Alpha Sun Records – 2017
CD1: 13 tracks; 69 minutes: CD2: 9 tracks; 44 minutes
Gainesville, North Florida’s Bridget Kelly Band returns with another offering, hot on the heels of their 2016 CD Outta The Blues. That CD and its predecessor Forever In Blues were both all original and Bone Rattler maintains that tradition though this time the band had so much material that two CDs were required! Bridget handles lead vocals with husband and co-writer Tim Fik on guitar and vocals, the rhythm section remaining Mark Albrecht on bass and Alex Klausner on drums; the only additional musician is RB Stone who plays harp on two tracks.
CD1 opens with Bridget singing strongly on “Ain’t Missin’ You”, an energetic rocker with lots of Tim’s guitar. “What You Need” has that classic blues-rock slower number feel with the bass pulse behind Bridget’s vocal and “Levee And The Bridge” is dedicated to the victims of Katrina with Tim playing fast riffs. “Boom Boom” is a catchy little number with RB Stone’s harp work breathlessly impressive and “I Ride Against The Wind” is a standard blues chugger with some wild guitar flourishes. “Goin’ To Chi-Town” is great fun with Tim double-tracking some Elmore James-style slide over his rhythm work and Bridget doing a good job on the vocals as she name-checks some of Chicago’s blues highlights. Tim hits the wah-wah for “Leavin’ On Sunday”, a song that particularly suits Bridget’s voice as she sings of heading away from the relationship; maybe it was the “Same Bad Attitude” that caused the issues? “Outbound Mississippi” has some effective slide work with Tim sharing vocals with Bridget on a lengthy tune which finds the protagonists leaving Mississippi by train for the sunnier south of Florida, the final section being played at blistering pace over some frenetic drumming. “Ghost Train” keeps up the railroad references on a slower blues-rock piece which works well.
CD2 puts the emphasis on Tim’s vocals, not his strong point, but he does play some great guitar on the slow blues “The Dark Night” which contains the ‘Bone Rattler’ line that gives the album its name. “Mr Gaines” has RB Stone’s harp adding to the blues side of the equation though “In My Sorrow” is more rock with plenty of Hendrix-style guitar. The shuffle “I’m So Tired” works well with Tim more relaxed on vocals and producing a very good, ringing solo and he also plays some very nice stuff on “Hambone”, a relaxed affair on which he duets with himself on guitar. The fast-paced “Bad Tornado” finds Tim confronting a wild woman with some suitably manic guitar and Bridget’s first appearance on Disc 2 with some brief backing vocals. “Cell Phone Blues” concerns a very 21st century problem, people spending more time on their cells than with their partners, a slow blues played with panache by Tim before the band ups the pace for the swinging “Cat’s Out The Bag” with Bridget adding a touch of jazz to her vocals.
Why the band decided to feature Bridget’s vocals on one CD and Tim’s on the other is not known but it is clear that Tim is far more a guitar player than singer. The overall effect is a rather bloated set with simply too much frantic guitar and you wish that the band had been more selective in what was issued. A single disc with the best tracks here would have been better, in this reviewer’s opinion.