Blue Art Studio

Although Nelsen has been playing the blues for a good number of years; he did not embark on a recording career until 1999 and so far his album tally is four. Here we have the third and fourth respectively. During his long and varied career Nelsen has on occasions, supported artists ranging from the late great Muddy Waters through to James Cotton, Matt ‘guitar’ Murphy and Johnny Winter.

As the years have progressed Nelsen’s style has evolved into an instrumentally rolling, easygoing New Orleans gait, which fits snugly into a warm and smooth vocally chocolate cocoon.

Both these albums display to great effect the homely, acoustic, intimate atmosphere that Nelsen obviously enjoys playing, with his extremely well gelled band, which consists of; John Duzik; bass, Ben Beckley; drums and on the superlative saxophone; Mark Norris (Jerry Wolfe; supplies a fruity trombone on  the album “Take Me Back”) . Nelsen himself not only takes lead vocals & guitar, but he also contributes to the proceedings a fat sounding Harmonica and trumpet.

The “Unplugged” album has an open, engagingly warm and cosy, ‘relaxing with friends, pull up a chair round the fire’ feel. The eight numbers here are a mixture of Nelsen originals and covers, which are; “Shake, Rattle & Roll / Honey Hush,”  “Backdoor Man” and “She Moves Me /Standin’ Round Cryin’.”

“Take Me Back” offers all of the above in a similar vein, but with a more of a professional, polished ‘on your toes approach,’ but, hugely inviting and thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless. Nelsen chooses eleven numbers here, in which to delight us with; again, a mixture of covers and self-penned originals. The covers here, being; “Big Mamou,” “Backyard Blues” and St.James Infirmary.” 

Both these albums are worthy of investigation.

Brian Hartman