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Malaya Blue - "Blues Credentials" - 2022 Blue Heart Records


Let's meet the musicians :

* Richard Cousins - Bass : Founder and member and bass player for the Robert Cray Band . Considered by those who know him as one of the top ten bassists in the world . Richard has received 6 Grammy nominations , winning twice . He has spent 4 years in the Etta James band and has performed or recorded with Eric Clapton , B B King , John Lee Hooker , van Morrison , and Bettye LaVette .

* Brett Lucas - Guitar - Hails from Detroit , The Motor City , also home to Motown . Brett has an impressive 6 Detroit Music Awards , including Outstanding Instrumentalist , Recording and Songwriter . He has been guitarist and musical director for Bettye LaVette since 2007 touring the world and appearing on US TV shows with Bettye . Brett also performs with the Queen of Detroit Blues , Thornetta Davis and Jeremy Spencer of Fleetwood Mac.

* Sam Kelly - Drums - Sam has been the UKs go-to Blues drummer since the late 70s . Sam was awarded the UK Drummer of the Year Award no less than 5 times . He has worked with Gary Moore , Chaka Khan , Robert Plant , Billy Ocean , Dr. John , Paul Jones , Imelda may , and Robben Ford to name but a few.

* Johnny McCullough - Keys : From Belfast , long-time band member and musical director for Sinead O' Connor . Johnny has toured the world performing with The Waterboys , Van Morrison , Sharon Corr of The Corrs and Andrew Strong of " Commitments" fame .

* Chris Rand : Saxophone - Chris has performed with the later/great Charlie Watts , Ronnie Wood and Mick Taylor all of Rolling Stones fame , plus Nine Below Zero and touring exclusively with Bad Manners.

In 2016 the internationally acclaimed " Heartsick " introduced her vocal prowess to Dennis Walker who was blown away with what he heard and started writing songs tailored to her voice and taking Malaya under his wing to pass on his song-writing techniques and skills . The first album to come from that connection was " Still " which included input from Brett Lucas and Richard Cousins . It really gave Malaya recognition to the USA blues community , spending over a year high in the respected Roos Music Charts and gaining Grammy consideration in six categories . The longer Dennis and Malaya worked together the more he was able to craft songs around her voice and style to the super selection of songs presented on the latest release "blue credentials ".


“Dennis has sadly since passed and part of the eulogy that his wife wrote was to say help another musician. So, I think when he got the album, which I’m sure was one of many that he received over the course of a year, I think he heard something that he thought had potential and I was the lucky pick out of the hat. I was the one that he decided: I think I can work with this artist”

Steve Yourglich says about Walker in the liner notes : – “It is a great relief to us that we had finished recording this album in just three weeks before Dennis passed and that he got to hear the early rough mixes and give his seal of approval on what he heard. This was especially true for “Howlin’ Mercy” the track that was meant to be the title track of {John} Campbell’s second release for Elektra before the label got cold feet over the dark content.” It’s a song about the long-lasting trauma of abuse that for most is difficult to hear, to sing, and to even think about. Blue puts her all into it, knowing that Walker waited 30 years to hear it on record. Just these two lines give you a sense of the tune’s haunting quality, “How could we hide from my father/And his cold, cruel hands.” Fittingly, the accompaniment is spare, mostly the dark chords of McCullough’s piano and organ. Blue cries out “Howlin’ mercy” repeatedly at the close, making this undoubtedly the album’s most indelible track.


Malaya burst onto the live circuit in 2015 following the release of her critically acclaimed debut album “Bourbon Street.” Introducing her intoxicating stage presence to blues audiences at The Great Rock & Blues Festival that year, a plethora of bookings followed including iconic venues. Along the way the British Blues Association nominated Malaya for awards in no less than four categories including Best Female Vocalist, Best Track (Bitter Moon), Best Album and Emerging Artist, an unprecedented feat for a new, previously unknown artist. In addition, she was one of four acts invited by the UK Blues Federation to take part in the UK Blues Challenge Final.


Malaya Blue - " blue credentials " - featuring - Dennis Walker


All tracks were recorded live without the use of studio trickery or overdubs . What you hear is the band performing live , together , a solid unit of extraordinary musicians gathered from around the world . One of the highlights of the project , and certainly a highlight among so many remarkable tracks , is the long lost , and some deem it almost mythical , is the John Campbell track that Electra chickened out releasing , "Howlin Mercy " , finally seeing the light of day .

Unfortunately " blue credentials " is the final project for the late noted blues songwriter Dennis Walker ( Robert Cray , B.B.King , Bettye LaVette) who was such an important part of Malayas career . This final project together showcases Malaya's increasing maturity as an artist , her songwriting delving into so many shades of light and dark, and Malaya's voice, a powerful instrument, an amazing showcase of vibrant emotion and passion . Malaya sings true , from the heart , and her range is extraordinary. Noone can box her into a category ." If we go back to the roots of Blues music, we cannot deny the journey that got us here. Blues deals with love and heartache but also being tough and resilient. I guess it’s a bit of a no-nonsense genre where the instruments are allowed to ‘have the blues too”? hahah. All music is a state of mind, and all states of mind interpret music. We are locked into a two-way relationship with music and it would never work any other way. We need each other, and thank god for that. Long may it continue" .


TRACK COMMENTARY FROM MALAYA BLUE:

01. Your Act Has Worn Thin (2:56) – Letting that lover know enough is enough, you’re done and won’t be a fool to love any longer.

02. Wrong Kinda Love (3:40) – Yes! Doing it again, picking the wrong lover and the wrong time again! Funky rocky track.

03. Oh, What A Fool (3:50) – The thrill of finding new love and the happiness to be a fool in its presence. Sexy, jazzy, ballad.

04. I Can’t Find No Love (4:47) – The emptiness that occurs when the love leaves the relationship, and although it hasn’t been said, you know it is gone. A ballad to release the tears.

05. The Time We Had (6:11) – Acknowledging the past and the present, the movement of life, the value of now and celebrating the good times in loss. A moving ballad.

06. Curious (3:12) – The expectations in love that another brings! I’m Curious, What did YOU think love was about? Funky Up-tempo track.

07. I’m Having Dreams Again (3:40) – Just when you think you are over that lover, they pop back into you head and heart through your dreams and the pain comes with it. A wistful mid-tempo track.

08. Good Intentions, Bad Results (5:29) – Ahhh, how we try, all the best intentions but falling flat on our face! A funky up-tempo track for that moment of realisation!

09. Bring Me Your Sin (4:02) – Wanting the love of a bad man and being willing to pay the price! Rocky and mean…

10. Set Me Free (3:58) – The chains that keep us with a cold heart begs to be undone, dark and moody rock track.

11. Howlin’ Mercy (5:11)- A dark song the reflects the long-lasting trauma of abuse, difficult to hear, difficult to sing, sadly amongst us. Haunting and dark.

12. Messin’ Around (4:46) – Funky and upbeat, a song about the child in us all, letting go and messin’ around!


Website: https://malayabluemusic.com/


I was thrilled and excited to have found this CD arriving on my doorstep . Having read so much about this up and coming upstart I was eager to listen to some of her music. The global critical acclaim and the thunderous fan support had me curious to say the least . Malaya certainly did not disappoint me in the least . Malaya Blue and " blue credentials " is one of those "must have " releases from an extraordinary outpouring of exceptional projects that have made 2022 an incredible year for blues music . A tidal wave of outstanding musical gifts have been presented to music fans world-wide . " blue credentials " is a stunning achievement for a band filled with creative prowess . Malaya Blue is an artist to keep an eye on moving forward .Her music is timeless originality . Malayas voice is an incredible instrument ! This is a live album to enjoy over and over and over again . Embrace Malaya Blue and relish the results! Exceptional in every way !

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