10 songs – 37 minutes
Vin Mott’s debut release Quit The Women For The Blues is an entertaining slab of modern harmonica-led blues that openly displays the notable influence of several first-generation electric blues icons as well as second generation stars such as the Paul Butterfield Band.
The title track kicks off proceedings with a heavy nod to Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor”, albeit with a slice of modern day attitude. Guitarist Sean Ronan even recalls the great Hubert Sumlin in his gloriously teetering-on-the-edge-of-control solo, while Mott’s harmonica playing recalls the power and aggression of James Cotton.
Ronan and Mott swap solos throughout the album, and are both top drawer soloists. Mott is especially impressive on rocking harp showcase that closes the album, “Hott Mott’s Theme”, while Ronan’s solo on “The Factory” is one of several stand-out moments on the album. The rhythm section of Andrei Koribanics on drums and Dean Shot on upright and electric bass excel in laying down a variety of tasty grooves throughout Quit The Women For The Blues, from the swinging shuffle of “Make Up Your Mind” and the old-fashioned rock’n’roll of “Don’t Make Me Laugh” to the classic rumba-with-a-shuffle-middle-section of “I Wanna Get Ruff With You”. Phil Silverberg also adds subtle organ to four tracks, perhaps most effectively to the fine ballad, “Living The Blues”.
While the production on the album is very modern, the structures of the songs themselves have a very 50’s feel to them. “I’m A Filthy Man” features Ronan on slide guitar re-working Elmore James’ old “Dust My Broom” riff; the stop choruses of the upbeat “Freight Train” do not distinguish it materially from Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train”; and the 8-bar shuffle of “Ol’ Greasy Blues” even borrows a couple of lyrics from Big Bill Broonzy’s “Key To The Highway” as well as the vocal melody. New Jersey native Mott wrote all ten tracks and he deserves credit for keeping one foot in the past whilst adding a modern perspective to tracks like “The Factory”, where his protagonist declares “I can’t drink no more whiskey, I can’t smoke no more weed. I can’t do no more cocaine, but that’s what I need. This living ain’t no living. I’ve been beaten down by the factory.”
Vin Mott is a young man and he will no doubt continue to develop his talents. At the moment, it is fair to say that his singing voice does not have the depth or subtlety of his harp playing although it does work well on the angrier, more aggressive songs (which is no bad thing because this is not an album of pretty love songs).
There is a sense of attitude and urgency about Quit The Women For The Blues, which sounds like it was recorded live. Certainly, on the evidence of this album, it is easy to imagine Mott and his band tearing up bars and giving superb live shows. There is a sense of early George Thorogood in the way the band goes about its business. Overall, Quit The Women For The Blues is an impressive debut from Vin Mott and this reviewer looks forward to more from this band.