AWEK – Let’s Party Down
14 songs time-58:38
Twenty five years into a solid European blues career and I’m just hearing about this magnificent French blues band. With just guitar, bass, drums and harmonica they create a full sound as you hear on the bonus live CD. Of course on the studio CD the sound is fleshed out by various friends on keyboards, guitar and sax. Norwegian blues wunderkind Kid Andersen assisted with production at his Greaseland Studio in San Jose, California. If I didn’t tell you they were from France you could never guess in a million years. They have the foundation of the blues formula down, while breathing fresh life into it. Bernard Sellam is in possession of a gruff enough blues voice to go along with his imaginative skills on guitar. Stephane Bertolino’s in your face harmonica playing is at no loss at delivering a slew of inventive runs. AWEK’s rhythm section of Joel Ferron on bass and Olivier Trebel on drums is up on the task and following the guys at every turn. On originals or covers everything is first rate.
Burns contributes organ to the funky beat of “Every Time”. Solid song writing and musicianship are intact here and throughout the recording. Every song is chock full of great guitar and harmonica riffing. Bob Welsh adds his slide guitar to the deep blues sound of “Snake Boy”. Bernard goes the rock and roll guitar route on “Can’t Stop Thinking” and “Oh Cherie” as he channels Chuck Berry style riffs. Drew Davies plays sax on the former. Kid Andersen Plays organ on the boisterous jump blues of the title track. Stephane let’s his harmonica go wonderfully wild here. Guest Rusty Zinn handles guitar and vocals on an energetic take on B.B. King’s “Early Every Morning”. Bob Welsh adds his boogie woogie piano into the mix. They offer up a strong version of Jr. Wells’ “Come On In This House”.
The CD closes out with the slow blues of “Here I Am Again” and the chugging “I’ve Been Waiting”. The guitar and harmonica playing are just as fresh from CD’s beginning to end.
If this isn’t enough we also received a bonus CD of live performances from 1999 to 2017 with this album. Left to just the four piece band they maintain a full sound. It’s a mix of Chicago blues, jump blues with one instrumental thrown in. The final song is the only studio track and it’s from their initial studio recording from 1995. It is Hank Williams’ “Honky Tonk Blues”. It’s pretty straight country. Go figure.
There is way more enough great blues music here to please somebody with a passing interest in the blues. True blues lovers will be in blues heaven.