Big Dave Mclean – Pocket Full Of Nothin’
12 songs time – 48:33
On this his seventh album Winnipeg, Canada resident Big Dave Mclean has assembled a fine troupe of musicians to accompany him. His music is loosely based on the blues with other influences coming to the fore. The only drawback being Dave’s limited voice that comes off somewhere between talking and singing. He sounds like Bill Murray’s character in “Caddy Shack”. The music and arrangements are such that this concern kind of falls by the wayside. The instruments achieve a varied sound with lots of interplay and time for soloing. This is the first time he has employed a full horn section. It really fleshes out the sound.
In “Songs Of The Blues” he rattles off a litany of blues greats with Steve Dawson on his fine slide guitar and the afore mentioned horn section in tow. Weird and abrupt cut off ending. “Backwards Fool” has an old-timey feel to it and a nice trumpet solo by Malcolm Aiken. There is an upbeat vibe propelled by an exuberant horn section on “All Day Party”.
J.B. Lenoir’s “Voodoo Music” is a good rendition featuring Chris Gestrin on organ and Steve Dawson’s hypnotic slide guitar. “Just To Be With You” does Muddy Waters’ memory proud via grinding organ and slithering slide guitar. The incessant beat and Dave’s vocal rant doesn’t hurt any either. He preaches good common sense advice regarding how to treat a woman.
The Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider” suffers from too slow of a pace that drains the soul out of it. “Manitoba Mud” is kind of an ode to the joys of desperation where the title of the album comes from. Dave closes out things with a song of positivity with “There Will Always Be A Change”.
Musicianship and production save the day here overcoming Dave’s vocal shortcomings, but not his lack of spirit. Roots music, blues, old timey music all meet here to combine for a full musical onslaught. The intertwining of various instruments insures much enjoyment for the listeners.