Shawn Pittman – Make It Right!
Continental Blue Heaven
13 songs – 47 minutes
Recorded last October during a couple days off in the midst of a European tour, the latest from guitarist Shawn Pittman finds him making a joyous noise with the father-son team of Erkan Ozdemir on bass and Levent Ozdemir on drums. Using the analog equipment at the Heyman Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark, the trio tears through a program of eight Pittman originals and five covers, every track bursting with the kind of kinetic energy that is usually reserved for live performances.
The opener, “Done Told You So,” makes it clear that this album won’t be for the faint of heart. Sounding like they are coming to you straight out of Mississippi juke joint, Pittman warns a friend about a no-good woman, the song’s tone making clear that he speaks from experience. The next track comes from Albert King. “Finger On The Trigger” has Pittman bending piercing notes over a funky rhythm that pays tribute to the legendary guitarist.
A cover of Eddie Taylor’s “There Will Be A Day” features a prominent bass line from Erkam, with Pittman switching to smooth, single note runs, ending the cut with one of his many memorable solo efforts. Pittman returns to Mississippi hill country for a cover of Junior Kimbrough’s “I Feel Good,” making it clear that he is adept at Kimbrough’s “trance” style, accented with a fittingly distorted vocal.
Pittman’s guitar prowess is on full display during an instrumental take on the James Brown classic, “Cold Sweat.” It is four minutes of impressive fretwork with a Jimmie Vaughan Tex-Mex Stratocaster run through a 1967 Fender Super reverb amplifier, as noted in Pittman’s liner notes. That combo sounded so good that Pittman used it again on a stirring cover of the Bobby ‘Blue” Bland hit “Woke Up Screaming.” His gritty vocal nicely plays off his crisp guitar work.
The title track puts Erkam Ozdemir in the spotlight, his muscular drumming the only accompaniment for Pittman’s guitar on a tune with a driving boogie beat. The minor key slow blues “”How Long” is another standout, as Pittman honors the influence of Magic Sam and Otis Rush with six minutes of impassioned guitar.. “For Right Now” takes a different tack, offering a hopeful view of life wrapped up in a decidedly soulful vein, with plenty of reverb during the guitar solo, and vocal assistance from the rhythm section.
“Let It Go” ventures into Jimmy Reed territory, Pittman’s guitar filling in for the usual harmonica part over a dark, sturdy, loping rhythm. The downtrodden mood continues on “Fair Weather Friend,” another haunting slow blues that recalls the artistry of Lightnin’ Hopkins. The closer, “I’m Done,” is a rocking tune with loads of nasty tone, compliments of Pittman’s slide guitar channeling the work of Hound Dog Taylor.
Pittman dedicates the disc to the memory of Tom Hyslop, noted blues writer and life-long music fan who passed away earlier this year. No doubt Tom would have found plenty of superlatives to describe this outstanding recording. Twelve songs of deep, elemental blues performed by Pittman and the Ozdemirs, straight from the heart with no frills. Wholeheartedly recommended!