Single cover for ‘Try Me’ by YaDonna West and Hard Stairs

Last time I came across a questioning title like this, was when GA20 took on Hound Dog Taylor, well like they suggested then, “you might like it”. Its an EP, short and simple, not a shrunken Album, just 3 tracks, which features the gospel infused soul of YaDonna from New Orleans, dovetailed into the garage blues of Cheltenham’s Hard Stairs. A band I’ve unfortunately lost touch with since that unmentionable virus. They have grown from a manic, hard hitting duo to a manic hard hitting 4 piece band.

The opener has YaDonna’s stunning voice, calling out, ‘Try Me’, with a gentle, stripped bare blues riff from the band, but this is Hard Stairs, and their input is jacked up like a monster truck growling menacingly for a few bars, before YoDonna retakes control. A bit like the hot hatch drivers hammering around our city centres, then hitting the brakes hard, when they spot the yellow box to their left. ‘There is Something On Your Mind’, echoes the style of Etta James, the band are controlled, harp slips nicely in with piano, drums, and a gorgeous fat guitar solo, telling you the boys are still sat closely behind on their stairs. A lovely song by any measure.

The tempo gets down and dirty for a superb blues burner, ‘Hip Shakin’ Mama’. The band do the biz, behind a sassy YaDonna, its an infectious groove that you’ll all want to ride.

The vocals were laid down in Esplanade Studios, New Orleans, and The Hard Stairs burnt their collective mark at Sound Shack Studios, back home in Cheltenham. Three 50’s classics, reworked with technology undreamed of back at their inception, though its comforting to think that magnetic tape and vinyl have regained there rightful status.

This musical version of Beauty and The Beast can be found on Bandcamp from May 31st; meanwhile, I must reconnect with The Hard Stairs, Horsten and Martin, along with ‘newcomers’ Octavius on bass and DS#arp on harp, obviously! Try It, you will like it.

By: Graham Munn

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