Brian Carpy – Rockin’ Bollocks | Album Review

briancarpycdBrian Carpy – Rockin’ Bollocks

Bamboo Groove Records

www.carpydiem.com

9 songs – 47 minutes

Don’t be fooled by this CD cover. The proper, pipe-smoking gentleman pictured isn’t purveying middle-of-the-road music suitable for your grandmother. He’s delivering his own quirky version of Chicago blues, and doing it with gusto.

A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Brian Carpy fell in love with the blues as a teenager through the backdoor by listening to Jimi Hendrix and Cream. Before he reached drinking age, he was already singing and playing guitar professionally in the rough pubs of his homeland. He became an unpaid full-time volunteer at a soup kitchen in the Windy City in order to craft his trade. For two years, he did charity work by day and hung out at the best clubs at night.

The time paid off in spades. So much so, in fact, that two of the most important men in Chicago blues – legendary producer/writer Dick Shurman and Alligator Records owner Bruce Iglauer – both endorsed him on this debut CD, calling attention to his “mature, subtle soloing” and noting that he promises “more good things to come.”

He’s backed here by some of the best sidemen in town, including Marty Binder on drums, Chris Foreman on keyboards and Ari Seder on bass. Marty Salmon makes a guest appearance on keys as does Ron Sorin on harmonica. The album includes eight well chosen covers and one original.

Carpy launches into an extended single-note guitar intro for the Smokin’ Joe Kubek/Bnois King hit “I Gotta Have It.” Despite his foreign birth, American audiences will find his vocal delivery free of any accent whatsoever. And his work on the fretboard is rock-steady, crisp and clean in this three-piece band format. Next up is “Bad Intentions,” written by Joe Scott and made popular by Bobby Blue Bland. It features another guitar lead-in in which Brian delivers a run of notes in a pattern that will be fresh to blues veterans’ ears. A much longer and different run fills most of the remainder of the track.

A nine-minute cover of Ronnie Earl’s minor key classic “That’s When My Soul Comes Down” displays plenty of Carpy’s unorthodox guitar stylings while doing the author proud. The sole original track, “Hangin’,” follows. It’s a single-note instrumental with jump blues overtones, and it provides plenty of space for a solid solo by Foreman. The pace slows for Rick Estrin and Rusty Zinn’s impassioned song about the end of a love affair, “Dyin’ On The Vine,” before quickening a little for Anson Funderburgh and Sam Myers’ “Change In My Pocket,” featuring a sterling solo by Salmon on the 88s.

The band adopts a true Chicago feel for the Darrell Nulisch penned instrumental “At Cha Mama Nims” with Sorin and Foreman featured prominently before the Earl King classic, “Man Needs Loving All The Time.” Kim Wilson’s “Postman” concludes the successful set.

Available through the artist’s website or from any of the major online marketers, this debut disc displays the talents of a mature player on the verge of becoming a major talent.

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