The best blues music always comes from personal experiences, be that emotional heartbreak, rejection, pain, or physical breakdown. So it’s no surprise that Big Boy Bloater went on a song writing spree after a bout of depression. To eventually have that fog lifted from your mind, clarifies the world in a new light that perhaps isn’t obvious to someone who’s never lost it.
Depression is a terrible illness that can strike at any time. Big Boy Bloater had done all the hard graft early on in his career, self-releasing his first four albums, before winning a deal with Mascot, and releasing his 2016 critically acclaimed ‘Luxury Hobo’ album. Joining the same label as modern blues legends Joe Bonamassa, Walter Trout, Robert Cray, and Beth Hart, just shows the faith the label have in him, and they aren’t alone! Having already been on radio with Jools Holland, Jo Whiley and Mark Lamarr, presented shows on Team Rock Radio and The Blues Magazine Radio Show, and appeared on Vintage TV channel, not to mention supporting The Quireboys, playing Ramblin’ Man Festival, and winning band of the weekend at Viva Las Vegas Festival, his list of achievements is impressive.
Latest album ‘Pills’ (released 15th June 2018), reflects the bands outlook on life in general, with a tongue in cheek poke at a few things many of us take for granted in modern society. Title track and opener ‘Pills’ is a critical view of how we have become reliant on medication to try and solve any minor ailment, and highlights how pharmaceutical companies are happy to keep selling something to alleviate your symptoms rather than cure the underlying problem.
With a voice that could grate cheese, and a guitar straight out of the swamp, Big Boy Bloater and the LiMiTs have slimmed down to a three piece band, dispensing with the keyboards, and concentrating on the stripped back simple blues from the lead guitar, a throbbing bass, and a slow steady drum beat, ‘Friday Night’s Alright for Drinking’ deals with another social drug of choice for many.
Moving into the weekend, once the hangover clears, it’s time for ‘The Saturday Night Desperation Shuffle’, otherwise known as the last chance dance to not go home alone. Bloater does a great job squeezing those lyrics into a tale of doing your best to impress the opposite sex on the dance floor. BBB isn’t exactly built for speed, which is reflected in his solos, its quality not quantity as he picks his notes carefully and cleanly instead of trying to shred those frets.
Hopefully ‘Stop Stringing me Along’ is based on a caricature of the sharks out there in the music business, rather than actual personal experience. When people like Sir Paul McCartney are inviting you along to record with them, I don’t think there will be too many false promises these days for this band. An upbeat song, despite the lyrics, that almost has a country twang to it.
The darkly sinister ‘Unnaturally Charming’ has a heavier vibe to it that matches the subject matter. Everyone has met someone that over compensates to hide their true nature. It’s only when the mask drops that the inner-self is revealed.
The ‘Slackers Paradise’ is the perfect song for the summer, who wouldn’t like to kick back and forget about work for a while? This is the chill out anthem to lie on a beach listening to, and watching everyone else doing the chores for a change.
The vocals on ‘Mouse Organ’ sink even deeper into the swamp, dredging up more gravel than Carillion left in their yards for the liquidator. Simple and penetrating blues, cut right back to its roots in the deep Southern states.
Tales of breakup and heartbreak are usually told by the party suffering, and are an excellent source of material for the Blues, but ‘Oops Sorry’ is the other side of the story, an easy sing along song of release and bright futures. Get over it, move on, and enjoy the next chapter in your life.
Based on the events at one of Big Boy Bloaters gigs, ‘She Didn’t Even Buy a Ticket’ tells of a gatecrasher who talked her way into the concert looking for her husband. The story became a song, and eventually the heroine of the song owned up when she met the band at a later gig.
Guitars and drinking go well together on ‘This Ain’t Rufus’ as Bloater spends a bit more time pulling the strings in the middle, trying to squeeze in as much juice as he can before the time bell rings.
A modern update on the Iron Maiden classic, ‘The Digital Number of the Beast’ is a warning about how computers are taking over our life, and could lead to the end of everything we’ve created. A funky rhythm to signal the end of days, and the binary number 1010011010 that would make Damien’s head look like a barcode if it was tattooed on the back of his neck.
The sequel to the 2016 single ‘It Came Out of the Swamp’ is another criticism of todays society where ‘A Life Full of Debt’ is now the normal accepted way in which we live, by borrowing to survive. Bloater strums out this ballad on his ukulele with just a gentle beat to back him up and keep the ambience low, which ends with some orchestral strings to give a symphonic conclusion to the song and the album.
There’s not many bands that can be compared to Big Boy Bloater and the LiMiTs, they have a sound and a style all their own. But if you love the blues, and light hearted lyrics, they will give you a fresh look at life, love and medicine!
Friday Night's Alright For Drinking
The Saturday Night Desperation Shuffle
Stop Stringing Me Along
She Didn't Even Buy A Ticket
This Ain't Rufus
The Digital Number Of The Beast
A Life Full Of Debt
Big Boy Bloater and The LiMiTs are:
Big Boy Bloater - Vocals/Guitar
Matt Cowley - Drums
Steven Oates - Bass