CD: 11 Songs, 52:23 Minutes
Styles: Blues Covers, Harmonica Monster Blues, Contemporary Electric Blues Rock
At the start of summer, when it’s finally time to break out the grill (far out!), no one grumbles, “Hamburgers again? Hot dogs again? Brats and steaks again?” Grill food is grill food, and blues classics are the ultimate savories for the soul. Keep that in mind, Constant Readers, as you listen to Argentina’s Cesar Valdomir and the Blue Midnight’s Working for the Blues. Only three out of this CD’s eleven songs are originals. Several of the others are covers as perennial as charbroiled meat: Muddy Waters’ “I Can’t Be Satisfied,” the traditional Gospel tune “John the Revelator,” and Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me to Do.” On the plus side, the album gave yours truly a chance to coin a new “Style” category: “Harmonica Monster Blues.” Cesar Valdomir pours on the harp hot sauce until the spiciness sears your ears, making you go, “Yow!” When it comes to vocals, Cesar’s accent is heavy, but so is his dedication to the genre. He frequently allows his co-stars to take the lead, like special guest John Primer on tracks three and eleven.
The “Bio” section of our harmonica hero’s corner of the Web discloses some interesting details: “Cesar Valdomir was born in Buenos Aires on January 11, 1977. His first steps [in] harmonica [were taken] from 1994 in Buenos Aires with different teachers there. He also attended clinics Carlos del Junco (Canada) with which also took private lessons and Rick Estrin (USA) constantly continuing formation and evolution as a self-taught [harmonica master].” Note from this reviewer: His site has been translated from Spanish to English, and the liner notes of his latest CD, listing all the musicians on it, is completely in Cesar’s native tongue. Fear not! I studied Spanish in high school and college, so I can discern “voz” (voice) from “bajo” (bass).
Co-performing with Valdomir, lead vocalist, harmonist and bassist, are guitarists Alejandro Saul, John Primer, Santiago “Rulo” García, and Daniel De Vita; additional vocalists John Primer, Lorena Gomez, Matias Lubrina, Meli Gutierrez, Lucas Salvatierra, Juli Villarreal, Juano Maldonado, and Malen Panichelli; bassists Mauro Diana, León Perez, Lucas Velich, and Mariano D’Andrea; drummers Walter Loscocco, Charly Pereira, and Pato Raffo; Louis Zavala on piano and Hammond organ; Nico Raffetta on piano, and Dante Medina on tenor saxophone.
The album’s original title number shows just how much hard effort goes into performing.
Track 02: “Working for the Blues” – A piano-and-harmonica boogie, track two is easily the most danceable ditty on the CD. The lyrics may be a bit hard to understand, but so what? Anybody can sing along with the refrain, and as for the instrumentation? When a band “meshes” with its lead artist the way the Blue Midnight does with Cesar Valdomir, magic happens. His harmonica’s near the tip-top of all top notches, and Luis Zavala’s tinkling ivory keys are, too.
Harmonica monster Cesar Valdomir should definitely keep on Working for the Blues!