Totem - Kevin Borich
Kevin Borich's first release of new music in 13 years is a 72-minute serve of the guitarist's "blues funkin' rock" virtuosity, with a 35-minute bonus album of jazz and sound-scape riffs, minimum overdubs and lyrics improvisations. Production is honest-to-live gargantuan that, by turn, showcase Borich's sensibility, sensitivity, braggadocio and politico-social awareness.
Track 'Hang On' expresses a sense of wonderment at the complexity and - contradictions within each of us. There is roaring heavy metal thunder - 'Tie Me Up' is road warrior swagger, 'Won't Go Backwards' rails against an unfairly weighted legal system. There are roots blues - the tensile National steel guitar wail of 'Soap Box Bitchin Blues' and the frantic crank of the anti-fracking 'Another Freedom'. There is the raucously cheerful funk of 'Money' and the monster metal crush of 'Fight On 'that expresses Borich's recent fight against cancer. The rousing John Lee Hooker-style 'Lovin' Boogie' and the joyous groove of 'Get Outa Your Head' convey one of rock's primal messages: let's dance. The first disc closes with an urgent rendition of Borich's 1971 hit with the La De Das, 'Gonna See My Baby Tonight'. The second disc has just three tracks: 'Love Train' is a 14-minute jazzy jam where guitar and trumpet escalate from languid to frantic; 'Encounter' supposes that crop circles are extraterrestrial leads to a cosmic source of infinite energy; and Totem suggests that Borich may have tapped into that already.
Totem - Kevin Borich
Clocking in at close to an hour and a half, ‘Totem’ is a hefty work-out of groove-laden guitars and blues-funk boogie from Kiwi-born Kevin Borich. Showing influences that range from Muddy Waters to Lenny Kravitz and every devil-may-care guitar slinger in-between, it’s a refreshing contrast to the play-it-safe attitude of many of his peers.
With a career spanning back to the mid ’60s with The La De Das, Borich has long been touted as one of Australia’s greatest guitar virtuosos, but does much on this double-album to dispel any notions that he’s a guitarist first and songwriter second. Gonna See My Baby Tonight, Hang On and Get You Out Of My Head transcend mere guitar music and stand up with anything in Borich’s back catalogue, while show-stopper Dream Together grooves like Mark Knopfler fronting Cold Chisel.
Although he’s approaching his 66th birthday, ‘Totem’ is seldom reflective. There’s a political awareness to songs such as Another Freedom and Money that rarely descends into finger-pointing and never threatens to become too serious in nature.
This hard grooving blues-rock seldom breaks its trend of feel good, tongue-in-cheek fun. As disc two plays out, eery closer Encounter rattles away with a sense of spooky unease almost destructive of disc one’s sun-kissed vibe, making repeated listens fresh and intriguing, all the while uncovering hidden treasures.
Totem - Kevin Borich
Independent (double CD)
Totem - Kevin Borich
(Disc 1) Hang On; Tie Me To Ya; Stronghold; Won't Go Backwards; SoapBoxBitchinBlues; Money; Fight On; Dis-ease; She Can't Help It; Get Outta Your Head; Lovin' Boogie; Another Freedom; Dream Together; Gonna See My Baby Tonight - (Disc 2) Love Train; Motif; Encounter
Expat Kiwi and now Australian blues-rock icon, Kevin Borich, has gone independent, releasing his latest CD himself. It covers all the Borich bases, from full blooded rock guitar through to acoustic resonator blues. The album is recorded in Borich's own studio on the Sunshine Coast. But this is no amateur home recording studio job. Borich is a craftsman and the recording quality is as high as the musicianship.
The album really does show the breadth of Borich's performances. There are high energy rock pieces, like the first cut, "Hang On", with driving guitar and power riffs. Borich plays slide lead on his Gibson Firebird in "Stronghold", a strong side of Borich's playing.
The mood shifts on "SoapBoxBitchinBlues" to mainly acoustic, with upright bass, resonator slide and fellow Queenslander Doc Spann on harp. Borich wrings expression out of the National and duets well with Span.
"She Can't Help It" has a Stones vibe to it - the sort that fills the dance floor and a hook to sing along too, with driving slide lead. But " Get Outta Your Head" goes to another place entirely. Borich adopts a different vocal style, intoning rather than singing over a more experimental arrangement.
And by the time we get to Disc 2, this side of Borich is really to the fore. There are only three tracks, the first a dizzy 14+ minutes long. Borich reaches for a cleaner, SRV strat tone. But the structure is of intoning the lyrics, over a sweet backing, that's reminiscent of some of Hendix's later work. A horn player takes some of the lead, and they duet through the middle, sometimes in unison. This is powerful writing. "Fight On" uses a famous speech by John F Kennedy about secret societies, conspiracies, as its theme, commencing with Kennedy's own voice. A comment on modern democracies. "Encounter" continues in this vein, with voice over about crop circles, and atmospheric guitar and studio work.
So, an album in two parts. Disc 1 contains a number of familiar sounding rock tracks with Borich's inimitable guitar playing, and guaranteed to get the bar, stadium or your own back yard BBQ jumping. Disc 2, I for one will really enjoy with headphones and a single malt or two, and the deeper creative side to Borich. Kiwis just wish he'd come home to NZ a little more often, so we can enjoy his talents live!
'Kevin Borich from La De Das to Legend'
by GLENN A. BAKER
Kevin Borich is a magnificent musician ... and has always been. A guitarist's guitarist with a solid grounding in the blues who dispenses licks with a fiery passion. A generation of sixties and seventies air guitarists grew up with the Borich treatment of All Along The Watchtower and the affection for this man who becomes as one with his guitar has never left them. Over his long career there has been an inspiring honesty and dedication about Kevin; he's remained true to his understanding of rock's founding principles and his commitment to live performance. When he plugs in he roars and nobody in the room is left unaffected. Though a Kiwi Kevin is a mainstay of Oz Rock and it would be hard to imagine it without him. I think he was born to play.
Article written by Glenn A. Baker in The Heralds Sydney Magazine July 2004
Glenn A. Baker - 3 times winner of the BBC Rock Brain of the Universe competition, travel writer, regular television panelist, music journalist - story Rock of Ages - “I found this assignment not only a labour of love but also a welcome opportunity to catch up with a bunch of old buddies….As a brave young concert promoter in the 70’s I actually presented Kevin Borich’s La De Das at Paddington Town Hall….”
… Kevin Borich is still every inch the slashing, stylish axeman who has come to take you higher. Without a hint of parody, he struts the stage at major festivals in lace shirt, snakeskin pants and cocky stance, gleefully unleashing the credible, fluid licks that have accorded him the status of a legend. Borich, the iconic rock/blues guitarist who livened up the national Long Way To The Top tour with fiery renditions of his 1971 hit Gonna See My Baby Tonight, has a theory that music “keeps you young”. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Borich makes few concessions to the passage of time – although the mantra is now sex, fresh air and rock’n’roll.
Borich readily admits he wasn’t thinking of a 45 year career when he made his first recording at the age of 12 (with two girls next door) in Huapai, near Auckland. Nor when his garage band the La De Das blitzed the New Zealand pop charts in the mid ‘60s and then cut Australasia’s first rock opera, The Happy Prince,….Things took another turn for the better when a pared down version of the band became a hard rocking sensation in the early 70’s, packing out shows across Australia. By the 80’s he had five hit albums as the Kevin Borich Express and some more with those darlings of the northern beaches, the Party Boys, and collected a loyal audience that’s never really left him. “There was a song on my last CD called Saved By The Blues, about how the blues is never going to go away” he says. “I guess I’m not either. I’m very grateful I am still doing this because a lot of people I’ve worked with gave up. Playing, for me, is a joy. If I don’t go out for a few weeks I get an itch.”
On hand to scratch that creative itch are his children: 32-year-old son Lucius is a drummer who has played with Juice, Hanging Tree (with Doug Parkinson’s son Daniel) and now Cog. His daughter Jemma designs his album covers, while another daughter, Kobe, is studying theatre in London. With three younger children from his second marriage, the Borich music dynasty now seems assured. Although a new record deal is unlikely, Borich has become a crafty webmaster, using the internet to reach his audience directly. “The net has become the big shop in the sky for artists like me,” he says. “It’s helped us to stay out there”. Kevin Borich released his first solo album, Celebration, in March 1977.
Kevin Borich : Australian Rhythm & Blues
"Kevin Borich From Goons via Hendrix, To The Express" by Dave Ray - July 1997
Kevin Borich is recognised as one of Australia's best guitarists. In an illustrious career that began in the mid 60's with New Zealand's top band La-De-Das, KB has had many highlights. KB has appeared on more than 20 albums as a member of The La-De-Das, Kevin Borich Express, The Party Boys and various other sessions. In a recent interview KB gave an insight into his first recordings. "I grew up with The Goon Shows on radio. When my dad got me a tape recorder, I used to tape them. Most musos from my time would have been Goon Show fanatics. There were always a couple of the Goon's album in the record collection somewhere."
While listening to the radio, KB would discover one of his biggest influences. "We used to get BBC a lot. That's how I first got to hear Jimi Hendrix and The Small Faces playing live on BBC's Radio One. That show was happening with the latest stuff." In KB's opinion Hendrix would be as influential now as he was then.
"Hendrix was a hell of an influence, he came in and did things that people probably didn't get to dream about. There was never such a far out character, for his lyrics and naturally his playing which is the first thing that grabs you. It was so far ahead of its time. If he landed right now and did the same thing, he would be just as big. He played a timeless type of music."
In his 30 plus year career, KB has played in many settings. He recalls some were very memorable. "One of my biggest memories was sharing the stage with Carlos Santana at Calder Raceway in front of 60,000 people. We opened the show just before Santana, and Carlos must have heard it. We were watching Santana and he called me out on stage. I played one song. It was amazing. The other occasion was a dream, playing with Bo Diddley. I ended up jamming with him in Australia. It was like a childhood dream, here's the guy that turned me on when I was a kid. He was right there beside me."
Bo Diddley was one of KB's earliest mentors. "When I first heard Bo Diddley, I was very young. Hearing that Bumpa-Bumpa rhythm, it sounded very jungle, not like anything you ever heard before. That beat was his thing, very exciting and very tribal. I thought that he was bloody great." KB's greatest love will always be rock and roll. "I first heard rock and roll in the movie Rock Around The Clock. Little Richard and Fats Domino first turned me on to that music. No guitar in sight! Basically, the rock and roll disease got into my veins, I dug Elvis and Dion's The Wanderer. These were songs on the radio that I could hear. I used to like a lot of Top 40."
KB's interest in the guitar came after he tried his hand at another musical instrument. "I had a go at the cornet which was a disaster. I was going to be in the local brass band until I realised that I had to read music. I was playing along with the band, then one day we had to play solo. I had been faking it. When they got me by myself, I was stuffed. That was much to the family dog's glee."
It was during KB's stint with th La-De-Das that he got into blues and became more interested in guitar techniques. "The La-De-Das started doing a lot of Motown and Top 40 covers. Then we got into John Mayall and the Rolling Stones which was basically playing blues, white man's blues. That's how I got into blues and more into guitar playing, when I heard Clapton and then Hendrix came along. We got into blues through the English. They educated the whole world as far as blues goes."
The La-De-Das came to Australia as a five piece, eventually leaving KB with a trio that became Kevin Borich Express. "It was like ten little Indians, everyone left over the years. We started together pretty young, so naturally when you get into your 20's, get your own ideas. We split up, everyone left and there I was with the name La-De-Das. I did Rock And Roll Sandwich as the La-De-Das, but it is basically the first Kevin Borich Express album. KB's life is his music. "Touring that's how I've made my living out of music. There are a lot of negatives you have to put up with and you have to do a bit of hard yakka. I love doing what I do."
Dave Ray "Blues Avalanche"from 10pm on 3PBS-FM 106.7
Thanks to Highway 49
REVIEWS FOR HEARTSTARTER CD
KB CD888 2
playing time: 58mins
"..Brilliant...You wouldn't expect anything less from Kevin Borich..." Rhythms Magazine - John Bates
Sydney Blues Times - Gary deWall
All the KB trademarks are there, great power chords and slide, plenty of waa-waa and lots of other guitar pyrotechnics. He's in fine voice, his vocals sometimes sung, at other times spoken and snarling. When trying to describe someones music, there always the temptation to make comparisons with other artists, but to me KB doesn't sound like anyone else, at least no one I'm familiar with.
The CD contains 10 KB originals, some in collaboration with HB (Harry Brus, the bassman). There are also 3 covers, one of a song by someone called Banjo Patterson! (Is that like Guitar Junior, Harmonica Floyd, and Piano Smith?) The title track kicks the album off, with KB and his guitar both snarling away to set the tone for the majority of the numbers. Harry Brus (bass) and John Annas (drums) lay down their typical heavy, rock steady rhythms to keep the whole thing thundering along. But right in the middle of kilowatt territory, we come across "Legs Too Long", an acoustic number with Kevin on resonator. Then its back to full power for a couple of songs before "Saved By The Blues, a quiet, slow, dare I say pretty blues, with Clayton Doley on Hammond. Then back into it for the rest of the trip. KBs son, Lucius, joins the fray for a couple of numbers, including the old Sandy Nelson hit, Let There Be Drums. The standout tracks for my money are Mink Deville's Caddilac Walk, and KB s Heavyweight Boogie , a Boogie Chillun style number which pays homage to some great boogie- men, and of course the final track, a high power slide version of Waltzing Matilda , complete with didgeridoo.
The overall result is an album of powerful, unique, Aussie blues-rock.
If you like your blues heavy and loud, get this CD - its a real heart starter!
Bluesrockers Reviewer- Tom Branson
I must confess to being very partial to blues/rock music from Australia.
With players like Dave Hole, Rob Tognoni, Tim Gaze, and many others, Australia is somewhat of a hot bed for great blues/rock bands. Their style generally leans more toward the rock side of the genre but the underlying influence of the blues is unmistakable.
For the past 30 years, Kevin Borich has carved himself a spot into Australian music history. From his early days in New Zealand with the band the LA DE DA'S though his present day Kevin Borich Express, Borich has played before some of the largest crowds and with some of the greatest recording artists to ever grace the Australian music scene.
"Heart Starter" is the latest self-produced effort from the Kevin Borich Express.
It is a collection of mostly Borich originals, demonstrating his skills as both recording artist and writer. Though predominately a rock recording, "Heart Starter" is laced with plenty of blues flavor. I particularly enjoyed the incredibly powerful "Strange Imagination" which to me typifies the entire Kevin Borich package: strong playing, excellent original material, and solid vocals. There is something here for every listener: wah-wah, some nasty acoustic and electric slide, hard rock, and gut wrenching blues. There is even a very nice and extremely clean sounding boogie tune "JL's Heavyweight Boogie", which is a sort of musical history of boogie music. The finale is a short version of the famous song "Matilda" featuring Borich on electric slide opposite an Australian didjeridoo. I would say that this is about as diverse as one can get.
"Heart Starter" and also a 2 CD set "Live at the Big Kahuna" are available through the Kevin Borich web site. I bought mine through the site and was treated well by very nice people.
I once asked an Australian friend of mine about Kevin Borich and his description to me was "first class". My experience with both Kevin Borich's music and his web site have caused me to echo his sentiments.
Jackie Heard - Blues By The Bay - Bay FM Brisbane Queensland - Australia
Another fantastic independant release from one of the fathers of Australian blues rock - Kevin Borich. The album that comes in just under an hour leans towards rock with a definite underlying blues heart and soul. Once your on track 1 and hear the deep growl of the instinctive Kevin Borich vocals charged with the emotionally expressive guitar solo's you know you're in for one helluva ride. Harry Brus on bass and John Annas on drums provide a solid heavy rock backdrop for the scintilating fretwork from Borich, in the rockin' "Cadillac Walk" and the slow groovin' "Saved By The Blues".
Hard Rock mixed in with some slow moving blues tunes, acoustic, slide and a didgereedoo number to boot, this is definitive Australian Blues Rock at it best.
Play it loud!
The Newcastle Post - TE - Sarah Allport December 29, 2001
IT'S not often an artist continues to make albums and perform live after more than 30 years in the business but Kevin Borich is one of the few exceptions.
The renowned guitarist has played with some of the most talented musicians in the world, including Santana, and was a support act for Elton John and Status Quo.
But Borich is not just a support act or special guest.
He has had an impressive career in his own right, stemming from his beginnings with New Zealand band La-De-Das. The La-De-Das recorded more than 20 albums and survived the transition from the '60s to the '70s. They eventually split, leaving Borich as a solo artist.
He then formed a three-piece band called The Kevin Borich Express, featuring John Annas on drums and Harry Brus on bass, two of the most respected musicians in Australia.
Not only has Kevin Borich endured the changes in society but his music has remained fresh. Borich uses an old 1930s National Steel Acoustic guitar to add variety to the show.
Borich has not only made good music, he has set the standard for other guitarists.
After the Rockarena in 1977 at Calder Park Raceway, during which Santana invited Borich onstage to jam, Santana said Borich was one of the best guitarists he had ever played with. His latest album Heart Starter again showcases Borich's talent that Santana spoke of.
REVIEWS FOR LIVE AT THE BIG KAHUNA CD
Vol 1 KB CD666 2 + Vol 2 KB CD777 2
double live CD
RHYTHMS - Tony Hillier
Kevin Borich, Kiwi-made-good, erstwhile chart buster with the La De Das and the Party Boys, is also one of the most accomplished bottleneck/dobro and electric blues guitar players in Australia. So, its quite an indictment on the domestic record business that he's decided to go it alone. Live at the Big Kahuna is a "totally self- funded" two volume CD set, recorded at the Chullora Palms Hotel, and only available from Borich. What you see is what you get - i.e. a totally honest, earthy live recording, warts et al: just Kev plus rhythm section and a couple of strictly limited guest appearances. The CDs have their own seperate identity. I have to confess a bias for Volume One, mainly because it features our hero on an instrument "made in heaven", the National Steel guitar. Borich plays it beautifully - and on 'Recession Blues', he even gets to rejoice in the fact ("Thank God my National's holding Up"), he sings with real conviction). On other solo 'tours de force' he gets to 'Dust My Broom' a la Taj Mahal, 'Beatin My Heart' and 'Boogie'. With the help of a lusty rhythm section, namely drummer John Annas and bassman Ian Lees, Kevin dusts off the classic 'Little Red Rooster' (Rod Stewarts's first s ingle), simmers then boils on 'High Temperature'and rawks (n'rawls) - with some help from a guest harpist - on 'Rollin & Tumbling'.
Volume 2 of Live at the Big Kahuna features our man on the electric guitar, an instrument he handles with equal aplomb. Borich takes us through pop ('I'm Together') noo awlans gumbo ('300Pounds of Heavenly Joy') folk-rock ('Cuckoo') R&B ('Slinky') rocky blues ('King Bee', 'Bell Hop Blues' etc)and spaced out blues ('Rescue Dream'). 'Sticks & Stones', my pick of the side, is a wonderfully rollicking R&B romp, with an inspired fiddle solo (from AdrianK).
Order a copy of Kahuna from Kev "cos he promises to do it right by you".
Beat Sydney Listing Bible - Julia X Janicky
The Blues had a baby and they called it Rock n Roll!
Rock n Roll had a baby and they called it Kevin Borich!’
Master Blues maestro Kevin Borich lives up to his glory days of recognition as Australia’s hottest guitarist with an awakening of his own. Its been some time since his last release, the classic ”Angels Hand”, but now he’s back and “Goin Some-where”. He’s been cruising the continent in traditional Australian Rock n Roll circuit style, endlessly, tirelessly - in the blood. A compilation CD "Kevin Borich - Collection" has been released which shows how timeless and original he is.
Now with the release of the BIG KAHUNA we enter the realm of Kevins soul- filled rockin blues LIVE and powerful - it’s awesome! When this man Rocks the Blues it’s magic, each track he takes on, he makes the lyrics his own.
The Big Guns on BIG KAHUNA with KB are John Annas drums, Ian Lees bass, as he sticks to his pedigree trade-mark 3 piece lineup, adding 2 guest tracks. Comprising 22 tracks, half of which are previously unreleased, together with some favorites, this treasure trove of guaranteed toe toetappers will boil your blood with contagious throbbing rhythms and it’s relentless energy level. All this .......with a warmth and quality rarely found.
Tom Branson - got the blues .com Reviewer
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and if indeed that is true, then surely Stevie Ray and Hendrix must be among the most flattered guitarists of all time. These two giants are consistently listed as influences among the majority of artists whose material I consider for review. Each has a considerable number of disciples laboring out in the blues and blues/rock trenches, and though each drew from his own particular influences they each developed a signature sound that would attract the ear of many a young fret wizard. I would consider this, along with the body of excellent work that each recorded, as a true testimonial to their respective greatness. Though I have spent a good many years researching artists from all over the world, my regular readers realize that I am an especially big fan of Australian blues/rock music. I recently purchased a copy of Gwyn Ashton's new release "Fang It" to consider for review and it was actually the first song on Ashton's CD that inspired me to write this review, as from the first few bars of the song I recognized the influence of the great Australian blues/rocker Kevin Borich.
Borich has for the past 30 years played with some of the greatest names in blues and blues/rock and before some of the largest audiences ever assembled in Australia. His influence has been cited by many Australian artists, including Aston, who have been drawn by both his guitar prowess as well as original sound.
"Live at the Big Kahuna" is a 2 disc set which features the multi-talented Borich at his very best. The first disc is an acoustic set which showcases Borich's outstanding talents using the National Steel both with and without a slide, backed by the absolutely first class rhythm section of John Annas on drums and Ian Less on bass. The recording is a mixture of Borich original material with some timeless classics, including "Dust My Broom", "Rollin' and Tumblin'", and "Little Red Rooster". A couple of tracks, "Recession Blues" and "Boogie", are Kevin Borich and his guitar alone, and both are extremely enjoyable.
Please note that an acoustic live set has to be pretty good to hold my attention throughout its entirety and this one does not lose steam at any point. My favorites here are Borich's version of "Little Red Rooster", the slide laced "Back Door Man", and the powerful "Angels Hand".
For disc number 2, Borich straps on the electric and he and company proceed to slide and wah-wah their way through another excellent set of 11 tracks. Again, these are a mixture of originals along with a cover or two, highlighted by songs like "Slinky", "King Bee", "Bell Hop Blues" and my personal favorite "Rescue Dream" (love that wah-wah). Some tracks are more rock than blues, other more blues than rock, but whatever the case, each is a solid effort.
The sound quality of this recording is amazingly good and Borich is a very polished and professional performer. His ease of playing and singing have no doubt come from his years of experience before live audiences and his personal charisma is most evident. It certainly sounds as if he truly enjoys doing this for a living.
Oh, yes, and best of all, he sounds exactly like Kevin Borich.
You know, the original is always hard to beat.
REVIEWS FOR ONE NIGHT JAMM CD
Lucius Borich and Ben Rosen
with Wendy Saddington
and Ross Wilson
KB CD999 2
Stormy Tuesday - Helen Farly
If you’ve ever seen Kevin Borich live you can’t help but be moved by the passion and intensity of his playing and performance, whether he’s sliding with his resonator or inducing his glittering, black Strat to scream and wail.
We were fortunate enough to see the Kevin Borich Express here recently with the youthful, rhythm section of Ben Rosen (bass) and Lucius Borich (drums) and it’s this line-up we hear on One Night Jamm. The Express are also joined by Australian legend Ross Wilson (Daddy Cool, Mondo Rock) and Chain founder Wendy Saddington. One Night Jamm features 11 spirited tracks.
Kev starts the album on his resonator and is joined by Ross Wilson on the Little Walter track High Temperature and Rollin’ and Tumblin’. From there Wendy takes over lead vocal responsibilities and Kev picks up his electric guitar. Though there’s no denying the awesome power of Wendy’s vocals, it took a little while for me to get my head around the material, heavily laden with messages of social responsibility, but persevere the effort is well worth while. No Soul, a new song from Ross, has the feel of a rock anthem augmented by Kev’s brutal fretwork. The album finishes with Got My Number, a six-minute epic from Kev driven by the rhythms of Ben and Lucius.
This is Kev as we love him best – fired up at the end of a long night, adrenalin coursing and sparks flying. One Night Jamm comes in at just under 70minutes and is a worthy addition to the Kevin Borich Express catalogue. It captures all the spontaneity and atmosphere of a live Express performance.
MILESAGO - Duncan Kimball
I saw KBE at Hornsby Inn on Saturday night. Just brilliant. First set was semi-acoustic, with Kev on Dobro. A beauty.
Second set was electric, and included (yummm) Gonna See My Baby Tonight and Morning Good Morning. Easy to forget what a killer this guy is til you seem him in full flight. Not a great crowd, regrettably, but Kev gave it 100% and really burned up on lead in the second set, plus some beautiful slide work in the first set. Kudos also to bassist Ben Rosen( a very fine player) and substitute drummer Mark Mansfield, who did great work, expecially considering it was his first time playing with them.
(Their regular drummer is Kev's son Lucius, whose own band Cog had an clashing booking that night). Mark's CV isn't known to me but he was damn good. Kev closed the electric set with a storming version of Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile" (which segued beautifully into a jam on James Brown's "Sex Machine"!) Awesome.
I was also knocked out to discover that Kev still owns and uses the cherry-red Gibson SG that he played with the La De Das, which is pictured on Kev's website and in the pic on our own La De Das page on MILESAGO, where he is playing it at Sunbury.
Amazing it survived!
I also heartily recommend KBE's One Night Jamm, which is available from the same source - ask Jennifer! (A very nice lady!) It features both Ross Wilson AND a long-overdue return by the great Wendy Saddington (whose voice, while sounding a little the worse for wear, can still send shivers up your spine).
A great mix of acoustic and electric stuff, including some blues standards with Ross on harp, some new songs sung by Wendy, and a specially- written newie by The Boss. This gig was doubly historic, being the FIRST TIME Ross and Kev had ever played
together! Go get it.
Tony Southwell - Canberra
KB in Canberra - what a fantastic show with the Kevin Borich Express at the Irish Club on the 5th of December. Kevin,Harry & Mark had a great time, the crowd was excellent. One comment to me from a member of the audience when Kev was into some Hendrix, was " I'm probably the only person here that saw Hendrix live and it wasn't this good". We will be getting KB back real soon to blow us all away again with his amazing show, maybe with some special guests.
Rob Baillie - MC Blues venue Gympie Muster
The Blues Venue at the Gympie Muster was packed to capacity for all three appearances by Kevin Borich. They had come to see a master perform and he did not let them down.
Kevin is a special kind of performer known as a ‘Musicians Musician’, and this was brought home to me by the number of other artists backstage as enthralled by his musicianship as the audience. It is little wonder that world class artists have enjoyed jamming with him over the years. He thrilled them all with a call-and-answer break [commonly called duelling] with notable harmonica player Doc Span, each echoing and enlarging on one anothers riffs. I was so impressed with his performances that I showcased his album ‘Heartstarter’ on my program ‘Spoonful’ on Noosa’s FM101.3 the very next night and have played tracks on most programs since. It is a great album with mostly original tracks, including a heartfelt, slow blues number called ‘Saved by the Blues’ which I love.I sincerely recommend seeing Kevin live whenever you can, but make sure you have ‘Heartstarter’ or any of his previous great albums in your collection.
Kevin Borich : Australian Rhythm & Blues
by Greg Phillips - Autumn 1999
My old, perhaps outdated Oxford school dictionary defines success as the attainment of one's object; prosperous result; person or thing that turns out well.
While newer dictionaries are certain to contain more eloquent explanations of success, for me the dusty blue tome puts Kevin Borich's music career squarely into perspective. Sure he's not rich, nor does he belong to a major record company anymore but the fact that he's survived three decades in an industry as tough as the music business, kept his marbles, his chops and still has a loyal, eager following hanging out for the next KB Express to steam-roll through their town means that things have turned out alright. Of course survival hasn't come automatically, it's taken many years of performing endless high energy blues-rock shows around Australia building a following, and also having to adapt to new situations as they present themselves.
By recording and distributing his own Cds, to his own audience, KB has been able to continue to do what he does best. His extensive fan database allows him to communicate direct with his audience informing them of whatever new project is in the wind.
"The pros of not belonging to a major label are that you don't get told what to do. You produce what you like. You go straight to people who come to see you play and you make more money per unit. You've got a relationship with your audience. One of the cons I guess is that you don't get big publicity or much help. You have to lug the stuff around yourself and act like a bit of a side show, you know... 'roll up, roll up'."
One regular KB initiative which has been hugely successful is a gig on a boat on Sydney Harbour which attracts hundreds of Borich disciples. Another avenue of promotion which never existed a couple of decades ago is the corporate function. Borich has enjoyed travelling to the other side of the world to please home sick Australian business people.
"Actually the corporate gig is a great one. I did a great one with the Party Boys in China, one in Shanghai and one in Hong Kong. But they think I'm too wild. I tell them I'm older than them."
If you're interested in a Sydney Harbour boat cruise with Kev, just contact him to register your interest.
The longevity of Kevin's career owes a lot to the fact that his music is blues based. Many other bands from the seventies or eighties could never (or shouldn't ) contemplate revival as much of the music was intrinsically linked to the fashion culture of the day. Borich however is able to hold his head high when he looks back through his catalogue.
"I'm quite proud of it. We are getting our back catalogue together. We're remastering stuff. There are a few cringey ones that won't make it. But people still call out for a lot of the older ones, it's amazing how many are really into it and it makes you feel good."
Borich has been pretty happy with his tools of trade for some time now. The Fender Strat, Gibson Firebird (for the slide tunes) through a Marshall or Fender twin have been reliable friends. He's aware of the technological in-roads being made with amps and effects but unfortunately never gets to try new things out.
"There's enough out there isn't there! It would be nice to be able to go into a shop and try them all out, but you never try them out properly until you use them at a gig. I haven't really tried a lot of the new amps. It would be good to though. It's a matter of being at the right place at the right time when they've got them all there to compare them. There is some really incredible stuff being made. The vintage thing's gone berserk."
Borich is not adverse to computer technology either having owned an Atari at a stage when they were a relatively new music tool.
"Unfortunately the power supply burnt. But the musos really got into them didn't they, I suppose because of the SMPTE thing. I wrote all these things, these piano bits and I thought aren't I great, aren't I a great piano player when you speed me up. But it's very personal and I was always looking for the guys to have a bit of fun. A few things I wrote by accident, just mistakes that grew."
Borich's latest independant release is Heartstarter , which features the same familiar passionate and powerful playing on 13 new tracks. One track in particular, Saved By The Blues , is destined to become a KB standard.
"I'm proud of that one. That was a sound-check thing, a chord progression. I hadn't used a major 7th in a blues pattern before. So I'm happy to have done that. The reason for the song was hard. I married the idea of being rescued by the blues as far as how the rock scene died and the blues scene sort of picked us up. Before we were rock artists and I'd be playing a bit of blues in there, Red Rooster and a few other things. But it wasn't a blues band and there weren't any blues festivals, it was all rock. So the blues scene has stayed and the rock scene has died so we're essentially saved by the blues. Then its also a personal thing as well. It's turned out great. Because it's in major 7th there's a slant on the guitar lines that you can play that I hadn't been involved with before, not being a Schooled musician. Different patterns and notes that I'm used to."
Do you wish you had been a schooled musician and learnt properly because many people would say you're a great player anyway?
"Yeh, but you've always got this thing inside you that you don't really know what the hell's goin on! (Laughs). It's all magic. It would be nice to be able to dissect it. I'm pretty happy with the way things have gone. I've got friends who have got kids learning guitar and they are really learning how to read and can do just about anything. A friend's kid has got the lot, he's got the feel, he can read and write. He wrote one of my songs out and I thought, hey, let's get together and do a whole book."
Kevin is currently in the process of moving further north and is keen to finish building his new studio. He learned a lot from the recording of Heartstarter and will further refine his newly found studio nouse on future KB projects. For his live shows he's been flicking through the back catalogue and dusting down some long forgotten classics. I suggested that 'The Place' off the La De Das 'Rock'n Roll Sandwich' album deserved a more regular workout.
"That's a big one that people ask for and we have done it, but not lately. I was actually going to do it for the Live Kahuna CD because of people asking and we did do it, but we didn't do it good enough. It was the only track I left off. I wanted it to be really good and it wasn't quite makin' it. But I'll have another go."