It has been a great pleasure to see this lovely chap rise and mature in the ukulele world. I first encountered Robin Evans, Esq playing support to Chonkinfeckle a number of years ago. With a cup and saucer in his hand and a cheeky smile across his face this guy had a spark as he romped through his infamous rendition of Gay Bar. He soon went on to become a world record holder for the longest ukulele performance; 30 hours and 2 minutes. A little older with some “life” under his belt Robin has turned to the blues. He has a rather snappy hat, a vintage mic, a suitcase bass drum and some rather cool make-up that has transformed him into something new, exciting and just a little frightening. Robin has found the Delta blues and made it his home.
So from within the pocket of his trench coat, Robin secretes his debut release, “Demon Swing”. Lo-fi vocals, thudding bass beats, twang, slide and overdrive; frostily cool!
The opening eponymous track slithers into existence with a ukulele twang and lazy vocal (in a good way!) before doubling up the bass beat, overdrive and tempo morphing into a real thigh slapper. The memorably titled Badger Milk comes next with an even more raucous vintage sound with some very talented blues chops. Gastown introduces an effective offbeat to the suitcase bass drum, presumably the left foot tapping a tambourine, while the uke keeps sliding up and down those blues with perhaps a more claw banjo feel this around. Building A Plane is my personal favourite, the vocal adding an extra level of gravel and the over all feel not a million miles from Jack White (albeit with a vocal an octave lower). Perhaps it’s the constantly sturdy bass drum that hints at that White Stripes beat. The last track, Delta Truckin’ Woman, leans more to ZZ Top with a full on over-driven wallop. I’m not usually a fan of distorted uke, it’s often too brash and lacking in depth, but Robin has nailed a very tasty sound here which wouldn’t sound misplaced on an AC/DC track.
I don’t like spoilers so I’ll merely hint there’s a hidden retro coda too which is ever so sweet. Keep that disc spinning.
I’ve seen Mr E perform this stuff live and it works well, really well. Robin really has found a down and dirty style that suits him with a flourish and he has developed some seriously impressive chops too. His spirited and smouldering pep works equally well on CD so turn it up loud and let the Mississippi float you away.