Jimmy Regal And The Royals – First And Last Stop | Album Review

Jimmy Regal And The Royals – First And Last Stop

Lunaria Records


12 songs time – 43:01

A South London based blues-R&B trio. Fun fact-There is no Jimmy Regal, but there are three talented musicians that get along with some outside helpers. Joff Watkins is the lead vocalist, harmonica player extraordinaire and sometime guitarist. He contributes a commanding vocal performance and is a top-of-the-line harmonica player. His harp playing is as aggressive as it is creative. CJ Williams handles guitar, bass and lap steel, while Sammy Samuels is the drummer, percussionist and background vocalist. The songwriting is a product of various configurations of the trio. Their creativity and variety of musical approaches is a thing of wonderment. They intertwine elements of blues, R&B and a touch of classy jazz.

Joff digs right in with his cocksure harmonica magic on “(Got To Make A) New Flame”, backed by rhythmic horns and CJ Williams on guitar. Joff’s slide guitar slithers and glides through the funky “Ain’t Done Yet” backed by the punchy horn section. Kind of a Creedence Clearwater vibe permeates “Can’t Keep Losing You”. Things mellow down easy in the slow and loose “Do Whatever You Can”. Watkin’s slide rides rough shod over a nasty rhythm guitar on “Empty Streets”. “Man, we are losing this town”.

The harmonica blasts over the tricky drum rhythm of “Show Time”. There is more of the same on the title track “The First And Last Stop”. Joff’s harp is faster than a locomotive on the instrumental “Mickey Two Suits”. Chris Rand adds sax to energetic “Bones To Dust”. “Fat Man’s Chicken” plays to a Bo Diddley Beat. “Never put your hand’s on a fat man’s chicken”. Joff is surely no one-trick pony on the harmonica as he goes full Toots Thielmanns on the instrumental “Elmer’s End Blues” that sports a truly lovely melody that could have been taken from a French movie. You really don’t want it to end.

No genre tag needed here. This is just robust music in the hands of masters. The three pieces combined with occasional help deliver a pleasing sound. All the players are excellent, but Joff’s harmonica skills rank up there with the best players of today. Fans of original and nuanced blues and R&B will garner hours of enjoyment here.