The Black Diamond Express
Authentic roots blues for 21st century hobos
This article is from 2007.
Like the fastest train of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, The Black Diamond Express is, at full compliment, a nine-piece soaked in poetry, myth and bourbon. Led by the enigmatic Jack of Diamonds its combination of slide, acoustic and electric guitars over string bass, cello and fiddle, blues harp, banjo, drums and percussion beguiles with the look, the sound and (what really sets them apart) the energy of railroad blues bona fides.
Nevertheless, a contemporary alternative band that combines original material with traditional standards and a fully realised pre-war blues fixation (the name tipping a wink to the Black Diamond Express Train To Hell of roots blues mythology) with an acceptance of the new, The BDE somehow stay true to both Robert Johnson and The Sex Pistols. The local, unsigned outfit then take this character to its natural conclusion with Jack meeting us at the station armed with bellowing sermons and a swaggering, suited performance that’s equally worthy of The Spiegel Tent or Glastonbury. (Mark Edmundson)
The Ark, 24 Aug, 228 9393, 11pm, £tbc; Forest Café, 220 4538, Thu 23 & Thu 30 Aug, 10pm, £tbc.