The mid-life crisis is something that most men dread. From the hair loss to the exacerbated flatulence, right down to the strange impulses, it must be a pretty damn lousy time to exude testosterone. Then again, you could make like Andy Lester, and craft an album of no-frills blues-rock splendour.
Maybe I'm being a little generous, but this album - devoid of any unnecessary interference from meddling technology - is as good a modern British blues album as you're likely to hear in the coming years. Sure, Andy's not short of helping hands. To name but two, Andy is assisted throughout the album by rising blues chanteuse Katie Bradley, and the unsung hero of harmonica, Al Clarke.
The album starts on, arguably, its strongest track, "Sins of the Father". Jam nights at the pub never seemed this good. "Magic Girl", however, is a substantially weaker effort, both lyrically and musically. The jam night element of this CD is further exposed on "Down the Line" and this track is followed by the blues standard "Texas Walk", which, although enjoyable, suggests competence rather than talent. The album maintains a pleasant intertwining of blues, folk and country throughout, without falling into the trap of sounding like a hopeless compilation. By the way, if the sax-ridden swing of "Get Your Hands Dirty" doesn't have you dancing shamefully, you clearly haven't drunk enough. Hell, even the most tee-total individual will find themselves clapping their hands against their will.
This album is the end product of one man's experience adapted to song. Anyone but Andy Lester and this album would probably be tripe. Thankfully, this album is anything but. To any loving housewives who may be reading this (I'm led to believe there are hundreds), get this for your man this Christmas. He will not be disappointed. Available by worldwide mail order from CD Baby.