CD: 11 Songs, 64:00 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, All Original Songs
My family and I recently had a discussion about suffering and greatness. Our general consensus was that no artist can truly become great unless s/he has endured great losses and ordeals, thus inspiring his or her art. No other genre proves this more than the blues does. Combined with a debt-ravaged homeland, Olympian heights are within reach of those who choose to climb them. Or is it a compulsion, this drive to turn the trash of one’s life into treasure? You might ask Theo and the Boogie Sinners, who’ve served up their second CD. In the financial hurricane of 2008, few countries got pummeled as hard as the home of Zeus and Socrates. It’s still recovering, which means Theo Alexiou and his band have a lot to sing about. With hard-driving energy propelled by titan electric guitar, Made with Greece is made to sizzle in listeners’ ears. As an added bonus, all the songs are original, with many composed by guitarist Tommy McCoy. Some of them run a little too long, sounding more like jam sessions than studio takes. However, that’s a minor flaw on this blistering blues-rocker of an album, destined for the summit of blues charts.
Promoter Michael Limnios writes, “The Boogie Sinners rock the blues eight years now in Greece, with weekly gigs all over the country and with an extremely energetic performance on the stage, which turns each gig into a big rock-and-roll dancing party…The band also participated on Angela Brown’s Chicago label Earwig, in Tommy McCoy’s new release, 25 Years Retrospect, sharing the deal into this album with names like Lucky Peterson, Tommy Shannon, and Chris Layton (Double Trouble) and Levon Helm.” This CD, produced in the summer of 2015, also features the finest Greek-origin musicians from the U.S. and Australia.
Theo and the Boogie Sinners are Theo Alexiou on vocals and guitars; Kostas Tenezos on harmonica; Dimitris Georgopoulos on bass, and John Dimoulas on drums. Special guests include John Skyllas on piano and Hammond organ; Nick Kipridis on vocals and slide guitar; Gus Fafalios on guitar; Babis Tsilivigos on saxophones; Simos Kokavesis on slide and rhythm guitar, and the aforementioned Tommy McCoy on rhythm guitar.
The following three songs infuse a powerful dose of Greek zest into American blues.
Track 01: “Blues Party Boogie” – This low-down, throw-down opener will make anyone who listens ditch their chairs and dance like no one cares! Of course, the guitar’s the main attraction, but dig that magnificent harmonica by Kostas Tenezos. It whizzes up and down the musical scale as if its bars were roller coaster tracks. One great thing about this song is that it proves the Sinners are a balanced ensemble, even though there are several guitar heroes among them.
Track 04: “Gone to Marathon” – I picked this one not only for its sing-along title, but also for a snatch of blues lyrics you’ll likely never hear on any other CD: “The fleet of a Persian got a big diversion while we all had to send them away. We came down from the hill and we fought them until they turned and left the very, very next day.” Way to make history hip via a surf-style song. Babis Tsiviligos is sensational on sax.
Track 06: “The King is Gone” – Some fans may complain this song’s too derivative of one of B.B.’s greatest hits, but it sure is a fantastic tribute. Kick back and indulge in adult beverages – or other activities – during this rip-roaring traditional blues track.
Looking for explosive blues rock with a razor’s edge? Savor this entrée Made with Greece!