Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

Rag Mama Rag in Blues in Britain issue 59


Station Pub, Sutton Coldfield 4/10/06

Blues in Britain/issue 59
France based Rag Mama Rag (husband and wife team Deborah and Ashley Dow) put on a superlative performance at The Sutton Blues Collective this Wednesday.  They were exactly the right sort of act for the ambience of this club.  A complex combination of traditional country blues with songs from names such as Tampa Red, Leadbelly, Robert Johnson and Blind Boy Fuller were performed together with original songs penned by Ashley Dow,  and even a Ry cooder tune.  Ashley has a voice ideally suited to singing this style of blues.  Both halves of the set were a seemingly endless stream of songs accompanied by Ashley’s fast and driving guitar playing backed by Deborah playing at different times on washboard, harmonica, spoons and an African drum, occasionally providing backup vocals.  There was even a couple of numbers played on the ukulele to provide light relief from the more intense sons.
During the interval I spoke to Ashley about his guitars.  His main instrument during the evening was a Washburn parlour sized guitar.  The other two guitars were a 1990’s National and a John Pearce copy of a 1930’s Wiessenborn lap steel guitar, a thing of great beauty with Ashley proudly told me that he’d managed to get in a bargain from a well known online auction house.  Rag Mama Rag is definitely an act not to be missed.

Clive Sheard

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