Tag Archives: Major Baldini


KEITH ELFORD AND THE WEEKEND KINGS has become the name of a project to create an album of guitarist & singer-songwriter Keith’s original songs.

Doug Lip
7 of 10 original songs that Keith wrote with his pal, the much missed local guitar-hero Doug Lipinski (Doug Lip)…

The album, “Land of the Living” launched on 28th June 2019 features 7 of 10 original songs that Keith wrote with his pal and the much missed local guitar-hero Doug Lipinski (Doug Lip) who passed away unexpectedly in 2016.

The band also includes all members of his band, Thunderhead (Russell Ayres, John Hiles, Stuart Sollors) plus Simon Davies and Stuart Picton, with the participation of Major Baldini and Mick Rogers.

The album is produced by Major Baldini and Simon Davies.

We had a listen:

The album begins with the thumping basser “Mojo Back” and perhaps a cynical acknowledgment of the stumbles and pitfalls of making music. Although the blues tone and riffwork on this number are quite simple, there is an acid guitar that cuts through the piece to bring a portion of world-weary skepticism.

KEITH ELFORD AND THE WEEKEND KINGS – dark energy and smoky genius…

Everybody’s Doing It” is a rock and roll jangler with a touch of darkness around the generous edges, although it also incorporates a lot of enthusiasm. This has a West Coast feel, like something from the Steve Miller band of the 70s.

Mr Charming” is perhaps one of the most successful songs on the album. Certainly, it contains dark energy and smoky genius. The ginger root ‘n’ cookie-glue voice is remonstrative and persuasive, while the convincing twists of guitar add drama and compulsion. This reminds us of the sad grandeur of Tom Petty’s compositions.

Keith Elford
Keith Elford – “Afghanistan” is based upon the real-life experiences of his stepson…

English rock guitarist Mick Rogers (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band) plays the guitar on “Afghanistan” a song that’s based upon the real-life experiences of Keith’s stepson James’ first tour.

With its hearty and cheerful choral introduction, this is like a good bar song that’s overheard as you pass a tavern, but in reality it is a study about the futility of a war that can’t be won and, ultimately, the denunciation of unfathomable junkets.

Guitars froth and boil and the percussion is punctilious. This swings like a Bagram incense burner in an exedra. But when the smoulder dies away — it leaves a bitter taste.

It may not be surprising that there are consignment songs on this album that sound reconciled. So, aptly, “Dust and Water” spirals  earthbound and is suitably melancholic. The voice is poignant and dark as walnut smoke. There is a persuasive guitar solo and finesse  achieved in the detailed composition. This song symbolizes the mortality and elevation of this fine album.

Thank you to Keith and pals for their continued stewardship of Doug’s memory — this is an album to be proud of and it deserves a place alongside your collection that probably already includes discs from: The Traveling Wilburys, The Cars and Jackson Browne.

Land of the Living by Keith Elford and the Weekend Kings is OUT NOW

Link: https://www.facebook.com/KeithElfordWeekendKings/

Legendary Vocalist STEVE WHALLEY Live at Staines Riverside Club

Steve and “Tat” Whalley with Major Baldini at Riverside Club, Staines

Johnny Too Bad” is like a companion piece to “Johnny B. Goode”. The other side of human nature, if you will.

And this song ‘travels’ with each new musician, who all add something of their own to the number. So it grows like a river.

It was taught to Stevie by Taj Mahal. He tells the story of how he learned it from the great American blues musician whilst he was at Glastonbury in the 1980’s. Then he surrenders his passionate, angry / sad rendition to the Staines audience. It is filled with despair. Highly effective and passionate.

Walking down the road with a pistol in your waist / Johnny you’re too bad /

We were lucky enough to see Steve Whalley at the Staines Riverside Club this week.

Steve Whalley with son Tat (right) on bass guitar... Photo @neilmach 2015 ©
Steve Whalley with son Tat (right) on bass guitar… Photo @neilmach 2015 ©

Steve has previously performed at Staines.

When we last saw him, the show was (more or less),  a one-man effort. Steve was sitting on a stool. Fascinating, dynamic and serious.

This time, though, the showman appeared with his son Tat on bass guitar (Tat also plays bass with Danny Fontaine And The Horns Of Fury) and also with the über-talented Major Baldini on drums. This gave Steve a little more latitude to explore, choosing to be seated with his acoustic guitar for the first half of the set and then, for more spirited numbers, standing with mandolin & electric guitar, for the second half.

The ‘cabaret’ song ‘Easy Money’ was one of the attractions of the evening. This is about the unsuspected dangers of falling for an easy-living woman with love for sale. The sympathetic ballad ‘Rodeo Girl’ shone like glittering rhinestones and spurs. We also had covers of Springsteen and Dylan songs.

One of the most striking of these was Steve’s version of Dylan’sIsis’ taken from the ‘Desire’ album. This song is all about the folly of leaving love behind. You get the feeling that Steve is a man who copes — at times — with a heavy heart. He may well have left good love behind — one-or-twice. Whilst performing, the torment rarely leaves his face. Singing these songs is like telling a personal story, each one more harrowing than the last. He re-lives the discomfort each time. His face becomes animated with trouble. And every word is enunciated with barely controlled emotion.

Desire by Bob Dylan

It’s not all heavy, though. Steve can be humorous too. “We tell a few jokes….” He tells the audience with a wink. “We brought along some tumbelweed though… Just in case!

Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”  is played with a reggae rhythm. And is a favourite with the Thameside gathering. It’s just amazing, the sounds he can get out of those instruments!

Then we arrive, all too quickly, to the final part of the show. The rock ‘n’ roll. With classic Chuck Berry and “Johnny B. Goode”. This is the song that was shot into space on the Voyager Golden Record.

Those who neglected this concert from the Sad Café genius missed an opportunity to see one of the best R&B artists ever to visit Staines. For pure tension, musical integrity and master narrative, this was an unforgettable evening of music. In a very special place.

Images & Words: @neilmach 2015 ©

Link: https://www.facebook.com/Steve-Whalley-131358276973290/