Egypt? You’ve never ‘eard of ’em? There are more than one outfits with the name, but go to http://www.egypt-blues.co.uk for the lowdown on this particular group. If you think back to the days of the ‘blues-rock’ power trios, then you are pretty much there. At one time or another, Alan, Eric and Peter have been in The Groundhogs…you get the idea now?
So, once again, Egypt are in Ackworth. It is very rare that they make the trip to Yorkshire, as they tend to concentrate on the home market around East Anglia and continental Europe (where they are more appreciated). Last time we saw them in Castleford, Eric had 1 Les Paul, 1 pedal (Wah Wah) and 1 set of spare strings. No banks of pedals, effects, spare guitars. Today the number of guitars had increased though.
For openers, it’s the usual John Lee Hooker’s ‘Ride till you die’ , closely followed by ‘Smokestack Lightning’ . If you close your eyes, you could believe the ghost of Howlin’ Wolf had arrived. A couple of inevitable Groundhogs songs follow, ‘Eccentric Man’ and ‘Garden’ and we get an unusual version of ‘Maggie’s Farm’. Alan introduces Sonny Boy Williamson’s ‘Bring it on home’ (yes, the very same song that Led Zeppelin strangely credited as one of their own). Their own song ‘Midnight sun’ finishes an excellent first set.
A brief fag break and Eric, as usual, starts off the second set on his own. Bukka White’s ‘Fixing to die’ and ‘Robert Johnson’s ‘Walking Blues’ show what a great singer and player he is and Alan comes back on. We got another from the Led Zeppelin catalogue, then some more Groundhogs fare (‘Split parts 2 and 4’, and ‘Cherry Red’). Eric even finished off with some (tongue-in-cheek?) violin bow on his Les Paul. Something else that Jimmy Page seems to be credited as pioneering, despite The Creation’s Eddie Phillips having done it long before.
So why are this grizzled bunch of veterans playing here and not in bigger venues? Another of life’s unsolved mysteries. Alan is a master of his bass-playing trade. No flashy solos, no thumb-slapping Level 42 bollox, he just does the job. And Peter on drums must be wondering how a terminal dullard like Charlie Watts has amassed millions of pounds. And having seen the likes of Page, Beck, Clapton back in the 70s, I reckon if Eric could get a Tardis for Christmas, and go back a few decades, he would be spoken about with the same reverence.
They are ideal for music festivals such as Weyfest, Cambridge Rock Festival or even Cropredy, but they are rarely given the chance. It’s ages since they played at Butlins Rock n Blues weekend too. Check out their afore-mentioned website, and take a look at the Youtube links. If their gig list gives you the chance to go and see them, just do it!