|BE COOL & SHADED SPOT (Dino Coccia)
The Barcodes have always trodden a path in that region between Jazz and Blues,with Bob Haddrell's keyboards and Dino Coccia's drumming maintaining a deceptively easy feel while Alan Glen's guitar and harmonica add some harder blues edges. 'Be Cool' is a 'Best Of' compilation from their previous four albums,chosen by the band,and the title could not be more apt.Guests are in abundance - Paul Cox, Zoot Money, and horns too - - - if you can't get enough of that cool Mose Allison-like sound, then here's
Barcoders Bob Haddrell & Dino Coccia doing their own thing on a set of originals.Bob plays piano ( no Organ ), so bass players are needed ( Jim Mercer & Phil Antonio ) as Bob would normally use the Organ bass pedals.Alan Glen adds some harmonica to one track,but the whole affair stays well in Jazz territory.
JUKE BLUES MAGAZINE
BE COOL - the very best of the Barcodes
Alan Glen / The Barcodes - musician and band par excellence
A long awaited new album from the Barcodes is a notable event in blues & jazz circles and brings Alan Glen one of the UK's most respected musicians to the fore once again -. Alan is a highly regarded guitarist and a renowned harmonica player. His CV is second to none and places him as one of the unsung giants of UK music.
His career has included major stints with the Yardbirds where he replaced Keith Relf on harmonica and Nine Below Zero. As a session player he’s played on over thirty albums with some of the very best including Jeff Beck, Steve Vai and John Mayall. As a harmonica player It said with that somewhat over-used cliché' one of the finest of his generation, but simply ‘one of the finest’ is the truth, as a guitarist hit playing style exemplary with little of the excess of showboating that can abound - he plays within the requirement of the tune and his skill is particularly noticeable an accompanist That epithet applies to both his guitar and harmonica playing: he plays with a really sympathetic touch for whoever is leading If you are lucky enough to catch him It a gig with one of his several duo acts such as Gordon Smith or Papa George just what he lays down behind them.
The other Barcodes -
We caught up with Alan between dates on his busy schedule and asked about the new album "Be Cool” there are 10 original songs and instrumentals & 7 covers that we've arranged in our own style. The other Barcodes are Bob Haddrell on Hammond, Piano and various keyboards, and drummer Dino Coccia, plus a number of guests” We asked Alan about the fact though an excellent guitarist he Is widely perceived only as a harmonica player', " I guess because I’ve been In some 'name' bands such as 'The Yardbirds' and 'Nine Below Zero' where I was purely a harmonica player that’s why most people associate me with - however I have always played guitar - in fact I started with guitar first" Alan is noted as a skilled accompanist - it's an aspect of playing that he has studied, 'I find that very few guitarists these days, in the UK know how to accompany a harp player properly, most seem to go tor Stevie Ray Vaughan / Hendrix / Clapton rock blues lead guitar,
I made a study at the guys that helped Little Waiter and Sonny Boy Williamson sound great, That's guys such as Robert Junior Lockwood, the Myers brothers and others in the Chess House band," Alan spoke about his major influence on guitar and harp - "Kenny Burrel Is my all-time favorite Jazz guitarist and he influences my Playing in 'The Barcodes' - particularly on our instrumentals, I tend to prefer the less-is-more style of playing on the hole On harmonica its Little Walter - he was, and still is, my favorite, also Sonny Terry / Junior Wells / Magic DIck / Kim Wilson and others" Alan was inspired to play harp when at age 17 (1968) “I saw the Muddy Waters Band - with Paul Oscher was playingHarp. It struck me that he had the smallest instrument-but made the biggest sound! That was when I decided I wanted to play Blues harmonica. I
ntriguingly Alan was born In Germany - yes, my father was in the British army and was stationed there - I didn’t start playing guitar until I was 16 and back living in the UK I think the first blues I heard was by The Roiling Stones, their version of 'I'm a King Bee' helped me to search out the original by Slim Harpo. I started buying records on Chess end Veejay and then went to see the American Folk Blues festivals that came to England in the late 60’s and early 70's I also developed a love for Jimmy Smiths Hammond Blues, that eventually led to me getting together with Bob and Dino in The Barcodes in the late 90's to record our fist album.
From Blues Matters - June 2011
British Blues Notables the Barcodes new album launch at Brooks Blues Bar April 9th
The Barcodes a band consisting of some of the most noted names on the British scene release a long awaited new album ‘Best of the Barcodes’ featuring Guitarist harmonic a player Alan Glen , Bob Hadrell on keyboards and Dino Coccia on drums it’s a super collection of jazz flavoured swinging R&B and features several guests including Papa George, Paul Cox and Val Cowell. Our reporter caught up with Alan Glen for a brief interview while he was preparing for the launch gig at Brooks Blues Bar (www.brooksbluesbar.com)
I see the album is called ‘BE COOL the very best of THE BARCODES - tell us about the content (songs / originals / covers/ obscure covers, etc)
There are 10 original songs and instrumentals & 7 covers which we’ve arranged in our own style.
And have you got a tour or launch gigs lined up?
We have an album launch gig with some special guests on Saturday 9th April at Tony Bell’s venue ‘Brooks Blues Bar’ You can find other dates on our website www.thebarcodes.co.uk
I had a look at your bio on Wikipedia and its pretty impressive, but its all about you as a harmonica player; surely you’re just as much a guitar player?
I guess because I’ve been in some ‘name’ bands such as ‘The Yardbirds’ and ‘Nine Below Zero’ where I was purely a harmonica player that’s what most people associate me with however I have always played guitar in fact I started with guitar first.
When I first saw you play as a guitarist and I was very taken with the style, what I noted particularly was your skill as an accompanist; solos were also very good; what’s your philosophy on playing guitar?
I find that very few guitarists these days, in the UK, know how to accompany a harp player properly. Most seem to go for Stevie Ray Vaughan / Hendrix / Clapton rock blues lead guitar. I have made more of a study of the guys that helped Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson sound great namely Robert Junior Lockwood, the Myers brothers and others in the Chess house band.
Do you think there is too much emphasis on guitar ‘solos’ as against the all-round use of the guitar as an accompanying instrument?
Don’t get me wrong I enjoy playing a Peter Green or BB King style solo as much as the next man but I am just as happy playing rhythm guitar parts behind someone else to enhance what they are doing.
Your major influences on guitar
Kenny Burrell is my all-time favourite Jazz guitarist and he influences my playing in ‘The Barcodes’ particularly on our instrumentals. I guess I tend to prefer the less-is-more style of playing on the whole.
Let’s turn to harmonica who are your major influences?
Little Walter he was, and still is, my favourite; also Sonny Terry / Junior Wells / Magic Dick / Kim Wilson & many more. When I was 17 (1968) I went to see the Muddy Waters Band and at that time Paul Oscher was playing harp in the band. What struck me was that he had the smallest instrument -but he made the biggest sound ! That was the moment when I decided I wanted to be a blues harmonica player.
Do you play chromatic and diatonic?
Mostly diatonic I have used the chromatic on some recordings but I prefer the sound of the diatonic
We’ll be talking in much more depth soon, but for now; I’m intrigued by how it all started for you I note you were born in Germany so is that where you started or the UK?
I was born in Germany because my father was in the British army and was stationed there I didn’t start playing guitar until I was 16 and back living in the UK. I think the first blues I heard was by The Rolling Stones -their version of ‘I’m a King Bee’ helped me to search out the original version by Slim Harpo. I started buying records on Chess & Veejay,and went to see all the American Folk Blues Festivals that came to England in the late 60′s and early 70′s. I also developed a love for Jimmy Smith / Georgie Fame & Zoot Money style Hammond blues, which has stayed with me and which eventually led to me getting together with Bob & Dino in the late 90′s to record the first album by ‘The Barcodes’
As I said the CV is very impressive so what’s your career highlight so far?
Highlights It’s hard to name just one - recording a track with Jeff Beck at his house was pretty cool Playing with ‘Slash’ in Texas supporting Eric Clapton for 12 nights at the Royal Albert Hall with ‘Nine Below Zero’ Womad with ‘Little Axe’ last year ‘Ronnie Scott’s’ last week.
So wished Alan & Co good luck with the album and we’ll talk with them in-depth soon.
Review Blues In Britain May 2011
Be Cool The Very Best Of The Barcodes NOTE RECORDS
I’ve been meaning 10 get along to a Barcodes gig for a number years
Most numbers have a relaxed groove, somewhere between a Walking pace and a comfortable jog. If that sounds dull, it's not: the songs generate plenty of excitement and the rhythms include swing, shuffles, straight 8s, 12/8, reggae and 2nd line feels. Dino Coccia's vast experience in all sorts of musical environments shows in the confident way he tackles them all with equal aplomb. Alan Glen is rightly feted as one of the UKs harmonica aces but he also demonstrates a facility for tasteful guitar licks and solos that make a major contribution to the atmosphere on many tracks. Bob Haddrell's confident Hammond is at the centre of the band's predominant "sound" and is nicely featured on the Instrumental "Splanky".
There am a number 01 distinguished guests, mainly on the tracks taken from "With Friends like These ... " but Nick Newall almost seems to quality as a part-lime member of the band contributing to 5 numbers on tenor sax or flute: His 3-chorus solo on "The Snitch" is nicely constructed and his flute contrasts well with Glen's guitar on "Grits & Greens". The rest of the guests are Alan Barnes, Jim Mullen, Zoot Money, Paul Cox VaI Cowell, Papa George and Roger Cotton, who are all worth hearing In their own right but the basic organ trio of the Barcodes don't need any help. Such bass less trios are something of a Marmite item - people tend to love or hate them. Certainly as far as the Barcodes go, I'm firmly in the former group.
Rating: 9 (10) - Kit Packham
The Barcodes & Guests CD Launch
Brooks Blues Bar, Fulham 9/04/11
The Parson's Green Social Club, home to Brook's Blues Bar, is tucked away, off the beaten track in a comer of Fulham that could quite easily be missed unless you had a reason 10 be there. Going to sea The Barcodes launch a new album was more than enough reason.
The new album, Be Cool, is the very best from the trio of well-seasoned blues and Jazz musicians. Alan Glen, from The Yardbirds, Nine Below Zero, Little Axe and The Incredible Blues Puppies, played guitar and harmonica and sang; Bob Haddrell played keyboards, bass pedals and also provided vocals: Dino Coccla was on drums. This evening also included guest saxophonist and flautist Nick Newall, from Zoot Money's Big Roll Band.
The first set started with "Keep Your Distance" and "The Lizard" before Alan provided superb harmonica playing with a covers of "Snatch It Back" a song written by Junior Wells and John Lennon’s "Norwegian Wood". Next was "Mr. Nickel & Dime", a Bob Haddrell number from his album A Shaded Spot, then a great cover of "Stone Fox Chase" (Charlie McCoy), made famous as the theme of The Old Grey Whistle Test.
A quick change of lineup brought Gordon Smith on stage accompanied by Jim Mercer who had to stand to one side of the due to the size of his double bass. His first song was a cover of Leroy Carr's "Mean Mistreatin' Mama" and a track from his album The Essential Gordon Smith. Three more songs followed, "Talkin' Woman Blues", "Too late To Cry", which demonstrated Gordon's superb guitar work and finally, to finish the first set with a song that combined "Mojo Boogie" and "Let The Good Times RoIl.
The second set kicked off with guests Rlchie Milton & Bill Farrow with Alan Glen on harmonica. Three songs from this line up, "Believe Me Woman· "Hammersmith & City line" and "Odd Sox Boogie Blues", were all from their album Barefoot & Blue. Another change round had The Barcodes on stage to perform "Parchman Farm" a song about the Mississippi State Penitentiary, and "Comin Home baby", which featured some haunting solo work from Nick Newell on flute. The band was then joined by two guests John Dominlc (Bow Street Runners) on vocals and harmonica and John Gourd (Radical Sheiks) guitar, who performed "Flip Flop & Fly" and "Walking The Dog".
Next on stage with The Barcodes was Tim Haln on guitar and vocals. Jim Mercer who had managed to miss his slot with John Dominlc and John Gourd gave the band much amusement when he was called back to perform. Tim performed "You Bin' Drinking" from his forthcoming album 2-Step 4-Ward and dedicated "Don’t Cry Because It's Over” to his father Edward Haln who recently passed away.
Tlm Haln was Joined by harp player Shakey Vic for two songs, which included some great solo work from Nick Newall on saxophone the second "That's All Right", a Jimmy Rogers number and widely performed blues standard. The Barcodes finished off the second and final set of the night with "Mojo Working", which gave Alan Glen an opportunity to reintroduce the musicians that had made this launch party one not to be Forgotten.
Martin Clarke - Blues Matters
RECORD OF THE MONTH - BluesNews Mai 2011 Germany
With 'BE COOL', the British trio the Barcodes presents a ‘Best of CD’ with material from their 4 albums. Many of the tracks are written by the band who are Bob Haddrell, Alan Glen & Dino Coccia they are augmented with diverse lumanires from the UK music scene, including Zoot Money, Paul Cox and Val Cowell. True to the band's motto 'Jazz and Blues with Soul', the 17 tracks include original material, and songs from the pens of Taj Mahal, Mose Allison, Little Walter & Willie Dixon.
These covers are given a new make over, for example Sonny Boy Williamson's classic 'Checkin; on My Baby' is given a fine reggae groove. Here we have without question a trio of quality musicians at work. They have had years of studio experience and have worked as sidemen in many bands including The Yardbirds (Alan Glen) and their spin off band The Incredible Blues Puppies.
These three give musical performances that put them on a par with internationally known artists as Georgie Fame and Van Morrison whose roots are also in 1960's British R n' B and who have followed the same musical path.
This is music of great sophistication and merit.
The Barcodes ‘Be Cool: The very best of the Barcodes’ Note Records NCD 1023
60’s cool icons The Peddlers may be long gone but the Barcodes are very much with us. And ‘Be Cool’ is an excellent ‘Best of’ compilation album that acts as a timely reminder of just what they are capable of. While The Peddlers provided a musical bridge between Hammond led blues and jazz in an age when rock was all pervasive, the Barcodes don’t so much look back as rekindle the essence of cool on 10 self penned tracks and 7 well chosen covers, of which the live version of ‘7th Son’ is given a New Orleans treatment and ‘Statesboro’ Blues' a flighty harp solo.
And while the concept of 'Cool’ very much pervades this jazzy tinged blues crossover album, the guests ensure that it’s never too one dimensional.
Alan Glen the harp playing former Yardbirds, Nine Below Zero and Little Axe member has for long been one of the UK’s unsung blues song writing heroes. Aside from his harp playing duties he chips in with some ‘cool’ guitar, fine vocals and contributes to all ten band compositions.
But the Barcodes are the sum of their parts with the expressive vocals and keyboards of Bob Hadrell and subtle drumming of Dino Coccia making the most of even the most minimal of outings.
The band’s signature style ‘cool’ by another other name is readily apparent in the first three tracks which all come from the ‘Keep Your Distance’ album. The opening shuffle features Hadrell's warm vocals, Dino crisp percussive attack and is full of restraint, poise and yes cool, while on ‘Crazy Life’ Alan teases out an exquisite guitar intro as Bob whispers heartfelt close to the mike vocals.
The first instrumental ‘Splanky’ is the perfect showcase for the band’s stylish interplay while ‘Checkin' On My Baby' - one of 3 songs from ‘Independently Blue’ finds Alan on lead vocals on a reggae arrangement that is cloaked in echo reverb.
The Barcodes don't so much push a groove as let it breath, gently percolate and like the best coffee give you a subtle rush. And together with a roster of guests from both the blues, jazz and soul worlds, the band make the best of contemporising 60’s cool.
The guest’s drag the band’s oeuvre into a more bluesy and occasional jazzy direction. . Flautist Nick Newell dominates ‘Grits & Greens’ as Bob imperceptibly shifts from accompanist to front line soloist. The title track is an Alan Glen penned blues on which his confident lead vocal is matched by a superb harp solo, And while Val Cowell and Paul Cox provide contrast with an earthy duet over Papa George’s slide on Taj Mahall’s ‘Paint My Mailbox Blue' and Zoot Money drops by for a jumping blues on ‘Halfway To Nowhere’ it’s nearly a step too far away from the project's ‘cool’ concept.
Far better is the quite magnificent ‘Back at the 4 Aces’ with its thematic instrumental statement, Dino’s propulsive reggae back beat and superb solos and double lines from sax player Barnes and guest guitarist Jim Mullen, on a piece that is ‘cool’ personified.
There’s till time for Bob to add another JJ Cale style breathy vocal on a cover of Little Walter’s ‘Can’t Hold On Much Longer’ and there’s another cutting edge instrumental ‘The Snitch’ featuring sax player Nick Newell, which acts as a musical reprise of where we came in. Having come this far, you’re probably cool enough to don some shades, hit the repeat button and groove the night way.
**** (4/5) © www.getreadytorock.com
Review by Pete Feenstra
BE COOL the very best of the Barcodes - The Barcodes - Note Records NCD 2023 2