The Acoustic Pete Blues Trio – 3 Of A Kind
Deep Blue Sea Records
12 songs – 66 minutes
Based in Sarasota, Fla., The Acoustic Pete Blues Trio is an enigmatic group fronted by vocalist Pete Arevalo in a partnership with fellow guitarists Berry Duane Oakley and Pedro Arevalo, who’s most notably known for wielding the bass behind Dickey Betts & Great Southern.
Despite the name, however, the band is augmented by musicians and family members on Florida’s Gulf Coast, where 3 Of A Kind was captured live before an audience at Spirit Ranch Recording Studio for a label owned by the lead singer.
Without an internet presence it’s difficult to find more information about Pete. But fortunately, the liner notes are rich regarding sidemen and material. Pete’s backed here by Richard “Doc” Burton on flute and saxophone, Richard Leps on violin, Steve Scott on harmonica, Thorson Moore on electric guitar, Garrett Dawson on drums and Jeffrey Arevalo on bass with Jenni Arevalo on backing vocals.
All of the material feature pleasant, weathered vocals atop a well-balanced instrumental mix that gives everyone space to stretch out. Written almost a century ago during Prohibition, the Mississippi Sheik’s “Bootlegger Blues,” opens the set, featuring Pedro on slide as it stresses: “You gotta make it through this world if you can.” Next up, “Poor Boy” is a bittersweet seven-minute opus penned by Pete, but it addresses the conditions of slaves and, later, men incarcerated at Mississippi’s Parchman Farm prison, describing their torment and hoping that they’ve been looked after from Heaven.
A sprightly cover of Eric Bibb’s “Build A New Home” precedes the original “She Saved My Soul,” an electric blues that features sings praise for a lady who performed her magic out of the goodness of her heart. An airy version of the traditional “Deep Blue Sea,” based on a version by Alvin Youngblood Hart, follows before the original slow-blues cover tune, “3 Of A Kind,” portrays what Pete says is a purely fictional musical family who hand down the tradition from one generation to another.
The music picks up steam for “Not Today,” a loping seven-minute romp about a man named Junior who doesn’t want to work, drinks too much and makes plans, but not much more. It features an extended harp solo. Next up, the band covers “Wish You Could See Me.” Penned by the late Randy Tracy, it’s an interesting tune that plays off the way a man’s viewed with the way he wishes he was.
“Girl On The Hill” follows and describes a true love who breaks the singer’s heart, but still reminds him of the lady he’s with now, while “Blues Is Talkin’” plays off of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talkin’” as it describes a woman who’s up and gone. Two covers – versions of the Delta Generators’ “Read That Letter” and Betts’ “Blue Sky” – finish the album off.
Available from CDBaby, 3 Of Kind includes some fine picking. And the interesting originals will offer a pleasant diversion for lovers of acoustic blues.