Blues Delight – Working On It
Blues Del Records – BLUCD-9016
12 songs – 48 minutes
Blues Delight is five-piece ensemble of veteran musicians under the direction of producer Vincent Beaulne from Montreal, Canada. They deliver this package of all-original, modern blues with gusto and sensibility, throwing in a taste of jazz good measure.
Formed about five years ago with two previous CDs to their credit, the band consists of Beaulne, the artistic director of Montreal’s International Jazz Festival Blues Camp, on lead guitar and vocals with Laurent Trudel switching off among guitar, harmonica, violin and vocals, longtime Montreal jazz mainstay Dave Turner on alto and baritone sax, Gilles Schetagne on drums and Marco Desgagne on bass. Carmelle Brodeur-Gauvin and Laurence Lafond-Beaulne add backing vocals. Their presentation finds a nice, comfortable pocket from the jump and swings steadily throughout.
The disc kicks off with the title cut, “Working On It,” an uptempo tune any musician or person in love with one can relate to. In this instance, the singer’s lady doesn’t necessarily like his friends or his blues. He heads straight home to keep the peace and assures her that “music from the soul will never die.” “Let’s Go Downtown” is a funky plea to break free from the burdens and responsibilities of life by having a night out with a bottle of wine. The song features a strong horn run from Turner, as does “Bad Girl” a minor-key rocker that describes a “mean and lean freedom machine” who practices cold moves while the band lays down warm tones. Beaulne works out on the six-string for a sweet break mid-tune.
The pace slows for the understated, but guitar-driven “B Is For Blues” in which the singer recalls walking in the rain, feeling sadness and shame while thinking about a woman he loves too much. Compared to the tunes that precede it, this song is simple in complexity, but strong in feeling and delivery. A definite keeper. “Dirty Riff” gives the band a chance to stretch their legs instrumentally to a funky groove.
“Ride The Sky” takes the listener straight to the Mississippi Delta, driven forward by a steady harmonica line from Trudel. The ride takes place on a raven’s wings at dawn, when the “only light is you.” Turner’s horn riff takes the song to another level. Beaulne trades guitar for dobro on “Bad Wind,” in which the change in weather foretells a change in fortune. The mellow “Look At What You Done” features Beaulne as he sings about a woman who rejects his true love because she’s built a wall around her heart and can’t see the truth. Sadly, he’s moving on because he can’t wait any more.
Trudel’s violin work gives “Outlaw” a slight Arcadian feel as Beaulne goes acoustic to sing about his prowess as “the most dangerous man you’ll ever know” and the knowledge that his career won’t end well. The tone changes dramatically with “Boom,” a jazz-flavored, uptempo, stop-time tune with a great musical hook about the effects of very potent alcohol. The slow blues “Never Mind” follows before the instrumental “I Will Miss You” finishes the disc with a florish.
Blues Delight don’t serve up a plate of Memphis-style ribs, collard greens and cornbread. Their platter consists more of Montreal-style smoked meat,a heaping helping of fries smothered in poutine with a Montreal bagel on the side. But it’s an extremely tasty dish nonetheless. A rock-solid offering from beginning to end.
Reviewer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. His first experience with live music came at the feet of the first generation of blues legends at the Newport Folk Festivals in the 1960s. A former member of the Chicago blues community, he’s a professional journalist and blues harmonica player who co-founded the Nucklebusters, one of the hardest working bands in South Florida.