Altered Five Blues Band – Cryin’ Mercy | Album Review

altered5cdAltered Five Blues Band – Cryin’ Mercy

Omnivibe Records

11 tracks/43 minutes

Altered Five is a slick quintet from Milwaukee comprised of Jeff Taylor on vocals, Jeff Schroedl on guitar, Mark Solveson on bass, Scott Schroedl on drums and Raymond Tevich on keyboards. Tom Hambridge produced this album, their third CD effort and featuring all original material. This album really highlights their great sound and talents.

“Demon Woman” kicks things off with gutsy vocals by Taylor and stinging guitar by Schroedl. I loved the cut and it is a great way to open the album! “I’m In Deep” also features some hot stuff by Taylor and Schroedl and also puts Tevich up front for us to appreciate. His solos play a huge part in making this tune special. They slow down for a cool ballad entitled “Find My Wings,” where Taylor testifies to us sweetly. The organ is the base support for this cut, with Taylor’s vocals and some guitar layered on to savor. “Stay Outta My Business” has Taylor telling his woman in no uncertain terms that he needs his independence. Schroedl punctuates Taylors’ words with an emphatic guitar solo that helps gets the point across.

Getting burned in the affairs of love is the theme of “Counterfeit Lover.” Taylor’s vocals build for emphasis as does Schroedl’s guitar along with Tevich’s organ. Taylor sings of his woman’s material possessions but states, “You got everything, but Baby, I got you” in “I Got You.” Taylor howls, “Who’s Your Lover” to his cheatin’ woman in a driving tune. “Move House” is mean, slow blues of the best sort. Schroedl picks out a dirty opening and then Taylor uses a host of cool but not so subtle double entendres to tell what he wants to do with his woman. Shroedl is powerful throughout on guitar.

“Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry?” is a driving cut with the organ and guitar leading the charge and Taylor singing of the up and down of a relationship where he gets the last word. Nice work again by Schroedl here. “Urgent Care” relates how Taylor needs some medical help after his woman has left him in need of help and not in a good way. Tevich and Schroedl are a huge part of this and Solveson sneaks in a cool bass line throughout. They close with “Back Button,” where Taylor tells us taking chances and living on the edge can have some great results but sometimes he needs a back button to reset his life to get out of the bigger messes. Great solos again by the organ and guitar. The boys do a neat little call and response of “Reset! Reset!” to Taylor’s laments. A fine closer for a an overall fine album!

I was very impressed with this album and all the songs presented. Altered Five is a popular band here in the Midwest and hopefully this album will let the rest of the country and world take notice! I really enjoyed listening to this over and over and I am sure blues fans who like their music hot and soulful with a little R&B thrown in will, too! Taylor’s vocals are super, Shroedl is an outstanding guitar player, Tevich’s organ work is excellent and the backline keeps it all together. There is nothing not to like here- go buy this album now- you won’t regret it!

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