Barry Blues’ Diary is a regular feature here at The Blue Cafe, following the ups and downs of one of the most prominent figures in the Blues in the South of the UK. Barry Blues’ is the founder and owner of the Blues Barn, the home of a number of intimate gigs over the past 12 months. Barry Blues can be found on Instagram at @bluesbarn and can be contacted via The Blue Cafe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ok People, in this week’s Blues diary we talk about Ray and Yoka’s Acoustic Blues Barn gig. Ray and Yoka hail from Yoka and the Sugarbeats, which is usually a four piece band which would be too big for the Blues Barn, so they broke down to a duo. Not the usual gig for the barn as they will tell you they don’t do much blues – but what they do, do, is truly Magical.
They start off with self-penned songs that not only grip your heart but get hold of your soul, pull it out and rub it in the dirt. Any adult above 18 has had some type of heartache in their life and Yoka and Big Ray (as he’s affectionately known) have songs about it. At one point I turned around to look at more than one person with a little something in their eye, including me .
They done songs from their wonderful EP No Regrets, a true heart-wrenching 5 song masterpiece. On top of that, the covers they do are sublime like The Supremes “Stop in the Name of Love” but done so slow and with audience participation that your tears came out before the words and a version of summer time that was so laid back with a Sax solo, I felt I was on the banks of the Mississippi with my feet in the mud fishing for catfish..
On top of their musical talent Big Ray also makes his own guitars and brought some of his own nurtured from nature machines .. And they are the most friendliest of couples, chatting to my invited guests after and signed every CD they sold except mine..
One of the most beautiful moments of the gig for me was when I saw my grandson at the window of the barn watching Yoka singing intently, and she was smiling at him pure magical and my wife caught a fantastic photo of the moment.. So if you get a chance to see Yoka and Ray in any format – grab it by the throat and drag it to the ground… `
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