Hector Qirko Band | Old School

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Blues: Electric Blues Blues: Acoustic Blues Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Old School

by Hector Qirko Band

In its fifth CD release, the HQ Band gets back to the basics with a relaxed and intimate session of blues and related styles. This one is straight from the heart.
Genre: Blues: Electric Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Best Friend
3:25 $0.99
2. I Don't Care No More
6:33 $0.99
3. Don't Wait Too Long
3:22 $0.99
4. Blues De Ma Negresse
4:22 $0.99
5. Singing The Blues
3:42 $0.99
6. Sister Kate
4:13 $0.99
7. Pernie
4:25 $0.99
8. Still Alive
3:13 $0.99
9. Whiskey In The Morning
2:26 $0.99
10. You Let Me Down
3:49 $0.99
11. Miss Olivia Kirkwood Sings Sister Kate
1:42 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Raised in several countries in South America, came of age musically in the Chicago blues scene, working with Blues Hall-of-Famer Lonnie Brooks. After moving to Knoxville, Tennessee, joined Terry Hill's Balboa, which worked out of the NYC area for several years and was voted one of Knoxville's Best Bands Ever. Worked on TNN's "I-40 Paradise" and "Pickin’ at the Paradise" music television series, performing with hundreds of country, pop and Americana artists. Formed the hqband, which won over a dozen Best of Knoxville awards and released 5 recordings. For many years (and still, when possible) toured and recorded with R.B. Morris, whom Lucinda Williams has called the greatest "unknown" songwriter in the country; was (and remains) a member of the regional swing and honky-tonk institution Lonesome Coyotes; and with Terry Hill formed the fictional band UWP. A recent solo recording, Field Notes, follows his 2007 all-acoustic release Wherever You Go. Now living in Charleston, South Carolina, performing solo, with fellow East Tennessee ex-pat Kevin Crothers and various imaginary bands, periodic Lonesome Coyote gigs, and sitting in with Roger Bellow's Drifting Troubadours whenever they'll allow.

Bluegrass Unlimited: "The songs are refreshing in that they offer something much deeper than just another rehashing of standard bluegrass warhorses."

Blues Revue: "Qirko and company's commitment to each note is unmistakable."

Metro Pulse: "Qirko never fakes the funk."



to write a review

Richard Fraser

Old School
Robert pretty much said it all. This is a very fine album from one of our best pickers/singers/composers, supported by three very talented musicians. The extra track featuring Miss Olivia Kirkwood is a pleasing and unexpected bonus. Her voice is hauntingly familiar, but a search through my archives failed to turn up any other recordings.

Robert Leslie

Old School - Hector Qirko Band
Knoxville, Tennessee's Hector Qirko is a brilliantly versatile guitar player with a voice the recording mic loves. He can turn his hand to anything from electronic space rock to downhome bluegrass fancy picking. There are a few of these guys around but usually their eclecticism overpowers their ear leading to bland-out or musical minestrone. Not so with our Hector Q. Whatever he brings in from left-field, it’s always just enough to keep things tasty; tasteful is the man’s middle name. On Old School, as the name implies, he’s going back to his bluesy roots but, being HQ, he smuggles in little bits of everything from Jelly Roll Morton to Van the Man with a garnish of late 40s/early 50s jazz. He’s also an excellent songwriter: 6 tracks on the album are his and a further song, I Don’t Care No More, is a co-write with Mike McGee.
He doesn’t make it easy on himself however as he has to meet and match the mighty talents of saxophonist Dirk Weddington whose versatility and power are a joy to listen to. They say that they call them saxophonists because they get “sax oftenest”. If his talent is the measure of that, Dirk must be beating them off with his reed (I was going to say his 2½” reed, but you might have got the wrong idea). Jim Williams, on bass, and Steve Brown, on drums, provide the kind of solid, sympathetic backing most band frontmen can only dream about. This is one formidable band.
Opening with Best Friend, Hector’s vocals and guitar are very reminiscent of Peter Green at the top of his game; a real driver of a blues and a powerful vocal performance. I Don’t Care No More is what Muddy Waters might have written if that Mannish Boy had experienced a moment of doubt at three in the morning – the assertiveness replaced by a wry acknowledgment that you can’t win ‘em all. Dirk Weddington has a ball on this playing a sax solo to tear your heart out.
Don’t Wait Too Long takes the band away from a straight blues format into Van Morrison territory – and this is certainly better than a lot of Van the Man’s recent self-penned output. Qirko’s solo is beautifully melodic and perfectly complements a nicely relaxed but emotional vocal. A bravura bottleneck performance overlays Clifton Chenier’s Creole classic Blues De Ma Negresse with a Chicago urban feel; this is followed by a slow-time Singing The Blues mixing influences from Jelly Roll Morton to Coleman Hawkins – notable again for Weddington’s smoky sax.
The band takes us back to the 1920s for a down-and-dirty version of Clarence Williams’ and Armand Piron’s (I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My) Sister Kate, the old trad classic. Pernie is another eclectic instrumental in which 1950s sax wails over bluesy slide and jazzy rhythm guitars – perfect late-night listening. Still Alive is a 12-bar-ish duel between straight and slide guitars – this time acoustic – with a Randy Newmanesque vocal binding this cheerful affirmation together.
Whiskey In The Morning, a straight Chicago-flavoured blues with a pulsing train rhythm, riffs on the bass notes while the slide soars. The nearest thing it reminds me of tonally is the Band’s version of Who Do You Love? in the Last Waltz concert. You Let Me Down is a Hector Qirko tour de force of multitracking as he sings and plays us gently into a wistful finger-picked acoustic blues before sweet guitar overlays build the emotion leading into warm harmony soloing and a slide counterpoint.
The album finishes with an apparently glass-clinking, smoking rowdy night-club reprise of Sister Kate – this time sung by a Miss Olivia Kirkwood. Now I have no idea who La Kirkwood is but she can belt ‘em like Bessie Smith and that’s good enough for me! My only crit is that it fades out a tad too quickly; she’s a keeper!

Rikki Donachie

Loved it!
I agree with the previous reviews - Robert has pretty much said it all. I have never heard \"Shimmy Like My Sister Kate\" played so slowly and with such mean and dirty sax - a wonderful version of an old standard and who is Miss Olivia Kirkwood? What a fantastic voice she has. It was a great pity that the track faded out so quickly. On the slower numbers Hector Qirko reminded me a lot of J J Cale, which is no bad thing. I would love to see this outfit live - they sound like they would put on a great show.