Blue & Lonesome Duo – Pacing the Floor
14 tracks/47 minutes
Blue & Lonesome Duo is Li’l Ronnie Owens and Gordon Harrower who join forces for a duo effort showcasing 9 great covers and 5 equally good original cuts. Li’L Ronnie sings and plays harp along with providing foot drums (kick drum and Hi-Hat). Harrower is on guitar and vocals; the two of them team up like Cephas and Wiggins or Sonny and Brownie to delight the listener with vibrant, down home music.
The original music is interspersed with the covers and does not interrupt the flow of great music. “Wine Headed Woman” (track 2) is the first new tune. It’s got a vibrant guitar groove and some mean harp work. Owens growls out the distorted vocal lead and does a lot of up front cool harp work. Track 6 is “Too Fats for Conditions” and features the vocal lead sparring with slide and harp. The guitar gets some pretty solo time and is featured here- well done!
The title track is in 8th position, a bouncy number about waiting up for a late night carousing partner. The harp is the featured instrument here as the vocal line bemoans a woman chasing another man. The 12th track is “Can’t Buy My Love;” here we get some distorted electric guitar for a groove with Ronnie testifying on the harp oh-so-sweetly. “More Than Eye Candy” is the final track with more electric guitar. It’s an amusing cut with the guy complaining to his woman that he’s just eye candy and a great finish to a fine CD.
The first cover is David “Honeyboy” Edwards’ “Drop Down Mama” and opens the CD. It’s got a cool a down home style and the kick drum and cymbals maintain the flow. Harp and vocals trade licks and the harp gets featured int he first big solo. “Mean Red Spider” is a Muddy Waters tune with a well done harp solo with guitar layered on top of it. The presentation is slow and sublime. Jimmy Rogers “Act Like You Love Me” follows, giving us a big up tick in tempo and a more blazing harp solo. The traditional “Careless Love ” is next up, slowing things back down to a well done front porch sort of ballad of sorts. Owens whines and moans out the vocal lead and the harp is equal to maintaining the mood. The guitar fills and steps in here and there as a good punctuation. “Needed Time” is a Lightning Hopkins gospel tune paced out beautifully delivered with emotion. The harp pretty much gets featured in the instrumental portion but the guitar is right in the thick of it, too.
James Brown’s “Try Me” is up after the title track. It’s kind of like what soul music would have been had it been played on front porches as blues in the 19th century. It’s a little odd and a little cool at the same time and by the time it’s over you just say, “Wow.” Things get a groove going in Eddie Taylor’s “Country Boy.” Harrower picks out some of the low strings on his electric guitar to set the pace and Owen’s harp and vocals shine. “Out On the Road” is deep blues from Jimmy Rogers that the duo delivers up just fine. The harp moans and the guitar follows; very nice stuff. Slim Harp’s “Raining In My Heart” is the last cover as the 13th track. The electric guitar and harp give a sweet intro and then Li’L Ronnie testifies to us. A beautiful slow blues with lots of homespun harp.
This is a really fun and fine album. The duo of Owens and Harrower are authentic and fresh in their approach. It’s traditional but with a great delivery that makes things sound new and interesting. If you like your blues on the front porch and up close and personal then this is the CD for you!
As Mark Wenner from the Nighthawks states in the liner notes, Even if there’s a little amplification, this is music to crack a couple of cold ones on a a Saturday evening.” “Nuf said.