Rockin’ Johnny Burgin & Quiqué Gomez – Dos Hombres Wanted
VizzTone Label Group VT-JB01
14 songs – 65 minutes
Guitarist Rockin’ Johnny Burgin and Spanish-born harmonica player Quiqué Gomez have both made names for themselves internationally through the years, but hook up for the first time here to produce a disc certain to please anyone with a love for Chicago blues.
It’s truly the meeting of two worlds. With a pedigree that includes seven successful albums on the Delmark label, Like Elvin Bishop before him, Bergin arrived in the Windy City as a student at the University Of Chicago, but quickly became deeply involved with blues. A fixture in the Windy City for two decades before relocating to San Francisco, he cut his teeth touring with Taildragger, Pinetop Perkins and Say Lay before launching his own band, a unit that frequently featured Jimmy Burns on vocals. A proponent of the West Side sound, he also plays solo and duo shows, must recently a West Coast Meets Chicago act with India-born harp master Aki Kumar.
Hailing from Madrid and deeply imbued with the Windy City sound, Gomez also plays guitar and mandolin. He formed his first band, Juan Bourbon Juan Scoth & Juan Beer, at age 20 and has been a fixture on both sides of the Atlantic since 2008. With a dozen CDs to his credit, he splits his time between Europe, where he fronts his quintet, The Vipers, and the U.S., where he’s worked with John Primer, Eddie C. Campbell, Bob Stroger and Willie Buck, among others. In his spare time, he also sings Sinatra tunes with a Spanish band and swing with the New York-based Bob Sands Big Band.
Recorded at Alnico Studio in Austin and Casa De Madera in Toledo, Spain, and mixed and mastered by Kid Andersen at Greaseland Studios in California, Burgin and Gomez are backed by Eric Przygocki (bass) and Stephen Dougherty (drums) for most of the outing with guest appearances by guitarist Josh Fulero, harp player Greg Izor, keyboard player Christian Dozzler and trombonist Faris Jarrah. David Salvador Fructuoso (bass) and Pablo Baréz Del Cueto (drums) handle rhythm for three cuts captured in Spain.
A collection of 12 originals and two covers, the disc opens with “Your Charm Won’t Help You,” a percussive shuffle driven by Johnny’s stinging guitar and vocals and Quiqué laying down harp runs that would make the masters smile. Gomez takes the mike for “Take It Like It Is,” a plea to his lady to stop her bitching or he’s leaving for good, and the jump blues, “You Can’t Steal My Sugar,” which warns that it doesn’t matter how much money you have, you’ll never take his gal.
Burgin’s in command for the haunting “The Jinx,” which reeks of the Delta, before giving way to Quiqué a stylish, slow-paced cover of Robert Jr. Lockwood’s “Funny But True.” The sound shifts slightly toward New Orleans with Dozzler on accordion for “Ain’t No High Roller” before “Everybody Loves My Baby,” delivered with a true Windy City feel. It flows into the slow-and-steady “Coffee Can Blues,” which bemoans a life of struggle after saving every penny for a woman who cheated before she ran, a theme that continues with the six-minute “Livin’ Day To Day.”
The sprightly, Spanish language “Otro Hombre” – translated “Another Man” – follows before the funky “Step It Up Bro” comes across with a ‘30s feel. Two more originals — “The Right To Hurt Me” and “Are You Ever” – follow before a tasty cover of Tampa Red’s “Don’t Blame Shorty.”
Bergin and Gomez work together throughout with hand-and-glove precision, effortlessly sharing the spotlight. The material’s fresh and swings from the jump, but would also fit comfortably in an earlier era. If you’re a traditionalist like me, you’ll love it.