John Francis Carroll
9am -1pm Weekends
New CD for 2018 available to download, with free bonus tracks!
Review By Bernie Bicknell
The busker sits at his usual spot at Queen Vic market, as we find a seat and savour that first taste of coffee. We then listen for familiar tunes. There is always an eclectic mix of songs – Dire Straits, Fleetwood Mac, Creedence, The Beatles.
John’s latest album, “Coffee House Music” is a showcase of the diversity that he plays live, from Elvis Costello to John Williams. He is a virtuoso of acoustic guitar and not afraid to tackle the difficult pieces. This album has a strong emphasis on the music of songwriters, including Lennon & McCartney, Paul Kelly, Nick Lowe and Neil Finn. Interestingly, stripping the lyrics out of the songs from these great writers spotlights the wonderful melodies that they created. The tunes come alive.
There are 4 original tunes from John on this album. These hold their own with the better known tracks and add a real depth to the album. “Soho Road”, in particular, is standout track and is hopefully a precursor of more self-penned songs on future albums. A background narrator and sounds of the market are sprinkled through the album to add ambiance.
One track that surprises is “My Baby”, the Cold Chisel classic and one of the rare songs written by bassist Phil Small. John’s acoustic treatment transforms the song. For me, the best track on the album is a beautiful treatment of “Strawberry Fields Forever”. This highlights John’s style. He allows the melody to be the champion. He plays this beautiful song hauntingly slowly and faithful to the original.
A great accompaniment to my market caffeine hit.
My Blues Instrumentals CD will be ALBUM OF THE WEEK onUK Blues Roots Radio next Wednesday 19th August via Ian McKenzie’s Acoustic Blues Club radio show in the UK. Podcast will be available after the show here;
BLUES MATTERS MAGAZINE UK REVIEW by Norman Darwen
BLUES INSTRUMENTALS - John Francis Carroll
I confess I was a little unsure about this at first glance. After all, the blues is primarily a vocal art, and although there have been some fine instrumental recordings – think Freddie King, for starters – it does take a rare talent to maintain interest throughout the length of an album. John is a busker from Melbourne, Australia, and this set consists of his acoustic guitar, backed by drummer Andrew “Idge” Hehir, and on the short closing version of Sweet Home Chicago only, Mississippi John McConnon on lead guitar. And it works… maybe not unexpectedly so on tracks like Mississippi John Hurt’s Payday or Leadbelly’s waltz time In The Pines, but John also turns his hand to the likes of John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom, Barrett Strong’s Money, That’s What I Want and a couple of Willie Dixon numbers: My Babe and I Just Want To Make Love To You. He also tackles Elvis Presley’s big hit Heartbreak Hotel and perhaps most stunningly, Booker T & The MGs’ Green Onions. I would swear Booker T himself is on this, adding organ bass in the background, but after careful listening, no, it does seem that it is just John’s own guitar! So no, John’s not your average busker. Looking through the material, all the songs (except for John’s sole original, Lil’ Hot Sauce) are numbers that would have been familiar to blues lovers back in the 60s, so maybe he has been doing this for a while. Whatever, he certainly kept my interest throughout.