Ralph de Jongh in Vanslag

Ralph de Jongh held his album presentation last Saturday in the Vanslag church in Borger, a terrific stage where Ralph and his band Crazy Hearts played a fantastic concert to a swinging audience.

I’ve seen Ralph de Jongh a few times now and the first time was in 2008 (actually 2006 when I saw two or three songs of him with Hans van Lier at the Rhythm & Blues Night, but I’m not counting that). In 2008 Ralph played at a charity concert raising money for Duchenne research. The reason that I remember that concert so well is not only that Ralph was wearing such a sparking golden jacket, but mainly because I was standing next to Anton Corbijn who also attended the concert (bringing Francis Healy as the final performer) and standing (photographing) next to ones idols is something you remember.

In 2012 I saw Ralph with hit Crazy Hears (Mark I) at a bluesfesival in Assen and then it got quiet for a while. Last year at a bluesfestival in Hoogeveen Ralph was back again, playing solo and giving one heck of a performance, truly sublime and captivating. And on clogs :)

And now there’s a new album -Sun Coming Up- and a Mark II version of the band Crazy Hearts. The band completely filled the stage in the Vanslag venue with backing vocalists, an extra guitarist, drummer, bass player and sax/percussionist with Ralph firmly in the middle and spotlights.

(click image for full set)

It was a seated concert and that was a bit of a shame as the concert was absolutely perfect for a bit of dancing, but we were able to move about a bit in our seats. Ralph played intensely and passionate as always and the band perfectly suited him. Blues and rock are a firm base of the sound and in Ralph’s guitar playing I can’t help but hear a young Keith Richards of the early Rolling Stones period and seriously I can hear some early Mick Jagger in Ralph’s voice as well once he get’s rocking. The band has no problem incorporating a bit of gospel in the songs and getting into a slower pace. LOVED IT!

A truly remarkable song is Ralph’s tribute to Harry Muskee in the song ‘Harry’. A terrific song with a fantastic instrumental part. Strong, powerful and moving. All in all a superb presentation of Ralph’s new album and a great start to more fantastic concerts.

(click image for full set)