Nine Below Zero – 13 Shades Of Blue (Out 30th September 2016 via Zed Records)

Nine Below Zero – 13 Shades Of Blue (Out 30th September 2016 via Zed Records)

Mixing blues, R’n’B and even a hint of New Wave MOD, Nine Below Zero have been a cult favourite since their formation in 1977. Their high energy live act was already well established by the time they signed to A&M RECORDS in 1980 and was forever captured on their classic live album 1980’s Live At The Marquee. And who can forget their appearance on the first ever episode of the Young Ones (Demolition), performing the cracking ‘11+11’; that was my intro to the band and I’ve kept an ear out for them ever since.

The new album, 13 Shades Of Blue, takes in a range of styles within the blues and R’n’B genres.

Featuring the original members of the band: Dennis Greaves (guitar and vocals) Mark Feltham (harmonica and vocals) Mickey Burkey (percussion) and Bryan Bethell on bass (as well as touring bassist Ben Willis), the band have had hits, splits, line-up changes and reformations. But here we are with a covers album of some great tracks.

The album opens with the grooves of ‘Don’t Lay Your Funky Trip on Me’ made famous by Señor Soul. Such is the diversity of Blues, Dennis Greaves only found out who wrote the song after he “walked into a bar and heard the track playing in the background and thought, this is great who is it? So I got my phone out which has the app SHAZAM and found out it wasSeñor Soul a band that would soon become War.  War were famous for a track called Low Rider and featured the Harmonica player Lee Oscar. I thought this is a perfect start to a new project: Best of the Blues by Nine Below Zero taking in all the shades the Blues offers. The next move was to start a playlist on Spotify and to share it with the band, so began 13 Shades of Blue.”

The is some fantastic guitar, a decent groove, and ‘Don’t Play That Song’ highlights how well the songs have been bolstered by horns and backing vocals. The band’s trade-mark harmonica, which is a large part of what attracted me to the band in the first place, plays a solid part, as does some funky piano in places.

‘Crawling Up A Hill’ is one that reminds me of the band’s roots and early daze, the guitar is quite blistering here, welcome return after a big band number or two.

With a number of guests, including Squeeze’s Glen Tilbrook, it’s well worth checking out. 8/10

Joe Geesin



1.            Don’t Lay Your Funky Trip On Me (Dickerson/Miller/Brown/Scott/Oscar/Jordan)

2.            Watch What You Do To Me (Hodges/Mitchell/Randle)

3.            That’s What Love Will Make You Do (Campbell)

4.            Don’t Play That Song (You Lied) (Ertegun/ Nelson)

5.            It’s Your Voodoo Working (Sheffield)

6.            You’re Still My Woman (King/Clark)

7.            The Toddle (Jacobs)

8.            I’m Gonna Keep What I’ve Got (Moore)

9.            Crawling Up A Hill (Mayal)

10.          I Want To Know (Badger / Desanto / Geddins)  

11.          My Woman Is Good To Me (Sonny)

12.          Hercules (Toussaint)

13.          Paper In My Shoe (Chavis/Shuler)






13 Shades of Blue Tour 2016/17

30th Sept          The Mill, Banbury 01295 279002

1st   Oct            Pizza Express, Maidstone   01622 683548

7th    Oct            West End Centre, Aldershot  012452 408040

8th    Oct            Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth  023 9286 3911

14th Oct            The Phoenix, Exeter 01392 667080

15th Oct            The Fleece, Bristol   0117 945 0996

21st  Oct           Brudenell Social Club, Leeds   0844 249 1000

22nd Oct            The Arc, Stockton  01642 525199

29th Oct            The Horsebridge, Whitstable  01227 281174

4th Nov             Under the Bridge, London  0844 249 1000

10th Nov           Norwich Arts Centre 01603 660352

11th Nov           The Concorde, Brighton  0844 249 1000

19th Nov           The Ruby Lounge, Manchester 0844 249 1000  

26th Nov           The Kevin Thorpe Blues Night, The Elms Notts      

2nd Dec             The Electric Palace, Bridport   01305 426 336

3rd Dec              The Globe, Cardiff   07590 471888

8th Dec              The Junction, Cambridge 01227 511511

9th Dec              Greystones, Sheffield    0114 266 5599

10th Dec            The Musician, Leicester  0116 251 0080

17th Dec            Ripley Blues Club, Ripley, Yorkshire



27th Jan            The Mirren at The Towngate, Basildon  01268 465465

24th Feb           The Flowerpot, Derby 01332 204955

3rd Mar             The Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne Minster 01202 885566

4th Mar              The Stables, Milton Keynes  01908 280800

10th Mar           The Robin 2, Wolverhampton  01902 497860

11th Mar           Windelsham Theatre, Windelsham  07903 462636

17th Mar           The Bullingdon, Oxford  01865 434998

18th Mar           The Citidal, St Helens  01744 735 436

24th Mar           The Cluny, Newcastle  0191 230 4474

25th Mar           King Tuts, Glasgow   0141 221 5279

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Nine Below Zero – 13 Shades Of Blue (Out 30th September 2016 via Zed Records)