Music review: Midge Marsden - Back to the Well

By Tony Nielsen

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Midge Marsden
Midge Marsden

Midge Marsden set down musical roots as a schoolboy in our mutual hometown of New Plymouth.

Today he is our elder statesman of the blues genre, not just for dedication to the music, but also for his missions to the home of the blues in the southern United States.

Those decades of musical experiences and absorbing influences come together in Back to the Well, Marsden' first album in a long time.

Too often, blues albums suffer from a sameness track to track. In the 14 songs here that is definitely not the case. There is considerably more variety than you would expect.

So, we have down and dirty southside of Chicago sounds, a tilt to a meld of blues and reggae, the Stax-soul brass section delivers another variation, there's gospel, and even a wistful tribute to days long gone as Marsden name-checks Pings Pie Cart, where many a misspent youth was experienced in the shadow of Mt Egmont.

Midge is assisted by skilful songwriters in Alex Deane, Bill Lake, Neil Hannan and Colleen Grey. The musicians on Back to the Well also make it the top-shelf album it is.

Marsden on vocals and harmonica, Chet O'Connell and Neil Hannan on guitars, brilliant keyboards from Grant Winderburn, horns by Vaughan Roberts, Tim Sutton, Mark Dennison and Pete France, plus additional contributions from Hammond Gamble, Neil Forrest and Alex Deane.

We may have had to wait a while for a new album from Marsden but, be assured, the wait has been more than worthwhile.

4 stars

- Rotorua Daily Post

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