Review – Ellie Hudson-Hopton, The Plymouth Evening Herald
AN ESTABLISHED and renowned part of the local blues scene, Ben has been around for many years, either with his band The Hot Rats or out playing solo as he’s doing tonight.
In busking style, he’s perched atop his beat box (otherwise known as a Cajon) with Dobro resonator steel guitar, made especially for him, and it’s quickly evident that he’s a master of his instrument.
Also incorporating a tambourine on one foot and operating the Cajon peddle with the other, his co-ordination and timing is a spot on while facilitating some upbeat and funky blues.
Ben doesn’t just play and sing the blues he’s living it, his love of the genre comes over with genuine sincerity as he incorporates a range of guitar styles from flat picking and slide whilst putting his own stamp on old numbers including Good Time tonight (Big Bill Boonzy) and Honey Suckle Rose, Ain’t Misbehaving (Fats Waller) before upping the tempo and switching to his cigar-box guitar and casting even more of his spell on us with some exceptional funky versions of Good Night Irene (Lead Belly) and Ready Willing and Able (Fats Domino) and Cat Fish Blues, I Just Wanna Make Love (Muddy Waters)
An extraordinarily talented bluesman, not only a joy to listen to but also interesting to watch, his style is mood lifting bringing old numbers to life and representing them to new audiences in a way that makes them sound fresh while he is careful to stay true to the original.
A truly underrated performer but he’s immensely happy doing what he loves and loving what he does.