Istanbul Blues Kumpanyasi "Sair Zamanlar" EMI / Double Moon Records
doublemoon.com.tr

Were I a full time journalist being paid for my time, I would head straight for my nearest Turkish contact and get the run down on the titles, instruments and background to a fascinating mix of World Music, Arabesque, Country and of course Blues. As it is there are enough musical indicators to suggest where this excellent band of musicians are coming from to render such research less than crucial.

"Istanbul Blues" appears to be the brain child of guitarist/vocalist/song writer Sarp Keskiner and multi instrumentalist Salih Nazim Peker who chips in with everything from a banjo to bouzouki and electric saz (look it up!). But before you dismiss this album as esoteric in the extreme, it is undoubtedly an effort that will appeal to earlier Jethro Tull and blues fans alike.

In fact the album meanders beautifully through tracks like the opening kazoo/slide guitar piece "Biskotin" (complete with the riff from Tull's "Song For Jeffrey"), and the sonorous horn intro of "Kirik Hayatlar" to some quite spacey instrumental explorations on the tile track (which translates as "Other Times")

But by the time of the very Blind Al Wilson sounding "Izmir'e Donus" to the juxtaposed Eastern flavoured version of "On The Road Again", the cat is out of the bag. These guys ultimately resolve their spirited Dervish injected grooves by returning head on to the blues. The closing cover of Robert Montgomery's "Fourty Four" is less than surprising given that the earlier self penned, slide-led "Kurbagali Bodrum" is again a delicately camouflaged Turkish rendering of Sleepy John Estes "Diving Duck Blues", but none the worse for that!

This is a real refreshing take on the blues and more.

Here are some clips from Sair Zamanlar:
Broadband
(CD quality)
Dial-Up
(AM radio)
Biskotin
Broadband
Dial-Up

Kurbagali Bodrum

Broadband
Dial-Up

Sair Zamanlar

Broadband
Dial-Up

Istanbul Blues Kumpanyasi were number 4 in the January 2005 Playlist