Turn back the clocks ten years, and US-based rock and soul outfit Vintage Trouble was riding high on the crest of a wave catalysed by the release of their debut album ‘The Bomb Shelter Sessions’ and a now legendary appearance on Later with Jools Holland on the BBC. The latter triggered the start of a love affair between the UK and the California based quartet, which kept the band on our British shores for the best part of 2011.
Despite its success, ‘The Bomb Shelter Sessions’ was never meant to be an actual album; but rather demos that the group could sell at their shows. Produced on a modest budget (not much more than pizza and beers), ‘The Bomb Shelter Sessions’ captured a special time in the early days of the band’s career.
Shortly after their debut release, Vintage Trouble went into the studio to record what they intended to be their sophomore album. The band laid down many live favourites. However, for one reason or another, the album never came to fruition. Subsequently, the group unveiled a different second album via their first major-label release, ‘1 Hopeful Rd’. The latter was recorded under the auspices of Don Was and Blue Note/Universal Records.
For many years, the question has been asked of the band, what happened to those elusive early recordings? Well, after a decade, the wait is almost over. On October 15th, Vintage Trouble will finally release a new album, ‘Juke Joint Gems’ – a collection of songs from the band’s early recording sessions featuring a whole raft of previously unreleased rarities and live favourites from a decade gone by. The tracklisting on the album features everything that the band’s fans – “The Troublemakers” would hope to find on an album dating from this era.
The inclusion of the old favourite, “World’s Got To Take A Turnaround”, feels even more relevant now than it did when it was first composed. Furthermore, tracks such as “Let It Not Be So” and “Lover Leave Me Be” are so rare and highly sought after that they were only performed on a handful of occasions in the UK. Whilst the likes of “24-7-365 Satisfaction Man”, “Get It”, and “You Saved Me” are enough to wistfully transport any of the band’s loyal fanbase back to those memorable nights when the group first arrived in the UK.
Vintage Trouble walks a fine line between blues, rock, and soul music. The group’s versatility has allowed them to perform alongside artists as diverse as AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Gov’t Mule, Lenny Kravitz, Joss Stone, Paloma Faith, along with a whole lot more. Vintage Trouble has been described as “Live wired, straight shootin’, dirty mouth’d, pelvis pushing juke music”, and the inclusion of songs such as “Red Handed” and “Low Down Dirty Dog” are a testament to this.
Whilst the band’s sound may have evolved over the last decade, ‘Juke Joint Gems’ is Vintage Trouble at their rawest. This long-awaited collection of songs provides the missing link between ‘The Bomb Shelter Sessions’ and ‘1 Hopeful Rd’. The release may be nostalgic for some and new for others, but most importantly, ‘Juke Joint Gems’ is incredibly enjoyable for all from start to finish.
‘Juke Joint Gems’ by Vintage Trouble will be released digitally on all platforms on Oct 15th 2021.