Singer-songwriter Doug “Dubb” Macleod has been making blues records for over thirty years.
The first album of his that I heard was about twenty years ago, called ‘You Can’t Take My Blues’, which was on the AudioQuest Music label, in the days when Arcam were distributing AudioQuest cable and music in the U.K. He joined the Reference Recordings specialist audiophile label in 2012 and this is his third recording for them. Reference Recordings is run by the recording engineer “Prof.” Keith Johnson who has stated “our goal is to recreate the sound of real musicians making music in real space”.
Exactly Like This was recorded live in the studio, at Skywalker Sound studios in California, with, as “Dubb” says, “no headphones, no over-dubs, and no pitch or tempo adjustments”. The album is a tribute to his many musical influences. On the first track, ‘Rock it Till The Cows Come Home’ the main influence is Louis Jordan, on the next ‘Too Many Misses For Me’, it is Wes Montgomery, on ‘Serious Doin’ Woman’, it is Tony Joe White, and on ‘Vanetta’, it is John Lee Hooker. He is a superb guitarist, he uses five different National Reso-Phonic guitars here, and he is joined on this recording by Mike Thompson on piano, Denny Croy on the bass, Jimi Bott on the drums and percussion, and a squeaky stool.
“Dubb” won Acoustic Artist of the Year and Acoustic Album of the Year in the 2014 Blues Music Awards, which were formerly known as the W. C. Handy Awards. This album was named, Exactly Like This, because when he is playing at one of his concerts, he will often say “this song is going to go exactly like this” as a contrast to the performers who say that the song that they are about to sing will go something like this. He introduces some of the tracks on this album by telling a story, as he does when playing live in concert.
Exactly Like This is a genuine, storytelling, acoustic blues album and an audiophile recording, and one that I use in a demonstration, along with his previous Reference Recordings album, ‘There’s A Time’.
Paul Janove, Graham’s Hi-Fi London