The band that, at the very least, gets the prize for traveling the farthest is Henry’s Funeral Shoe from South Wales. You know they're British when they begin the set educating the audience about U.K. comedian Spike Milligan, an inspiration for Monty Python and later inspiration for the band's "Be Your Own Invention/Stranger Dig." The collection ends with the group's signature tune, appropriately called "Henry's Funeral Shoe."
Unifying this variety show is the consistently muddy sound of the recording, especially the vocals. But as the proceedings were intended to be small scale to begin with, one gets the feeling we're revisiting a weekend music fest circa 1966 when the amps, speakers, mics, and mixing board were minimalist, at least by 21st century standards. In fact, the sound quality borders on that of a decent bootleg. So it makes sense that, in addition to the usual CD and digital formats, Alive at the Deep Blues Fest is also available on black vinyl with mp3 download card & poster, not to mention a limited edition "BBQ sauce red" vinyl version.
One of those vinyl packages would be the way to go if you still have a turntable around to kick back and bathe in this abbreviated concert in old-fashioned analog. Seven bands makes for a mixed bag, but all are worthy of being heard beyond their already existing fan bases. My appetite was whetted to seek out studio releases from some of these guys like Radio Moscow, Henry's Funeral Shoe, Left Lane Cruiser, and Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires.
For some of us, Alive at the Deep Blues Fest is a bit of a flashback to weekends at the college where everyone was sitting on blankets and passing around aromatic cigarettes rather than sandwiches with barbecue sauce. For others, here's 1966 in an alternative universe updated to 2012.