AUSTRALIAN BLUES ROCK ALBUM REVIEWS.
Voted Number 1 Best Australian Blues Rock Album.
Blues Gone Wild by Gerry Joe Weise. iTunes
Voted Number 1 - Reader's Selection. Voted Number 1 - Critic's Choice.
Blues Gone Wild. Hailing from Sydney and now well-established in Coffs Harbour, Gerry Joe Weise has released his new opus "Blues Gone Wild", on the Blues Breaking Records label in Chicago. Weise has to be one of the better outstanding Australian guitarists, (he has been voted four times Best Electric Blues Guitarist on the charts)! The opening track "Surfing Coffs Harbour" is a new type of blues that sets the pace for this adventurous album, with extraordinary innovative slide playing (Weise calls it 'glissando overtones'), and at times sounds uncannily like a flute than a guitar. Next is "Inside-Looking Out" recorded live in the United States, the Eric Burdon song performed by Weise's soulful vocals and exciting adventurous guitar playing, intertwining with Juma Sultan's congas and percussion; they twine the threads of blues for our future! "Song for Sylvie" is an epic reggae illuminating normal and slide tuned guitars ('glissando overtone' chops here), while trading licks with the powerful brass section featuring trumpets, saxophones and trombones. The 4th track "Crazy Crocodile", has Weise paying tribute to Texas blues as a heavy guitar shuffle with husky vocals, using the Australian crocodile as a metaphor and pun. Stepping up the pace is another USA live track, "Aussie Boogie" performed at breakneck speed where Weise's Strat remains indemne, and a word of merit to Juma Sultan's fiery congas. Slowing things down to "Dreamtime Lullaby" in a Mark Knopfler manner, are dreamy vintage Dobro guitars, with melodies over cinematic didgeridoo lines. Jimi's "Red House" is rendered in a Chicago blues style, with heartfelt singing and lots of guitar soloing (while never discarding the 'feeling' necessary to carry the weight of tradition), much like Hendrix meets Buddy Guy. The rockabilly "Back to Blacktown" (Australian rock riffs galore) hip to the blues bone, beefy vocals and uncanny guitar playing, best sums up this tune. "B Good 2 Me Jam" offers a psychedelic experience that makes ones mind travel to faraway distant lands, through guitar playing in another quantum dimension, the essence of classic rock-blues but with a new twist. Like a fast train, "Uluru Express" will take you across the Nullarbor Plains to central Australia, via slide guitar on a pulsating rhythm section and drone didgeridoos. The beach shores of "Bondi Soul Ride", are a joyful interplay of advancing musical waves, across a playful sea of terra incognita. Upbeat and toe-tapping is "Night Drive", as Weise stretches out on punctuating soloing, displaying Miles Davis technique of playing with spaces and silences, while delivering exciting guitar jabs and melodies. This album is a must-have for everyone's serious blues discotheque.
Voted 2nd Best Australian Blues Rock Album.
Flesh and Blood by John Butler Trio. iTunes
Flesh and Blood. The John Butler Trio springs into action with “Spring To Come”, pulsating finger-style guitar and percussion, accompany his distinctive never changing vocals. Moving on into rocking territory is “Living in the City”, Tubescreamer-type overdrive guitar solo and heavy rhythm section, the track reminds us of Butler's earlier period. “How You Sleep at Night”, rock 'n' roll and frantic, which is desperate for answers to questions, shows a more vulnerable side. The radio friendly “Only One”, is compelling, a catchy track that evokes nostalgia. “Young and Wild”, the title actually being misleading is more the opposite; heartstrings tugged by melodic vocals. Going heavier with “Wings are Wide”, is a classic guitar sparring guitar riff. The final song is the epic arrangement of “You’re Free”, a fine way to close the album.
Voted 3rd Best Australian Blues Rock Album.
Box and Dice by Fiona Boyes. iTunes
Box and Dice. Fiona Boyes has some strong songwriting. She is currently playing a four-stringed cigar box guitar (which gives the album its title), a baritone guitar and normal six stringers, making this album's sound a novelty. The opener “Juke Joint on Moses Lane” has inticate finger-style guitar picking emphasizing her husky-type vocals. Tradional gospel in style are “I’m A Stranger Here” and “Mama’s Sanctified Amp”, harkening to the American deep South from the Mississippi Delta. Boyes switches to the cigar box guitar for “Louisiana” and the joyous “Tiny Pinch of Sin”. The National baritone guitar is strummed for “Walking Around Money”, which appropriately features Gundren playing pocket change. The Reso-lectric baritone is also featured on “Walk With Me” and the cover “Black Mountain Blues” (J.C. Christian), a Bessie Smith and later Janis Joplin trademark. Two more covers are the ever popular “Smokestack Lightning”, and “Easy Baby” by Magic Sam that permits Boyes to stretch out in improvisation.
Voted 4th Best Australian Blues Rock Album.
Totem by Kevin Borich. iTunes
Totem. This is Kevin Borich’s newest album in a decade. A masterpiece of blues and funk, with a half an hour bonus album of jazzy ambient arrangements leading to virtuosity in improvisation. Well produced sound with way-huge Robin Trower-ish riffs, great lyrics that showcase Borich’s bluesy sensibility. "Hang On" relating to our bewilderment at being dazed and confused. Heavy-blues-rocker "Tie Me Up" is fit for stage and tearing it up on guitar. "Won’t Go Backwards" rallys against outdated laws of our penal colony. Back to roots music, which Borich does so well, with his National resophonic guitar on "SoapBoxBitchinBlues" and "Another Freedom". Funky rock and joyful playing on "Money", then it's on to heavy progressive guitar riffs of "Fight On", fighting against cancer, his own personal journey. Doing the shuffle in Hubert Sumlin mode is the sexy "Lovin’ Boogie", while full up front in dance mood is the groove of "Get Outta Your Head". The disc ends with a version of Borich’s 1971 La De Das hit, "Gonna See My Baby Tonight". The bonus disc has three magic tracks. "Love Train" a quater of an hour jazz-blues soundscaped jam session, with guitar and trumpet intertwining from soft to sublime. "Encounter" is a sci-fi futuristic journey into a cosmic source of infinite energy. Which brings us to the final titel track, "Totem", fusion music where jazz encounters psychedelic to rock.
Voted 5th Best Australian Blues Rock Album.
Dark Side by Backsliders. iTunes
Dark Side. Sydney's Dom Turner, lead singer-songwriter-bottleneck-guitarist extraordinaire, has a career in the Blues that expands thirty years. This is the Backsliders' 13th album, with twin harmonica aces Brod Smith and Ian Collard, Jim Moginie on keyboards and bass duties, and drummer Rob Hirst. Turner has taken the 12-bar format way beyond its boundaries, while using influences from Jesse Fuller, Skip James and Cajun music. The album starts with some of the Backsliders' classic swamp blues, sometimes in Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion type style, sometimes likened to the Black Keys, while using local lingo for songwriting vocals and credits. Guitar and harmonica are played to the max on "Sixties Girl" and "House on the Corner". Changing pace with "Phone Cap Blues", he juxtaposes old-style acoustic country blues with modern day lyrics. Turning to folk with "Light on Tonight", Turner pays a Cajun tribute to the Balfa Brothers while on a trip to New Orleans.