|Blue Credentials, the new Malaya Blue album, is the follow up to the critically acclaimed Still, and as the title suggests finds the outstanding UK vocalist delving ever deeper into her blues heart. It’s certainly her most guitar driven album to date. The fruitful collaboration with legendary blues writer and producer Dennis Walker (R.I.P.) is again at its core but this time with a world class band in the studio and writing contributions from Joey Delgado, Hank Linderman and Brett Lucas. The long lost, and some said mythical, John Campbell track, “Howlin’ Mercy,” finally sees the light of day 30 plus years after Dennis wrote it and Elektra chickened out of releasing it. Malaya doesn’t shirk from the heavy dark content, showing her increasing maturity as an artist of the highest order. Richard Cousins, Brett Lucas, John McCullough and Sam Kelly gathered from around the globe to lend their talents and experience and Malaya recorded every vocal live with the band, no overdubs or studio trickery. Sadly, Dennis passed to the great juke joint in the sky, but not before he had heard what would prove to be the last record he was involved with and gave it a big seal of approval. The bar has been well and truly raised.
TRACK COMMENTARY FROM MALAYA BLUE
- Your Act Has Worn Thin (2:56) – Letting that lover know enough is enough, you’re done and won’t be a fool to love any longer.
- Wrong Kinda Love (3:40) – Yes! Doing it again, picking the wrong lover and the wrong time again! Funky rocky track.
- Oh, What A Fool (3:50) – The thrill of finding new love and the happiness to be a fool in its presence. Sexy, jazzy, ballad.
- I Can’t Find No Love (4:47) – The emptiness that occurs when the love leaves the relationship, and although it hasn’t been said, you know it is gone. A ballad to release the tears.
- The Time We Had (6:11) – Acknowledging the past and the present, the movement of life, the value of now and celebrating the good times in loss. A moving ballad.
- Curious (3:12) – The expectations in love that another brings! I’m Curious, What did YOU think love was about? Funky Up-tempo track.
- I’m Having Dreams Again (3:40) – Just when you think you are over that lover, they pop back into you head and heart through your dreams and the pain comes with it. A wistful mid-tempo track.
- Good Intentions, Bad Results (5:29) – Ahhh, how we try, all the best intentions but falling flat on our face! A funky up-tempo track for that moment of realisation!
- Bring Me Your Sin (4:02) – Wanting the love of a bad man and being willing to pay the price! Rocky and mean…
- Set Me Free (3:58) – The chains that keep us with a cold heart begs to be undone, dark and moody rock track.
- Howlin’ Mercy (5:11)- A dark song the reflects the long-lasting trauma of abuse, difficult to hear, difficult to sing, sadly amongst us. Haunting and dark.
- Messin’ Around (4:46) – Funky and upbeat, a song about the child in us all, letting go and messin’ around!
Malaya burst onto the live circuit in 2015 following the release of her debut album Bourbon Street. Introducing her intoxicating stage presence to blues audiences at The Great Rock & Blues Festival that year, a plethora of bookings followed including iconic venues such as The Jazz Cafe, The 100 Club, New Crawdaddy Club and The Bulls Head, Barnes and festivals – Birmingham International and Colne. Along the way the British Blues Association nominated Malaya UK Blues Challenge Final.
Early 2016 found Malaya in the studio recording the follow up album with some of the cream of British blues musicians and guest appearances by legendary Paul Jones, who has become a fan and staunch supporter. The resultant album, Heartsick, received even higher praise than the debut and introduced the Malaya Blue phenomenon to a wider audience with continued radio play on BBC Radio 2, all the UK based blues broadcasters and at respected stations across the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, South America and most of Europe. National and international print and online music media have been generous in their praise with reviews, interviews and articles appearing in Classic Rock, RnR, Maverick, Blues Matters, Blues In Britain, Rock Society, Red Lick, Songwriting Magazine, Music-News in Britain, Blues Blast and Elmore magazine in the US plus Rock Your Brain, Rootstime, Blues Greece and Concert Monkey in Europe to name just a few. The record also introduced her vocal prowess to Dennis Walker, who was blown away with what he heard and started writing songs tailored to her voice and taking Malaya under his wing to pass on his song-writing techniques and skills. It means a lot to Malaya to be the only UK based artist Dennis ever worked with. 2020’s release, Still, her debut on Blue Heart Records, solidified Malaya Blue’s street creds with charting, worldwide airplay, and top-notch reviews.
Acknowledgement of Malaya Blue’s continued recognition in the world’s blues community can be measured by the quality of musicians who travelled from far and wide to record her new album in a small back street recording studio in her home city of Norwich. Richard Cousins (Robert Cray, John Lee Hooker, Etta James), Brett Lucas (Bettye LaVette, Thornetta Davis, Jeremy Spencer), John McCullough (Sinead O’Connor, Van Morrison) and Sam Kelly (Gary Moore, Chaka Khan, Robert Plant and more) were happy to be involved. The album builds on the song-writing partnership with multi-Grammy winning writer and producer Dennis Walker (Robert Cray, BB King, Bettye LaVette) with contributions from Brett, Joey Delgado (Delgado Bros) and Hank Linderman (Joni Mitchell, Eagles and Chicago).