The Ugly Bug Ragtime Three Outhouse

Haddington’s own John Burgess is a man with a music background that takes in playing with bands as diverse as the Mavericks and the Peatbog Faeries, and while he gives great service to them and others, it’s as a bandleader that he really comes into his own.

And in this “wee band with the big sound” he is very much at home with the swinging music from the 20s and 30s that comprises their set of jazz (that’s jazz, not “trad” jazz, as Burgess emphasises) tunes.

Burgess, on clarinet, along with veteran of the Alex Welsh Band Jim Douglas on guitar and banjo and Andy Sharkey on string bass provide an enthralling tour of some of the greatest tunes of the era, most notably “Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me” and “Collegiate” by one of the leader’s heroes, legendary New Orleans player George Lewis.

Witty and informative introductions leading in to tunes played with love and the pleasure that comes from having a real affinity for the music gave the audience a night of pure joy, and in the process reminded us of some great compositions that we do not hear often enough.

Bands of this genre from this side of the Atlantic can often be rightly viewed as pale imitations of the original, but here we have a trio who know exactly what they’re doing, and do it extremely well.

Jim Welsh