Reviews

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'Just For You' CD review by Docteur Blues (in French)

King Rollo at The Running Horse, Nottingham
"Some performers excel on the technical side, others are notable for the emotion of their performances. The really good ones combine both and this man is one such. King Rollo is a warm-hearted and thoroughly engaging troubadour of the blues who gave his appreciative audience over two hours of wonderful acoustic music, covering an exhilarating range of styles - traditional country and funky urban blues, ragtimey numbers, folk-tinged originals and much else besides.
The evening was billed as the launch of a new CD and the material on that featured heavily. There were rollicking versions of Spencer Williams, Basin Street Blues, the traditional See See Rider, Big Bill Broonzy's Lonesome and Rufus Thomas, Walking The Dog. Other classics like Walking Blues and Diving Duck were given the King Rollo treatment and we also heard several impressive original songs such as Sing The Blues, I Like It Like That, Love Enough and Autumn Blue.
He has maintained his high standards with his newer material including a superbly catchy song that went something like, 'Settle me my expenses and I'll be there'. That lyric typifies his warm and generous approach to his music and his audience.
At half time, as usual, he personally and individually thanked us all for coming. The pleasure was ours - he's a fabulous fingerpicking and slide guitarist who plays with a metronomic pulse, has a great voice, delivers lyrics effectively, and is a captivating communicator when introducing numbers. Great value for money, in short, and an exciting and uplifting evening that sent everybody home with a warm glow." - Dave Kingsbury, Blues In Britain

Full House For Rollo
"Rollo's approach is to involve and engage his audience in several ways in the personal rendition of Blues & Roots music, with an exceptional level of musicianship and his own interpretation of lyrics, at times playing with the audience with relish. It is clear that King Rollo thrives on the reaction he aims to generate at his gigs - you just can't ignore him; and the extraordinary show was one of those where, before you realised it, many songs had been played and over two hours had passed in the court of King Rollo, leaving us wanting more - and another visit must, I hope, be on the cards." AES - Goole Times

Shire Hall blues night attracts full house
"King Rollo was in action; a spidery figure with a Trilby almost obscuring his features, but a guitarist and vocalist who makes space and silence create and release the tension - a lesson for all guitarists and sound engineers. The well-worn Freight Train, sung and played by King Rollo, would have left 50s vintage skiffle enthusiasts pale with shock, while Nobody Loves You When You're Down And Out was delivered with earthy irony. King Rollo dropped in a couple of his own blues-drenched compositions which ran true to his bewildering ability to play guitar in a wide variety of styles." AJG - Goole & Howden Courier

"As a guitarist of twenty years with a fair understanding of American blues, I can honestly say that you are probably the only white guitarist I've heard that has quite simply delivered the blues as it should be." - Alias el c

"Hi Rollo, Just a quick Email to say thank you again for the brilliant music you shared with us tonight at the Running Horse in Nottingham. My friends and myself had hairs pricking on the back of our necks at some of the songs - particularly when you sang with the resonator guitar. It was great to see you again and be in the presence of such incredible talent. I shall apply myself to practicing the blues with renewed and inspired fervour. Cheers."
- David Coleman

Bullfrog Bluesclub, Portsmouth
"Just got to tell you all about the great blues gig I saw tonight in Southsea Portsmouth (uk). It was the visit to our club by King Rollo an excellent blues guitarist / singer from 'up north'. The music he played tonight was my favorite kind of blues. It was rhythmic and intense without resorting to flash and speed. All feel. The way it really should be. He played both covers and originals but all in his own idiom. Two covers that stood out were a version of 'Satisfied and Tickled' and 'Shingle by Shingle'. The first a song originally by Mississippi John Hurt but in this case taken from Taj Mahal, I particularly enjoyed this one as it`s a number I perform myself, and I have to say he captured the essence that I attempt to but don`t quite get. The second is from Eric Bibb and was sung with great feel. I think it`s always the sign of a good singer when they achieve more with their voice that they are capable of. As well as these excellent covers were many originals, a humorous number about the perils of getting old (apparently a modern phenomenum) springs to mind although I can`t remember the title (too busy listening to the next song). Tonight performance was outstanding, when he plays near you check him out." - Andy Broad - Blues guitar/vocalist

The Marr's Bar, Worcester
"King Rollo is a shit-kicking blues guitarist with grizzled features and a voice to match. He began his set with Walking The Dog and continued with Walkin' Blues, That's Why I Sing The Blues and Basin Street Blues along with a tasty Taj Mahal homage amongst others. When King Rollo starts playing you sit up and take notice. He commands his instrument in such a way that dazzles. The blues isn't supposed to be particularly uplifting music but the soaring solos and tasty riffs do just that, I found myself captured by the movements up and down The King's fretboard wishing that I could make a guitar howl in such a way. King Rollo emulates the blues legends and even tops them with an electrifying set of songs. Blues never sounded so good".

"Colne Rugby Club started off a little gentler with first gig of the festival by King Rollo, this largely acoustic performer has an ever growing circle of fans who flock to his gigs just to capture the sheer intensity of emotion and stunning guitar dynamics that are his trademark." Anon

Lewis A Harris, BluesNights Reviewer
"The second set was from King Rollo who I have now seen at three BluesNights. Without further ado he launched into "Driftin' Blues" followed by a nice picking number. He set a pleasant mood with Bessie Smith's "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out", then one of his featured songs followed called "Gypsy Woman" that has a nice chopping style. Here again we have a modern musician who nods back to the founding fathers of the Blues and keeps this musical genre alive. Big Bill Broonzy's "I'll Overcome Sometime" followed and then, at this point Rollo takes note of one of the oldest Blues recordings known, Blind Blake's "I Like It Like That". The slide featured prominently on Robert Johnson's "Walkin Blues". A request for '"Rollin & Tumblin' gave a very slow and haunting version of this classic. Rollo is very engaging and personable and soon had the audience in his hand with pleasant chiding humour and witty asides leading to an instant rapport. It was an action packed performance and got a deserved appreciative reaction - all told a good night out!"

"Hard on Martyn's heels came King Rollo, all-round talented musician and good egg. He took the audience on a journey of self-penned songs and standards by the likes of Robert Johnson and Big Bill Broonzy, rounding things off nicely with a medley or two of songs like 'I Hear You Knocking' and 'Mustang Sally'. All in all yet another wonderful illustration of that diverse thing known as - The Blues" Anon

 
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