Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro - Blues Editor @ www.mary4music.com
Roots Music Report (USA):.
Bayou Billabong - Clayton Doley
Styles: Jazzy Blues, Blues, Contemporary Blues.
Australian keyboardist Doley matches his rock-solid chops with sophisticated songwriting and wraps class-act production around it all. Soulful strains from various roots- with a detectable fondness for the New Orleans variety- here meet with sharp, memorable lyric sets. Strong horn sections and vocal backup- and Mr. Doley’s ear-catching Hammond B3 work- finish off an attractive package. Strong tracks include “Disbelief”, “Lose It” and the title track.
by Duane Verh
Blues Blast Magazine (USA):.
Clayton Doley – Bayou Billabong
An original album of excellent tunes from an intriguing Australian keyboard player, singer and songwriter that is recorded in New Orleans and Sydney with a heavy dose of fine horns, and a lead digeroo ought to catch some ones’s attention. Well, it has caught mine, at least.
Doley has a heady and smooth sort of tone to his vocals, mixing a crooner’s style of jazz and the swing into his blues and soul. Recorded at The Music Shed in New Orleans with the Monster Gents and The Treme Funktet and at Free Energy Device in Sydney with The Clay-tones and The Hi-Fi-Doley-T Horns and special guests harry Manx, Ganga Giri (digeroo) and Lachy Doley. The backing vocalist Clay-tones are Mahalia Barnes, Jade Macrae and Juanita Tippins and I really loved them throughout. The Monster Gents are Derwin Perkins on guitar, Cornell Williams on bass, and Eddie Christmas on drums, a solid band for sure. The Treme Funktet are Corey Henry on trombone, Travis Hill on on trumpet, and Drew Calhoun on tenor sax. The Hi-Fi-Doley-T-Horns are James Greenling on trombone, Matt keegan on saxes and Nick Garbett on trumpet. Both horn sections did a great job.
“Disbelief” starts things off in a very straight up and honky tonk manner. The Treme Funktet are subtle on the horns; Doley’s piano and vocals are the feature here. The horns and backing vocals are great support, too. “I Live For You” is a swinging bluesy pop jazz tune with Doley crooning in grand style. Harry Manx appears here and the next tune giving us some Canadian slide. The Australian Hi-Fi-Doley-Horns are excellent and Perkins offers a slick little guitar solo. The title track comes in with the digeroo and blends Cajun and Outback styles into a Vegamite gumbo of funk and soul. Doley switches to organ and The Treme Funktet do the horn work here. The backing vocalists give a Philly sort of soul sound to the cut. Strange but cool. “Lose It” brings in the Aussie horns again as Doley again sets the pace with his piano and vocals. Blending soul and blues, Doley offers another interesting cut up for us. He shows restraint, building as the song progresses but never out of control. He adds some really nice organ to the cut, too.
“Truly Amazing” is a slow soul song with some pretty organ work and nice backing vocals. Doley is solid, reminding me a little of Darryl Hall with a lower register here. “Waiting for the Coffee” offers up a very special groove and some nice solo work on guitar, trombone, piano. A funky piece and the girls give it a little push backing Doley. A Chicago-esque intro for “We’re Still Changing” switches more into a funky soul tune as it progresses Doley does a great job on the vocals and the Clay-tones remain solid with him. The horns add some cool chords of sound throughout. “Starting Right Now” starts with the organ tapping out a morse code-like beat and then gets in to a high paced groove and some beautiful vocals. This would have made a great tune for Diana Ross and the Supremes or a group like that; I love Doley’s songs. He turns in a nice performance with the Clay-tones. The guitar plays lead for much of the funky groove. Doley lays out a super organ solo for us to enjoy and Doley is here on clavinet to add to the mix.
This is a great soul album with blues, funk and jazz blended into a great mélange of sound. One complaint- 8 songs, 40 minutes is a little short in this day and age, but other than that I liked it a lot. Doley is a fine vocalist and keyboard player and his soulful singing is really well done. The backing vocalists and musicians are in step and work well in this funk-filled album. I would not classify this as blues as much as I would soul, but it’s a fine album and fans of good soul, keyboards and vocals will find this a great album to sample and enjoy! Well done, mate!.
Parc Bench (USA)
New Jazz/Soul: Clayton Doley — ‘Bayou Billabong’
On his new jazz/soul album, Bayou Billabong, Australian keyboardist Clayton Doley’s skill at playing the organ is matched by his witty and stylish songwriting. The album is steeped in the soulful ambience of American roots (that’s the “Bayou” part), but presented with a contemporary Australian flavor (and that’s the “Billabong”). Overall, it is a collation of songs that will brighten your mood and leave you wishing it were a double CD.
Featuring stellar musicians from three countries (including the amazing lap slide guitar master Harry Manx) and recorded across two continents, there’s a definite affection for the New Orleans sound here, but the songs have a vibrancy that is unique and highly satisfying for anyone appreciative of fresh and successful fusion. Each track on this album is overflowing with atmosphere that is timeless.
The requisite horn sections and backup vocals are as solid as the lead vocals. It’s an integration of required elements beyond compare.
Essential Downloads: “Disbelief,” “Lose It,” “Truly Amazing.”
Reflections In Blue (USA)
Bayou Billabong - Clayton Doley (Hi-Fi-Doley-T)
Opening the mail can, at times be a real adventure. Today's post contained a new release from Clayton Doley, Australian bluesman and purveyor of contemporary "Australiana" and Americana. A masterful performer on keyboards, Doley is an exceptional songwriter, arranger and vocalist as well. Backed by musicians and vocalists from the United States, Canada and Australia, Doley makes his way through everything from somewhat traditional blues to New Orleans jazz and a few pieces that defy description altogether. With background vocalists, the Clay-Tones... Mahalia Barnes, Jade MacRae and Juanita Tippins, The Monster Gents... Derwin "Big D" Perkins on guitar, Cornell C. Williams on bass and Eddie Christmas on drums, horns provided by the Treme Funktet and the Hi-Fi Doley-T Horns and special guests Lachy Doley on clavinet on track 8, Ganga Girl on Didgeridoo on track 3 and Harry Manx on lap steel guitar on tracks 2 & 3, Clayton winds his way through some material that is everything from amazing in a traditional sense to outright mind-blowing. He has made his way onto the Australian Blues and Roots charts, the same in the States, and to the stages of some of the most prestigious festivals in the world. Over the years he has performed with such artists as Joe Bonamassa, Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Steve Cropper & Donald "Duck" Dunn, Hubert Sumlin, Mojo Buford, Louisiana Red, Guitar Shorty and many more. Having heard his work on the keyboards, I can say that I find these gigs as no surprise. His work on his instrument of choice is exceptional to say the least...and his songwriting is as good as anything I've heard to date. Bayou Billabong was interesting and exciting. I found myself waiting with anticipation, wondering what surprises the next track would hold. While perhaps not for the blues purist, Doley delivered the goods to be sure. While this album was not strictly blues, Clayton Doley made it clear that where blues is concerned, he can hold his own with the best of them. From a musical standpoint I might venture to say that this cat is a chameleon...he will play whatever might be required, play it well and give every tune his own personal stamp.
Blues Again (France)
Clayton Doley - Bayou Billabong
Genre: Soul Blues ...
The press kit summarizes: "Bayou Billabong capture the essence of New Orleans blues piano tradition merging Australiana and Americana of today." These two lines say it all clearly and briefly, and any other comments becomes almost superfluous. Clayton Doley pianist and organist (Rhodes and Hammond B3) residing in the vicinity of Sydney has quite been around and rubbed shoulders with the who's who of blues and soul (Steve Cropper, Joe Bonamassa, Walter Wolfman Washington, Hubert Sumlin, Mojo Buford , Louisiana Red, Eugene Bridges, Harry Manx ... the list is very long). He has a subtle fingering inspired by the great masters of neo-Orléans where soul is caressed by funk and sings with a deep voice and conveying a certain pleasure. As the CD title suggests, the record was done in New Orleans and Sydney and both geographical influences transpire from that record. The moisture of the bayou vies to the warmth of the billabong. The nonchalance of the French Quarter rival relaxation in Darling Harbour and it is therefore natural that the brass band of the Crescent city gives way to the didgeridoo. Americans, Canadians or Australians, musicians and singers around Clayton Doley seem handpicked and delivery is always on top. In 40 minutes, 8 tracks of the disc, all penned by Doley, are linked with a beautiful elegance both in style and in interpretation.
Clayton Doley - Bayou Billabong (2015)
bayou (noun) American, chiefly Lower Mississippi Valley and Gulf States
1. a marshy arm, inlet, or outlet of a lake, river, etc., usually sluggish or stagnant.
2. any of various other often boggy and slow-moving or still bodies of water.
billabong (noun) Australian
1. a branch of a river flowing away from the main stream but leading to no other body of water; a blind or dead-end channel.
2. a creek bed holding water only in the rainy season:
Australian Clayton Doley is a superb Hammond B3 and keyboard player who calls himself a blues man but categorizing his music isn't that simple. You could safely classify his work as both jazz and R&B, or based on his voice just as easily believe he is a lounge act (the latter isn't meant to be an insult) because, despite the earthiness of his music, Doley's voice is too smooth to be associated with the likes of Buddy Guy or John Lee Hooker. Instead, he bears a resemblance to Harry Connick..
Doley has had a long career down under and around the globe. He's had residencies in Sydney and Toronto. He's played with Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn (Booker T & the M.Gs.), Joe Bonnamassa, his fellow countryman Jimmy Barnes, members of Tower of Power, and many more.
The album title is a result of Doley's new eight song CD, Bayou Billabong, being recorded in both Sydney and New Orleans and using musicians from both locations. Each track employs a horn section of trombone, trumpet, and sax playing on the sessions in their own countries.
Also featured on this fine new set are members of Trombone Shorty's band and an outfit called The Treme Funktet. A trio of female backing singers that should remind you of the Raelettes assist everywhere.
The only instrumental is the title tune that includes contributions from Ganga Giri playing Australia's indigenous musical instrument, the didgeridoo. He adds some interesting and unusual flourishes to what is otherwise a very funky track. Doley takes a hot riff from this piece and reuses it in a completely different arrangement on "Starting Right Now" that proves how diverse you can be with one, identical, short bar of music.
Connick fans should be happy with the poppish "I Live for You." Derwin "Big D" Perkins handles electric guitar and his solo on "We're Still Changing" is a real jazzy treat.
There is a law that every blues album must allow space for a song about drinking to excess and "Waiting for Coffee" satisfies that requirement but, like the rest of the record, it isn't a downer.
All of the songs are Doley originals and are, according to the artist, inspired by "the great New Orleans piano masters."
by Charlie Ricci
Blues Blast Magazine (USA)
Clayton Doley - Desperate Times
Nine Tracks - 39:43
Mr Doley hails from Australia and started to play music at a very early age. He was attracted to the B3 Hammond Organ and taught himself to use the bass pedals (which for the uninitiated, allow a keyboard top line, to be accompanied by a bass part created by the musician. The double keyboard and an array of knobs and buttons (called ‘drawbars’) to allow the player to alter and adjust the dynamics of the emitted sound. Invented in the 1930s, the instrument became a favourite of jazz musicians (like Jimmy Smith) and was to the fore front of 1960s and 1970s rock with artists like Alan Price, Gregg Allman, Rick Wakeman, and Booker T. Jones of Booker T. & the M.G.'s who used the Hammond, on the song "Green Onions".
Clayton Doley is a master of his instrument. He has a fine jazzy touch and can take a song like the famous Misty, written by Errol Garner and weave it into an intricate sound picture. Not only that, Clayton has a fine voice too, reminding me occasionally, but not too often, of the vocal stylings of Mose Alison but with a deeper more resonant touch than Allison.
Other, more blues based tracks include, Willie Dixon’s Seventh Son and a very nice rendition of Chicken Shack coupled with the Feather’s How Blue Can You Get? A word here about the excellent guitar work by Champagne James Robertson, some of his licks are simply outstanding. A constant an inspiring presence throughout the CD.
The CD includes five Doley originals including the punningly titled Chester Drawers (which I take to be a tribute to B3 player Chester Thompson of Santana) which is a wonderful example of Doley’s nifty footwork on the bass pedals, as well as some atmospheric drawbar work. Take a listen too to the outstanding drum work by Davide Di Renzo.
But a word of warning…This is not a blues album, it is much more like a beautifully recorded (in Toronto, Canada) jazz album. Nevertheless, that caveat aside, strongly recommended..
Rhythms Magazine (AUS)
Clayton Doley – Desperate Times (Hi-Fi-Doley-T)
Drawn to the Hammond B3 organ from an early age, Clayton Doley is not only one of Australia’s finest exponents of the instrument, he is quickly gaining recognition as a top new player on the world stage, having performed at jazz and blues festivals at home and in Canada leading his own band and supporting internationally acclaimed artists. An in-demand session musician, songwriter and producer of long standing, Doley also has a long history as a television musical director. On Desperate Times he returns to the classic bluesy soul/jazz organ trio tradition of Jimmy Smith and Jack McDuff, exploring the B3’s full potential and utilising its dynamics, depth of tone and bass pedals. Recorded in Toronto where in 2011 Doley immersed himself in the city’s vibrant local scene, the CD offers non-originals and a half dozen Doley compositions combining modern structure and harmony with thoughtful, sensitive lyrics. Canadian guitarist Champagne James Robertson and drummer Davide Di Renzo cook up an aural feast behind the organ and deep, rich vocals of Doley who delivers a funkified rework of Willie Dixon’s ‘Seventh Son’, a sumptuous reading of Smith’s ‘Chicken Shack’, a soulful version of BB King’s ‘How Blue Can You Get’ and a swinging bebop-tinged instrumental workout on Errol Garner’s timeless ‘Misty’.
By Al Hensley
Blues News (Germany)
Clayton Doley – Desperate Times
"According to his website, the Australian Hammond player and singer has already been involved in a number of productions as producer and sideman. Now he presents his solo debut album "Desperate Times", which was recorded in Toronto/Canada, and it's 9 tracks show that he is a master of his instrument, where he also takes over the part of the bassist with his food pedas. Six of the titles are written by Doley himself, for the other three (or four) he resorted back to standards, which are Willie Dixon's "Seventh Son", Erroll Garner's often covered classic "Misty" and "Chicken Shack" which can be understood as a tribute to the B-3 old master Jimmy Smith, which merges into one song with "How Blue Can You Get" made popular by BB King.
Musically, the emphasis of the album is on a casual to funky groovy jazzy blues, but the original composition "Chester Drawers" also reminds of the Jazzrock in the 70s and the finishing song "Permanent Holiday" even goes into the pop direction. That Doley has "a deep and rich and soulful singing voice" is on the other hand more likely to be out into the PR-talk draw." Translated by Katja Liebing
La Hora Del Blues (Spain)
Clayton Doley – Desperate Times 4/5
Fine stylist and Hammond organ performer, Australian musician Clayton Doley digs into blues, jazz and groove and he does it with a great charm and good taste. Clayton's mastery knows the secrets of the keyboards he plays with virtuoso resources only good organists have, especially after many years of playing in different circumstances. Doley learned to play the instrument when he was a boy and, since then on, he has not stopped exploring the huge and vast and almost infinite potential Hammond B-3 organ offers. Besides, he always does it with authority, taking advantage of all devices he has at his disposal, including of course the use of pedals. On this album, Clayton Doley combines modern structures and harmonies, which drive us to jazz and blues with an amazing swing and groove, perfectly dosifying different rhythms and tempos. Over the years Clayton Doley has had a fruitful important career, because for a long time he worked as musical director for television programs such as ‘Good News Week’ and ‘The Sideshow’. In short words, this is an excellent piece of work by a marvelous singer and especially a fine organ player, gifted with a huge talent. GREAT.
By Vicente P. Zumel.
Music Web Expess Magazine mwx3.com (USA)
Clayton Doley – Desperate Times
From the land down under comes organist / vocalist Clayton Doley and his sensational 2012 CD entitled Desperate Times. These are in fact desperate times yet Clayton’s 9 track CD is so much fun you won’t feel desperate after rocking out with his album. In his list of musical influences Clayton cites great organ icons like Booker T. Jones, Brian Auger and Billy Preston and you can bet that those guys would like Clayton’s approach to rootsy jazzy pop. Interesting that Clayton was actually invited to Toronto Canada by singer-songwriter Harry Manx and the whole album was in fact recorded in Toronto. In addition to Clayton’s soulful singing and B3 organ work, Desperate Times features some killer, near Clapton-esque electric guitar work from Champagne James Robertson, with Clayton also getting backed up by solid drumming from Davide Di Renzo. Liner notes shed some light on Clayton's musical mission here. Most of the originals click and there’s some fine covers of “Seventh Son” and “Chicken Shack” to help firm up Clayton’s blues cred. Desperate Times is a fine pick for jazzers and blues buffs who like to rock out.
Leister Bangs (UK)
Clayton Doley – Desperate Times (Hi-Fi-Doley-T)
Australian Clayton Doley is a respected Hammond organist, with a résumé that’s impressive and long. As a session musician he’s played on, produced or written songs for hundreds of albums. As a sideman, he tours regularly with Harry Manx and Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges, and previously he’s hit the road with Cropper and Dunn, A Camp, Silverchair, Divinyls, etc. He works on a number of TV shows as musical director, and provides the same service for various special events, award shows and their ilk. He also finds the time to play with his own bands, the Organ Donors, and latterly, the Organ Experience. In 2018 he’s having a day off, whether he needs it or not.
In 2011 Doley headed out to Toronto, primarily to record and tour with Harry Manx, but he quickly found a whole other group to play with. “Desperate Times” is the first fruit of their labour, a nine-track collection of new tracks and tasteful covers that showcase Doley’s prowess with his chosen instrument, and as a bandleader. Blues and jazz provide the musical core of the material, but lyrically there are a host of subjects touched upon. On “Dealing With the Devil” green issues are the theme, the title track covers the perennial blues topic of luck, and the lack of it, and “Permanent Holiday” extols the virtues of getting away from it all. Hardly surprising given his workload. There’s great playing throughout, and if the Acid Jazz roster gives you as much pleasure as it does me, I suggest you check out Clayton Doley – before he has that day off and never comes back.
Jazz In Sydney (AUS)
One of the world's great Hammond players, a legend of the local blues, jazz, soul and funk scenes and now carving out a reputation on the international stage.
No-one in Australia plays Hammond organ like Clayton Doley does. Equal parts jazz finesse and deep groove, he carries the torch passed on by greats like Jimmy Smith and more recent exponents like Larry Goldings and Joey DeFrancesco. But more than that, Clayton has his own thing happening, a hip 21st Century Blues thing that positions him at that very cool crossroads where renegades, outsiders and rebels make music so damn groovy that the square mainstream wants a piece of it for themselves. So he's been hired by a slew of big names like Silverchair, the Divinyls, Jimmy Barnes and Guy Sebastian (alongside Steve Cropper and Donald 'Duck' Dunn from the indescribably legendary Booker T and the MGs) and done hours of TV on shows like Good News Week and The Sideshow. Not to mention literally hundreds of other sessions. But all along he's kept his flame for the glorious Hammond groove thing burning bright with his own combos like the Organ Donors and his trio gigs in North America and here on jazz stages, in nightclubs and with the likes of The Hands (with brother Lachy Doley), US blues guitarist Eugene 'Hideway' Bridges, Canadian bluesman Harry Manx and the late, great Jackie Orszaczky.
Desperate Times pitches up somewhere between a Mose Allison groove thang, a souljazz celebration, an articulate singer-songwriter with a well-founded concern for issues like global warming, and a burnin' trio that just loves to cook no matter what the tune.
The Hammond combo is probably the hippest sound the 20th century ever spawned, give or take a Miles Davis quintet or two. So you know this is going to excite. Get ready to experience one of the few players on the world stage who's made the mighty Hammond B3 his own. Awesome.
L.A. Beat (CAN)
Clayton Doley playes sweet blues organ from Australia.
If you like bluesy organ playing, you will love “Desperate Times” the new CD from Australian bluesman Clayton Doley. Doley has been recording and producing for many, many years and it shows on “Desperate Times". He explores some pretty serious subject matter like the destruction of the environment, but makes you want to smile and sing along with his songs about serious issues.
In addition to his own material, he makes Willie Dixon’s “Seventh Son” his own. Throughout he plays catchy organ and has an immediately appealing voice. He captures your attention form the opening track “Dealing With the Devil” which has dollops of ’70s R and B and soul along the lines of Marvin Gaye’s “What‘s Going On”.
There are a lot of highlights on the CD including the title track, “Dealing With The Devil” and the jazzy instrumental “Misty”, he slows things down on the soulful “Friday the 13th”, "Chester Drawes" is another very cool instrumental which is more guitar based though the organ is still a big part of it. Another slower jazzy number, “How Blue Can You Get/Chicken Shack” is another highlight.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
CD: Desperate Times
Artist: Clayton Doley
Maple Blues (CAN)
Tension! - Clayton Doley's Organ Donors
A new Toronto resident, Mr. Doley comes to our attention through Harry Manx, who discovered the B3 player on his Australian tours and subsequently invited him to play on his Bread & Buddha CD and the tour. Tension! is his calling card, with his Australian band, and it’s a relative rarity these days, a B3 quartet CD, advertised as retro-soul.
It opens with “Booker Table”, a romp in the Booker T & The MGs style and he knows whereof he speaks: Mr. Doley has filled in for Booker T himself, playing with Steve Cropper & Duck Dunn on tours where the organist was not available. He has also toured with electric violinist Nigel Kennedy on a Jimi Hendrix Tribute package, the distilled results amply displayed on “Tension”. He acknowledges the debt to the famous B3 jazz players Jimmy Smith & Brother Jack McDuff throughout but particularly on “Up The McDuff”. The analogue recording is of demonstration quality. We welcome such an accomplished player to our music scene.
The Toronto release of this CD was at the Orbit Room, with its famous B3 – you should go to his web site, www.claytondoley.com for upcoming gigs.
All Music (USA)
Tension! - Clayton Doley's Organ Donors
Australia’s Organ Donors, led by Hammond B-3 whiz Clayton Doley and joined by Jak Housden on guitar, James Haselwood on bass, and Dave Hibbard on drums, reproduce the funky groove sound of late-'60s instrumental R&B and soul-jazz, although nearly all of the group’s material consists of original compositions. It’s a neat trick, and recording with vintage equipment from the era in question, the Donors sound like nothing so much as a reconstituted Booker T. & the MG's on Tension!, their debut album. The rhythm section plays with the same crisp simplicity that made the MG's so universal, and that gives Doley and guitarist Housden a lot of room to expand the sonic architecture with their lead lines and riffs, which can range from spare and smoky to jazzily psychedelic and progressive by turns -- although everything here sounds like it came out of the Stax studios 50 years ago. That isn’t a bad thing, by any means. Highlights include the leadoff track, “Booker Table” (dedicated, no doubt, to Booker T. Jones, who one could swear was playing on this cut); the rhythmic percussion richness of the title tune, “Tension”; the undeniably funky homage to organist Jack McDuff called “Up the McDuff”; and the mildly psychedelic “Mosquito,” which gives Housden room to stretch out on electric guitar. Soul is soul, even if it comes from Australia, and the Organ Donors understand the groove of it to a T -- Booker T., that is.
by Steve Leggett