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Just like all large cities, Bilbao has always been a breeding ground for rhythm & blues and rockabilly. There has been an ambience of enterprising musicians and fans of old rock & roll since the 80s and more recently this scene seems to have grown in strength and is going through something of a revival with the appearance of several groups. This is partly due to bands such as The Reverendos, formed in 1977 by Igor García (vocals and piano) and Alvaro Martínez (guitar) to revive old blues numbers. The group’s sound has three main influences: blues from the Californian coast, swing and rockabilly. Despite continuous changes to the rhythm section the group has recorded two records – Retro Blues (2004) and Back in Town (2007) – and has participated in some of the best blues festivals in the country (Hondarribia Blues Festival, Getxo & Blues, etc.) and shared the stage with international artists such as Robert Cray, Jerry Lewis and Pinetop Perkins.

June 2011

The arrival of Javi Caballero (Juke Box Rackett) as drummer consolidated the group which has just launched its third record, Preachin’. It is an old-style recording, with all band members playing together in the recording studio and in this way giving greater strength to the songs as well as the feeling of a live performance. The ten tracks include blues and rock & roll classics such as Got my Mojo Workin’, Route 66, Don’t you be Angry and I’m Tore Down, but played by The Reverendos in a totally personal way so that although they are songs we have all heard a thousand times over, they sound new and up-to-date. The same can be said of the Carl Perkins track Boppin the Blues, which is the first on the record. There are also tributes to Freddie King (in I’m Tore Down) and Robert Johnson (Dust my Broom), together with the group’s own compositions such as the excellent Bilbao, La (a tribute to Professor Longhair and New Orleans), the instrumental Gintonic at Manu’s Inn, Reverendos plays the Blues (which is 100% Reverendos sound) and I don’t need your love anymore, a sentimental blues ballad which closes the album.

The Reverndos have come back more mature, more elegant, in short – better!


Hear: Boppin´the blues (Carl Perkins)

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