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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

dog

Chicago Blues Reunion

One of the huge advantages of staying openly corruptible and eager for bribes is that I do get sent a realistically representative selection of review items of what's good for ear or eye.

out of the boxNaturally it has its pitfalls, such as with Chicago Blues Reunion's July 12 release of Buried Alive in the Blues where I'm so grateful to hear that rocking Chicago sound done well, I'm needing to temper my words lest I sound as if working on commission or sleeping with some foxy PR assistante of the production company .

Even so, my timing was slightly wrong: I'd thought to wait until *after* July 4 before composing my measured low-key review.

mandelBut, impatient swanky me, I couldn't resist slipping in a few tracks during the celebratory barbecue blarings of favorites like the saintèd John Mayall, Paul Butterfield, Sam Hopkins et al.

Dammit, the production values on Buried Alive are so good that everyone crowded around to check out the details and I was busted and had to tuck it out of sight before light-fingered guitarist buddies spirited it away.

Luckily, they were appeased by the fact that the band's tour schedule includes Seattle where they'll be tearing it up at our very own Triple Door this July 9/10.

album coverIt's one amazing album and I ended up doing an unstealable copy in the interests of keeping it on shuffle/repeat as we got on with the job of tucking into the burgers and watching the kids endanger their plectrum fingers with Suqualmie's best fireworks.

The great Nick Gravenites takes lead vocals on 5 out of the 14 generous tracks, husky as only those born to the blues can sound.

I know this sounds sacrilege, but I swear I detected a touch of Clapton in some of Nick's vocals ... not that Slowhand even approaches NG's smokey vocal cojones or born-to-the-blues tonsil timbre.

On lead guitar, Harvey "Snake" Mandel about whom what can one say? - except stand by the tracks with hat in your hand and let him work his magic. Speaking of which, by the time we reached 'GM Boogie', half my drinking buddies wanted to bike straight home and retrieve their signed copies of Lick This.

Tracy Nelson sings lead on 3 tracks including a molasses sweet rendering of 'Walk Away' that had us dancing slow with our honies under a 3pm sun and our offspring reeling back with embarrassed "Eeeuuwws". As the mother of my children mildly inquired, where did they think they came from in the first place?

Harpist and all-round musician supreme Corky Siegel delivers a King Bee that totally silenced all those who only knew the lavish-lipped Sir Mick J version.

SAM LAYMega bonus is the legendary Sam Lay, dropping his drumsticks to take two vocals including a barrel stomping 'Hound Dog' that loses no time jumping the kennel and roaming thru goodies like 'Roll over Beethoven' that had us bopping and jiving (further groans from the young).

Yes, indeed, a spectacular album by real rockers of the old school and about which *everyone* commented on

  • How succinct the dialog was in between songs
  • How moving the "Buried Alive" Janis Joplin tribute
  • Ditto the stirring delivery of "Death of Muddy Waters" (Mandel at his typical treble-tingling reptilian best)
  • The band's gigs extend from Vancouver BC (Jul 7) to Hopkins, MN (Oct 1), but for my special buddies out there, check out

    I tend not to write about stuff I myself wouldn't buy, but for anyone with the Butterfield Blues ilk in their collection, this really *is* a must.


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