R’COUP’D/Missing Piece Group
CD: 11 Songs, 41:34 Minutes
Styles: Drone/Trance Blues, Avant-Garde Electric Blues Rock, All Original Songs
True confession: I first listened to Queen’s songs when I was around eleven years old. My dad (blues promoter Skyy Dobro, then a fan of ‘80’s and ‘90’s hits) said, “Queen uses a lot of weird instrumental sounds in their music, but the more you listen to it, the more you’ll like it.” Perhaps that’s the case with Berlin’s Fin “Fink” Greenall, and his Sunday Night Blues Club, Vol. 1. All artists try to put their own spin on their preferred genre, and in that regard, Fink has gone above and beyond the call of duty. Whether his style of blues will appeal to purists and die-hard fans, however, is up for debate. For one thing, it’s of the drone/trance variety. For another, its avant-garde instrumentation is apt to put listeners in a psychedelic trance instead of a funky blues groove. Nothing on this CD sounds like traditional American blues, and for this reviewer, that’s a good thing. Unfortunately for the overall appeal and sales of Fink’s first album, it might not be.
States our protagonist in his promotional letter, “My love of Blues has always been there, before I even knew what it was. Records by John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker and Chuck Berry really spoke to me. For two springs, in 2015 and 2016, I immersed myself in the blues, scouring record stores whilst on tour to inspire and educate myself…to do something raw, rough and live, a record that just was, for its own sake. You’d think that writing blues was easy, but it isn’t…It’s easy to copy, sure, and to cover, definitely, but to write original blues that is more than just a photocopy of the past actually turned out to be quite challenging and natural.”
Such a perceptive description of his journey and musical style come as no surprise, when one finds out that Fink’s music has been featured in the movies Selma and 12 Years a Slave. He’s also collaborated with the late Amy Winehouse, John Legend, and Banks, among many others. He’s amassed over 70 million streams on Spotify, and garnered over 2.2 million followers on Soundcloud. His version of the blues isn’t Otis Rush’s or Big Bill Morganfield’s, but who says it has to be? Fink does his own thing, and makes himself known by not photocopying past masters.
Along with Fink are New Orleans legend David Shirley on drums and also Colin Stetson.
With that said, the song below sounds the most like the kind of blues Americans love to hear.
Track 04: “Boneyard” – Nope, this tune’s not about your dog’s favorite place, but your least favorite if you’re alive and kicking. The guitar intro’s hotter than Hades, the vocals gritty and tinged with regret, and the tempo just right for swaying to the beat – whether on your feet or in your chair. “Take your chances now. Take them, oh, take them,” Fink insists, knowing the end will come for all of us sooner or later. Why waste time procrastinating? The Boneyard awaits.
Fink’s Sunday Night Blues Club may be avant-garde, but its eleven tracks equal an experience!