Dana Gillespie Meets Al Cook and His Original Al Cook Band – Take It Off Slowly
This is a CD of mostly erotic blues done by the European blues singer Dana Gillespie. She started her career in the London music scene in the early 60’s. Now 65 years young, Gillespie has recorded or appeared on over 60 records in here long career and here joins up with the Austrian based Al Cook Band. Al is on acoustic guitar and does some piano work. Charlie Lloyd does most of the piano here, Harry Hudson provides drums and percussion, Karin Daym is on the bass and Wayne Martine sits in on rhythm guitar for “Red Light.”
Gillespie wrote 5 of the cuts here and the other tunes ae all covers. Big Bill Broonzy’s “I want MY Hands on It” starts things off. Cook picks out some guitar and Gillespie growls out the vocals effectively. “No More Waiting” is an original, mixing well with the style and timber of the tunes. Gillespie tells us she’s not waiting for her man anymore because her new one knows what to do. Lilly Mae Kirkman’s “He’s Just My Size” is an old, dirty cut using biscuits and bread as references to make the song fun. Gillespie monas out the lead and the band accompanies her in an old-time style. “Eat Your Heart Out” is an original and the pace picks up here. The washboard gives us the percussion and guitar and piano help lead the charge with the simplistic yet effective lyrics. Up next is the title track, another slow and well done original blues. “Fck Blues” is a cut where Gillespie sings and tells us, “The only thing missing is you.” You can figure out the rest in this fun original tune.
Robert “Washboard Sam” Brown’s “Love Operation” follows. Cook picks out the lead guitar and the piano lays out the basic groove and also does some nice soloing. Gillespie maintains her growl and grit in her paced delivery. The band picks it up for “Red Light,” a fun jump blues piece from Mercy Dee Walton with a blue blues theme. Piano and guitar are featured again and it’s an interesting ride. Eubie Blake’s “My Handy Man” continues the erotic songs as Gillespie tells us all the things her man does in handy fashion. Lil Johnson’s “Press My Button, Ring My Bell” gets brought back for us in this lively cut. The last original is “He Cooks Up a Storm,” where Gillespie tells us of her kitchen man who flames her fires and provides his hot dog as needed. Things finish with an old Brownie McGhee tune, “Auto Mechanic Blues.” A host of auto related double entendres abound as Gillespie sings with her signature nasal tones.
The approach is straight up blues delivered in an old time style. The covers are well done and stay true to the original performances and the new tunes are done in the post war blues style. Gillespie’s vocals remain consistent in her gritty and nasally approach, giving the songs an authentic and old style feel. The band also plays as if they are from an old, American juke joint instead of being in Al Cook’s Blues Kitchen in Vienna, Austria. It’s fun, it’s not stuff you hear ever day and if’ you want to here some “blue” styled blues, then maybe this one’s for you!