are a band who’re never gonna make it big .. they probably won’t even come close .. but they’ve all been around the block a few times and they certainly know how to play, and if an evening of ‘live’ good rocking blues is your thing, these guys could well be your men to provide it.

Laurence Todd
Laurence Todd
Took early retirement after many years as a teacher in order to write books as well as about music. A long-time music obsessive, has wide and eclectic tastes but particularly likes prog rock and rock in general. Enjoys going to gigs and discovering new acts.

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Anyone familiar with the music press will probably recognise the name David Sinclair (no, not the Caravan Keyboard man). David Sinclair is a music journalist whose work appears regularly in The Times, plus he’s written for Kerrrang and Rolling Stone, and he’s written books...David Sinclair Four - Apropos Blues