(Header photo by Star Shots Photography.)
Classic Rock magazine couldn’t have put it any better when they wrote about Gerry Jablonski & The Electric Band, ‘…. the best band you never heard of.’
It was towards the back end of 2008 when session drummer of some reknown, Dave Innes, approached established bluesman, Gerry Jablonski with a view to forming a band. The latter, though he’d fronted several bands in the past, had spent several immediate years prior performing solo acoustic blues sets, and took some persuading.
Some months later, now in 2009, the insistent Dave had put together the line-up he’d been pursuing, and with himself on drums, Gerry on guitar, Grigor Leslie on bass and Pete Narojczyk on harmonica, they played at an open mic night in their home city of Aberdeen.
Taking heart from the positive reaction and feedback, the four started writing their own songs and three months later they played their first ‘proper’ gig. A month after that, and the debut album had been recorded!
Released in 2009 through local label, Fat Hippy Records, the eponymous debut opens with ‘Breaking the Stones,’ a swamp blues stomper which I think also echoes early Free. It sets the precedent for what follows – an album of blues maturity and variation. Mainly upbeat and bouncy blues rock, Pete’s harmonica playing trades space with Gerry’s guitar, typified on ‘Blues Power‘ when you could just so easily be listening to Mark Feltham (Nine Below Zero / Rory Gallagher) and Roy Buchanan.
It would be two years before the follow up came along, ‘Life At Captain Tom’s’ which references the rehearsal and recording studio in Aberdeen. (I mentioned above how I could hear a Free influence poking through various tracks – on this album there is a song called ‘Koss,’ a tribute to the original Free guitarist, and weaving several of the band’s song titles into the lyrics.)
Another two year gap, and album number three was released, ‘Twist of Fate.’ Again, a clean sounding rocking blues album of ten tracks. The opening and closing tracks especially (‘Slave to the Rhythm‘ and ‘Suzi Sunshine’) are more palatable, I’d think, to commercial daytime radio than would be a more traditional blues song. ‘Dave Says,’ a jazz infused blues instrumental is my favourite, though. Just sayin’.
Fate however dealt the band a tragic hand the following year, with the passing of founder member / drummer, Dave Innes, following a long battle with stomach cancer.
He had acknowledged his destiny however, and was insistent that the band should continue with a replacement. And so with the comfort of his blessing, and Dave’s own recommendation, Lewis Fraser was invited to join.
And so has it been since. 2015 saw the release of studio album number four, ‘Trouble With The Blues‘ and the ensuing years have seen two ‘Live’ album releases. Their heavy blues sound is enhanced, I feel, on these ‘live’ recordings,
‘Goddamn,’ is the first recording since 2018’s ‘Live at The Blue Note,‘ album.
The video for this, shown at the opening of the post, has an interesting twist: Crystal Head Vodka, the brand set up by actor / comedian Dan Akroyd in 2008 decided they’d like to co-produce the video, and use it to feature their product in a forthcoming promotional campaign!
(Happy to oblige with with a wee additional plug!)
Now the UK music scene is slowly awakening from its enforced torpor, Gerry Jablonski & The Electric Band are back out and about, looking to pick up in recent months where they left off, selling out shows in mainland Europe as well as at home.
They’ve certainly been welcomed back enthusiastically, recently selling out their headline show at the Rory Gallagher Festival in Ballyshannon. As a diehard Gallagher fan myself, I know just how discerning Rory fans can be, so this is high accolade indeed!
They’ll be on my gig list for next year, that’s for sure.
GERRY JABLONSKI & THE ELECTRIC BAND
Gerry Jablonski – Guitar / Vocals
Peter Narojczyk – Harmonica
Lewis Fraser – Drums / Backing Vocals
Grigor Leslie – Bass / Backing Vocals
David Innes – Drums / Backing Vocals ( 2009 – 2014)
|Breaking The Stones ||CD Album||2009||Fat Hippy Records||This is the self-titled debut album, but listed as ‘Breaking The Stones’ on Discogs|
|Life At Captain Tom’s||CD Album||2011||Fat Hippy Records|
Twist Of Fate
|CD Album||2013||Fat Hippy Records|
|Trouble with The Blues||CD Album||2015||Unknown|
|LIVE Trouble||CD Album||2016||Unknown|
|Heavy Water||Double-A-sided single||2017||Unknown|
|Live at The Blue Note||CD Album||2018||Unknown|
|Goddamn||7″ single / CD||2021||Unknown|