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Backroom Blues Volume Six is a collection of some of the top independent Blues artists of today performing various styles of the Blues.
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R E V I E W
by The Grouch
Backroom Blues Volume Six
It is time for another release in the incredibly popular Backroom Blues series that my friends at Bongo Boy Records put out. It is with no intention of hyperbole that I write Bongo Boy has probably done more to keep the blues alive than anyone since Clapton released Crossroads. Now, now I know there are many fine blues organizations around the world who are all dedicated to preserving the history and the culture of the blues, but I cannot think of anyone else who releases music by independent artists on such a large scale. So, let's see what we have on Volume Six of the Backroom Blues series has to offer.
1. Dave Fields - Child of The World 5:14 - If you dig guitar that is raunchy and gritty, the lick laid down at the beginning of the song will grab your attention. Dave has a good Blues/Rock voice and his band can groove. The guitar lays down a nice solo that makes me smile. Overall, this song has a tremendous Black
Crows vibe to it. I am almost reminded of Aerosmith
back when they were basically a heavy Blues band. This is a very good song with a hugely wicked second solo. The solo (yes, the third solo) towards the end of the track, I am sure, is designed to allow the band to extend the song live. I really want to see their show!
2. The Wildcat O'Halloran Band - 51 Right 49 Wrong 4:06 - A+ for a killer band name! It does not stop there though. This, folks, is a real Blues band. The guitar at the beginning makes me think some Texas
Blues is coming, then their harp man opens up. I haven't heard such soulful harp in the modern era since Magic Dick blew my mind with Whammer Jammer. I can't quite put my finger on it, but this song sounds like a collaboration between ZZ Top
and the J. Geils Band. The vocals are good, despite the lyric that let's us know the singer sometimes doesn't like his voice. Your voice sounds good on this track man, and your band smokes.
3. E.G. Holmes - Hot Blooded 4 U 3:16 - Oh yeah, is there anything better than a wailing electric guitar backed by a funky horn section? I don't think so. I am caught up in full groove as I keep time with their drummer. Good God, that man can play guitar!! The backup singers add to the soul - I am such a sucker for good backup singers. Lest I forget to mention it, none of the soloing would sound nearly as cool if the bass and drums were not locked in. I would love to see the video for this song.
4. Caught with Candy - Your Favorite Hello 4:09 - Oh man, just listen to this voice! If she looks half as good as her voice sounds I would not be able to take my eyes off this woman. I am digging the music, but the vocals have my complete attention. That is a very difficult thing to do as my mind tends to wander…back in the day I was simply annoying, no one had heard of ADHD. Forget, pills, I just need to hear this voice to concentrate. Really, you need to listen to this song!
5. Big Bone Daddy - Come to Me 3:33 - Big Bone Daddy has been a favorite of mine for years. I am so glad to see them on this album. Man, I love those guitars! Nothing, but pure wicked emotion backed by some grooving harp and a rock-solid bass. The drummer must be having a great time, I know I would love to keep time for these guys and have a bird's eye view of that wicked guitar. Then the honky-tonk piano hits and all I can do is smile that big goofy grin I get when I hear something that makes me want to play! If you are not familiar with Big Bone Daddy, you really should be!
6. Plainfield Slim - Roll Down Your Stockings 2:39 - I dig Gar's music no matter what personality he is playing under. On this track, Gar Francis' Blue playing alter ego takes the spot. Man, I love slide guitar, especially slide with raunchy guitar in the background. This is just a very cool song!
Johnson - Shoulda Coulda Woulda 4:10 - Oh yeah, do I hear a little Sylvester Stewart influence on this track? Nice horn work and the background singers complement Revis' lead vocals excellently. The horn solo in the middle of the track reaches out and grabs the listener hard. This is what I consider old school R&B and I dig it.
8. E.G. Holmes - Busted
Vanden Enden 4:19 - E. G. Holmes is back, and I am glad he is. E.G. has a great voice. The guitar on this track is, to use a too frequently used, but in this case applicable word, amazing. The keys and the drums, along with the bass serve as the perfect framework for the guitar player to do his thing. The man can jam in a very subtle, yet intense Bluesy way. This is not Texas
Blues, this is more refined, but every bit as intense. The interplay between the music and the vocals is nothing short of mind blowing. Be sure to pay attention all the way to the end, I really like the way the band brings this song to a close.
9. Charles Brown - Dustin' My Broom 3:02 - I have heard Charles' work before and have been impressed each and every time. Man, oh man, I love this guitar. I hear Chuck Berry and Clapton in the intro. Then I swear I hear a Billy Gibbons vibe with, believe it or not, a little Stevie Ray thrown in. The thing is, that when you blend all of this together you end up with the one and only Charles Brown.
10. Gar Francis - Blue Cadillac
4:23 - What a great song! This is classic American Rock and Roll. Gar's voice is just perfect for this kind of music and all I can think of as the harp blows a solo is cruising down Telegraph road when I was a kid. I never had a Caddy, but I did live approximately two miles from the factory where they were made. This is a cruising song if I ever heard one. The city in Sweden where I live every summer has a huge classic (American muscle) car meet each summer. I think I am going to lend some friends this track to blast as they cruise.
11. Bluestamtam - She's Gone 4:08 - This is old time classic blues. I don't hear a trace of Rock in this song. This is a purist's joy. The drums are minimalist, and the bass holds down the bottom while the drummer does some really nice bass drum fills Is that a melodic, clean harmonica I hear? I don't think an instrument can be made to sound sadder. The singer's voice is spot on and gut wrenching. You can feel the man's pain. I am actually moved by this track.
12. E.G. Holmes - Road Too Long 3:42 - E.G. is back and that funky piano along with the horn section hits you in the face. E.G. you have a great voice. I am becoming a real fan!
This is the kind of music everyone secretly wishes would be played as they enter a room. I am pretty sure that E.G. Holmes is close to the definition of cool. That piano rocks! I want to see this band live!
13. Rocko Paolo
Rees - Summer Nights In Mississippi 6:15 - Oh yeah! The man can make it scream! This song starts out so heavy, even the metal kids who have no idea their music is based in the Blues would take notice. Then an unusual thing happens. The vocals begin, and they are melodic, almost soft compared to the blast of the intro. Honestly, the vocal style reminds me of Steely Dan
- the music however, is nothing like their Prog Jazz influenced music. Rocko's music is hard, heavy, soulful and features a blistering guitar. I am impressed.
14. Gar Francis - Since She's Been Gone 6:08 - I have been a huge Gar Francis fan for years. I can say I have heard many of his songs and this is without a doubt one of the most swinging songs I have ever heard from Gar. I haven't been moved by keys this much since I first heard The Low Spark
of High Heeled Boys - excellent work. It doesn't stop with the keys; the guitar is pure enjoyment to any fan's ears.
15. Susan SurfTone - Blue Guitar 3:09 - The last song on the album is by another of my favorite Bongo Boy artists. The incredible Ms. Surftone. This is where Surf meets the Blues and they make an interesting combination. If there is one thing in the world I cannot stand it is negative stereotypes. Not all Punks are Nazis, in fact most Punks I have known have been, at heart, very gentle guys who just play rough. In the same way, even today some people think women can't rock. News: Bands like the Gore Gore Girls, Shonen Knife
and Susan SurfTone all rock - and they rock well! Give this track a listen and tell me women can't play guitar and I'll tell you that you need your ears checked.
So, what is the bottom line? The essential point is this: Backroom Blues Volume 6 continues the tradition of Bongo Boy giving independent blues artists a chance to reach a wider audience. If you like the Blues and Blues-based music, you will like this album - a lot.