THE SAILORS HOME Kessingland Suffolk UK review by Patrick Nugent April 2023
The power trio that is Egypt were playing at the Sailors Home last night (Saturday).
Now I don't now if you are old enough to remember but back in the 1960-70s, in the dope hazed afterglow of the first British R'n'B boom (Stones, Yardbirds, Spencer Davies Group, Chicken Shack, the first Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall etc), a new form of blues-based rock music sprung from their tight, velvet-loon clad loins. This new form was louder, harder and went on a lot longer (and ultimately went off into heavy metal). I'm talking about Hendrix, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Blind Faith, Jeff Beck Band and so forth. While these were strutting their stuff on the global stage in arenas, festivals and stadiums a groundswell of other bands came along in their wake playing hard, mostly British, blues-based rock. Here I'm talking of Alvin Lee's Ten Years After, The Savoy Brown Blues Band, Sam Apple Pie, Free, Bad Company and so on (I suppose the US equivalents were Johnny Winter, George Thorogood, early J Geils Band etc). Among the Brit end of this mob were The Groundhogs – remember Tony McPhee anyone? And thus the reason for this history lesson. The Groundhogs were one of those bands that went through many changes in their line-up and at one time or another the individual members of Egypt played for The Groundhogs, though not, perhaps, at the same time. I saw the GHs quite a lot around that time so may well have seen the members of Egypt too (though last night was the first time I've seen them as Egypt). This music scene was not in the context of my often mentioned London Pub Rock circuit, but more in support of bigger bands at The Rainbow (as was), Hammersmith Odeon (as was) and at that other financial mainstay for working bands of that time, the college circuit (eg my own alma mater, Goldsmiths College, Imperial College, UCL, and many such institutions nationwide)
Egypt are keeping this 70s hard blues rock flame burning pretty much in the style that is was originally played: loud, vigorously and at some length. They are a power trio of very seasoned musicians (the band goes back to the 80s), with Eric on guitars (six and twelve string) and lead vocals, Alan on bass (and some backing vocals) and Pete on the drums. They play maxed out, uncompromising, vintage 70s, British, heavy, blues rock. No frills just lots of fierce vocals, blistering guitar work, thundering bass and juggernaut style drumming. The gear was big too. Alan had a five-foot tall bass rig, Pete's tom-toms were the biggest I've seen for a long time and Eric was playing his Gibson Les Paul though a very care-worn looking Marshall head amp and four by twelve speaker cab – you don't see big gear like this much these days, at least not on the pub circuit. And they made the sort of noise you might expect from such an array. Eric's voice a sort of gravelly, ZZ Top, smattering of Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits growl aided and abetted by his, barely under control, guitar sound. No fancy pedal board here (just a wa-wah pedal) just the Marshall ripping along at full chat driven by the Les Paul with howling sustain, distortion and natural amp-borne feedback, which Eric controlled by weaving about in front of the speaker. You getting the picture? Eric also played a electric twelve string (Danelectro, for those who might be interested) which he played mostly with a slide. With Alan supplying chest vibrating bass lines and Pete's drumming charging along, they were unstoppable.
I didn't get down a lot of what they played (much was original I believe), but there was Howlin' Wolf's 'Smokestack Lightning' (which segued into other things), Led Zep's. 'When The Levee Breaks', what sounded to begin with like Motorhead's 'Ace Of Spades' but seemed to go off somewhere else, and Nazareth's 'This Flight Tonight'. In the second half Eric played solo on the twelve using his slide for Bukka White's 'Fixing To Die' and Muddy Waters' 'Walking Blues'. Back with the whole band we had more Led Zep with 'Whole Lotta Love' (complete with guitar being played with a violin bow à la Jimmy Page), more Muddy with 'Baby Please Don't Go' and 'Hoochie Coochie Man', the latter with a guest vocal by Paul Poppy. All this, and much more, went down very well with the appreciative Sailors' crowd. So, if no-holds-barred, full-on, loud, take no prisoners, heavy, vintage, British blues-based rock floats your boat – and they were many boats floating last night – Egypt may well be the band for you.
Huge thanks of course to Paul, Emma and Karry for keeping everyone's whistles wetted, with booze across the bar. It was indeed essential last night.
Review of Egypt gig from Gig & Grub Guide (East Anglia) - 17/01/14 at Blakeney, Harbour Room
Review of Blues Kerosene from Indigo FM, Australia
What an album - and such excellent content.
For those of you who are blues classicists, why not take that one step further and give EGYPT a good listening to? The Blues is the music of the people, just as folk music is and there are so many styles played by so many artists.
Did The Yardbirds play the Blues, did Eric Clapton really attain godliness through his interpretation of the blues and was Hendrix a Blues player? To an extent, the answer is yes, but listen to BLUES KEROSENE and there you will meet many interpretations which cannot be faulted; songs written by the band themselves and by the likes of Hooker and Johnson.
Purists might not like others interpreting the works of Hooker and Johnson, but why not when played by maestro musicians, such as EGYPT? Blues is an evolving genre, and who can take offense at numbers which can be part of this evolution? The guitar playing is immaculate, the percussion and bass are well matched and the vocals-well they are the blues!
The blues should be stirring and emotive as well as making statements and/or just being damned good. Egypt have taken this genre to heart and they have that true feeling for the blues. Don't always look back to the originators, but move on to those who keep the scene alive today-EGYPT one of our finest Blues bands.
Tony Bates - Indigo FM
Review of Blues Kerosene from Blues Matters Magazine
EGYPT - Blues Kerosene - Stable Records
Egypt are a three piece Blues Rock outfit that have been on-the-circuit since 1987. All three members of the band were also ex-members of The Groundhogs to give a feel of their pedigree that shines out throughout the entire album.
The CD consists of ten tracks most of which are self-penned and a few carefully selected covers. It opens with a cover of John Lee Hooker’s, ‘Ride Till You Die’. This is a heavy weight Blues Rock version with power packed clout, power drum, pounding bass riffs and wailing lead guitar all joining lead singer Eric Chipulina’s dramatic gravelly vocal and the song is a prelude to much that is to follow.
The tempo drops in the next track, ‘Back To The Pack’, a Blues Rock Ballad. The tempo may be down but the drive and power remain solid as Chipulina drives home the lyrics allied to smouldering guitar riffs, chest pounding bass riffs and some very impressive drumming. One cannot help but be minded by some of Bad Company’s music on this track.
‘Viola Lee Blues’ is a complete contrast and sees the band return to a very traditional Blues ballad with slide guitar taking you way down South. This is then contrasted with another Blues Rocker, very much in the early Led Zeppelin style called ‘Lazy Maisie’. ‘Fu Man Chew’ drops mood again with a traditional slide guitar instrumental and the final cry of a wolf. The CD concludes with ‘Rocking The Room’, a Blues Rocker that takes the joint apart and fires you out of the CD with style.
If you like dirty, hard Blues Rock with a solid feel of the 70s at its best, this CD is for you.
Review of Blues Kerosene www.music-news.com
Egypt ‘Blues Kerosene’ Stable Records
This album is an absolute delight and arguably the album The Groundhogs never made! If you love intense early 70’s style rock with a bluesy source, then look no further than ‘Blues Kerosene’. For this is an album that features 10 tracks of imposing rockaboogie that recalls the golden days of Classic rock.
Egypt was always a good band and this album proves they’ve lost none of their power and vitality down the years. The band has for years been a recruiting post for Tony McPhee’s Groundhogs - with all three members at one time or another passing through the ranks - and as ‘Blues Kerosene’ superbly suggest, they employ the same blues/rock crossover that made the Groundhogs such an exciting proposition down the decades.
Egypt deliver dark brooding rock/blues in a power trio format with vocals on the heavy side Redbone’s ‘Witch Queen of New Orleans’. Come to think of it that would be a great cover for them to incorporate into their set.
As it is album kicks of with a killer track as either Eric Chipulina applies his grown to JL Hooker’s ‘Ride Till You Die’ is a perfect example of cutting edge rock derived from essential blues roots. Chipulina carried over his gruff vocals into the heavy duty riff led ‘Back To the Pack’ which would surely appeal to any self respecting Bad Company or Foghat fan.
Indeed you could pigeon hole much of this album as being essential dirt sounding rock/blues from the 70’s. Whereas Groundhogs maestro McPhee used a locker full of killer riffs, Egypt apply a slightly broader scope to their approach, slipping into ‘Viola Lee Blues’, a down-home bottleneck led trad blues before revisiting some bone crunching early Zeppelin style rock/blues material on ‘Lazy Maisie’. Eric’s big toned guitar lines smoulder with intent, before a guv’nor McPhee style guitar mangle.
Half way through the album I was so caught up with the guitar playing, I almost missed the band slip surreptitiously into a cover of the Hogs ‘Garden. Hell, if you are going to evoke a guitar legend you might as well go to the source. And what a joy to be able to decipher the lyrics at last, sorry Tone!
For a band whose rock solid gigs used to sometimes cross over the thin dividing line between hard rock and simply being too loud, there’s real taste, restraint and balance to be found on the 2 min 36 seconds of wonderful bottle neck interlude on the phonetically titled ‘Fu Man Chew’. And Egypt have the wherewithal to pay attention to their sequencing as some glorious blood curdling wah wah follows on the mundanely titled but pile driven southern rocker ‘Waiting For the 353’.
And if you can overlook the rather obvious choice of Walking Blues ‘ – albeit it features some fine slide playing from Eric - you will be belatedly rewarded by another killer laden rocker, the suitable titled ‘Rocking the Room’.
Well written and produced, superbly conceived with a lovely retro tinge, Blues Kerosene’ is easily Egypt best album and one you should seek out and despite my grumbles, play at maximum volume!
© Pete Feenstra www.getreadytorock.com
EGYPT “Blues Kerosene”
Bass player/ vocalist Alan Fish was in Terraplane with Tony McPhee in 1977 then in The Groundhogs line-up that recorded ‘Razor’s Edge’ in 1985. Apparently singer/ guitarist Eric Chipulina and drummer Peter Correa were also in The Groundhogs presumably as members of the touring band. So, of course there is that unmistakeable Hogs sound and even a solid cover of Tony McPhee’s superlative ‘Garden’. Also covered are Mississippi legend John Lee Hooker’s ‘Ride Till You Die’, the slow slide ‘Viola Lee Blues’ and a brilliantly restrained version of Robert Johnson’s ‘Walking Blues’, with more slide guitar-another Mississippi legend as it happens!
Some of the original songs are no slouches either. Listen to ‘Lazy Maisie’, easily mistaken for Led Zeppelin in their heyday. And how about this for a title- ‘Fu Man Chew’- a great little solo guitar instrumental? Then there’s the great wah wah driven rocker ‘Waiting for the 353’ putting the band firmly into the Cream, and later on Rory Gallagher, family of heavy blues rock. Perhaps the best of the lot though is ‘Bluesbelly’ which for some probably misguided reason reminded me of the great Frank Marino.
There are times when only the blues seem up to doing the job. Sometimes you need the delicate, soulful, spiritual blues, sometimes you just need to let the blues rock set the place on fire, not so much clear the cobwebs as napalm them right out of the door. If it's the latter you're wanting may we humbly suggest you check out Egypt and their new album, "Blues Kerosene". This classic power trio stuff, drums, bass, screaming guitars and raw vocal power. Half the time they turn the heat on their own numbers, half on the masters at whose feet they've studied.
EGYPT “Blues Kerosene” (Stable Records)
Even though I loathe the term 'blues-rock', you would have to say the hard-rocking trio, Egypt, are firmly in that camp, with the ten tracks on “Blues Kerosene” featuring a mix of band originals together with a few blues chestnuts.
The trio, who have vast experience, and initially formed in 1987, consist of Eric Chipulina (guitar and vocals), Alan Fish (bass and vocals) and Pete Correa (drums), indeed, all three have at one time been a member of the legendary British band, The Groundhogs.
The band are down to business on a fiercesome version of John Lee Hooker's “Ride Till You Die”, before slowing it down for the band composition “Back To The Pack”, and then taking it up on the rocking “Bluesbelly” - all featuring Chipulina's thick guitar tone and the driving rhythm section.
They doff their caps to classic blues on the very old Noah Lewis song, “Viola Lee Blues” with Eric Chipulina's sparkling slide guitar prominent, and a dip into Tony McPhee's material with the evergreen “Garden”. Robert Johnson's timeless “Walking Blues” is given a somewhat reverential workout here, again highlighting Chipulina's slide work. The album closer, “Rocking The Room” is a rousing chunky rocker that sort of captures and highlights the band's sound.
The band appear to be based in East Anglia, with plenty of dates on the book . . . for those who like it rocky, check them out!
some of the revelant bits from a review of gig at Tubby Blues Club in Cheltenham, taken from their newsletter.
...........The Egypt Blues Band showed us why they are one of the top rock/blues bands in Europe.
They are packed with experience and Eric Chipulina is not only a master guitarist but a master entertainer too.
The way he tweaks, cajoles, wobbles, massages and taps those sounds from his guitar is truely awesome.
He has that spontaneous flair that all great musicians have. Even though these guys have been playing
together for...(many)....years, they still never know which way the music is going to take Eric.
He has a fabulously rich voice in true Howling Wolf vein.
Pete Correas' instinctive drumming and superbly produced drum rolls underscored by Alan Fish's driving Bass
provide the perfect back drop for Eric to wander over his solo with those incredible runs and slides.........
from the Kings Louth website www.kingsheadlouth.co.uk
Egypt Cruise The Rock ‘N’ Blues
Since the beginning of the year when the gig calendar was posted I had been awaiting this band and there can not have been one disappointed rock ‘n’ blues fan in The Kings, this was simply the best night of the year, for me:-)
Egypt the band have been around since 1987 and have very close connections with the legendary 60/70s band The Groundhogs therefore we’re talking experience and class of the highest order. Some people say if you remember the 60s you weren’t really there, I was and I do and it was the experimentation by such bands that has led to such a huge international following of British music worldwide.
So what did we get? Two sets, nearly three hours and 17 songs…yep, that’s an average of almost 10 minutes per track including “Ride Till You Die”, Howlin’ Wolf’s classic “Smokestack Lightning”, “Bring It On Home”, three classic Robert Johnson tracks, “Hellhound On My Trail”, “Early This Morning” and “Walking Blues”. One of the most classic blues songs of all time has to be “Baby, Please Don’t Go” which was first recorded by Big Joe Williams in 1935 however for most of us it was Van Morrison and Them who created the classic rock ‘n’ blues version we all know so well and wow, did Egypt do this justice, you bet.
Would they play The Groundhogs “Cherry Red”? Certainly and I have absolutely no idea how long it lasted maybe 20 minutes???…phenomenal, absolutely amazing and the entire bar loved every second of it and they were very reluctant to let the band not do an encore which duly arrived with the all-time Hendrix classic “Voodoo Chile”.
Of course nights like this do not happen on their own therefore a special mention must go to Egypt’s sound engineer Dick Wilson who used Balding Bloke’s in-house system and between them made such a memorable night. Naturally we would like to see these guys again and it most likely will not be until next year simply because they are so much in demand therefore keep an eye on the What’s On” calendar.
Norwich Evening News 24 - 17th Feb 2009
Egypt - The Walnut Tree shades
The spirit of Hendrix filled a city pub when established blues rockers Egypt came to play. The three-piece gave
the packed boozer an extensive, upbeat set of catchy originals and eclectic covers. Drums and bass pounded
comfortably along while the lead guitarist chugged big dirty Les Paul chords.
His solos frequently turned into lengthy Jimi-influenced wah-wah explorations, full of bluesy
bends and squeals. Also the lead singer, he delivered the tunes in a steady gravelly tone,
befitting his ZZ Top beard and trucker cap.
Despite the length of their set, like true professionals they inevitably saved the best for last.
The encore was Howling Wolf blues standard Smokestack Lightning, followed by Led Zeppelin's
reading of the bombastic Bring it on Home.
These guys have been gigging around the region for longer than I can remember, and no doubt will
continue to do so. For a night of punchy blues rock, they hit all the right buttons.