SUGAR BOWL HOKUM
“Possibly the freshest take on the blues I’ve heard in a long time”
was the response from some long time veterans of the Australian Blues Festival recently held in Goulburn where Sugar Bowl Hokum performed to a riotous response.
Ironically Sugar Bowl Hokum have gone way back to the dawn of recorded music to create this freshness. Driven by their love of obscure songs from the 1920’s and 30’s, Sugar Bowl Hokum scour the crackly grooves of old 78’s to find the best forgotten blues gems of the era. The music of some very feisty almost forgotten trail blazers makes up a large part of their repertoire. Merline Johnson, Barrel House Annie, Rosetta Howard and Ma Rainey songs are performed in different arrangements than the listener may be used to but always capturing the essence of the song and the times.
As a result they do not slavishly stick to one style,incorporating the many sounds of blues into their repertoire from the classic blues of Bessie Smith to the R&B of Ruth Brown the Ragtime of Blind Blake and Blind Boy Fuller, the Hokum of Bo Carter, the gritty songwriting of Memphis Minnie with Swing, Country Blues and Early Jazz all included in the mix.
Featuring Tanya Maree whose virtuosic trumpet weaves a call and response tapestry with Tisi Mahicka’s vocals and finger-licking picking of Michael Meissner’s guitar whilst supported by PK on double bass and Tim O’Driscoll on drums who form a rhythm section that swings like a monkey in the jungle. The resulting sound is a fun, entertaining upbeat take on the blues.
In keeping with the era Sugar Bowl Hokum released their debut recording on 10” vinyl. This was recorded live in the studio with no overdubs and it is available here.
Their first CD has sold out and a second album has just been released,titled “Sugar Sings the Blues”.
It is an excursion into a harp heavy sound which the band was experimenting with in 2015
Soon they will be heading back to the studio to record their next album Sugar Swings
In the meantime catch them at one of their shows and bring your dancing shoes.