Chris Cain – Self Titled | Album Review

Chris Cain – Self Titled

Featuring Larry Taylor/Tony Braunagel/Jim Pugh/Nancy Wright

Little Village Foundation

10 songs time-39:36

One of the great mysteries of the blues world is why Chris Cain’s profile isn’t higher. He is an above average guitar slinger and has a great weathered voice that harkens back to the legendary blues crooners of the past, plus he’s no slouch on piano and saxophone. Writes great songs too. He’s been doing his blues thing for quite a while. Maybe his concentrating mainly on performing in California, the west coast and overseas has detracted from his recognition on the east coast and the mid west. If you need evidence to back up my claims of his blues acumen check out this CD and some smokin’ videos on You Tube. The guy is a natural bluesman. On this effort he has very able backing in Larry Taylor(Canned Heat, John Mayall) on bass, Tony Braunagel(Taj Mahal) on drums, Jim Pugh(Robert Cray) on keyboards and Nancy Wright on sax, among others. He has written or co-written eight of the tracks here along with two well conceived cover songs.

Much of what is included here is his energetic take on Chicago blues featuring his energetic and inventive guitar prowess in songs like “Meanest Woman In Down”, “Tired Of The Way You Do” and the slow late night blues of “Sitting Here Wondering”, all penned by Cain. He plays very well done piano along with guitar on the latter. His take on Albert King’s “You’re Gonna Need Me” is very much in Albert’s shadow with it’s hard guitar attack bolstered by a powerful horn section.

Chris plays elegantly jazz-tinged guitar on the slow and moody “Tell Tale Signs”. The positive “Back On Top” is gospel-fired blues with B.B. King style guitar, churchy organ and female backing vocals. Another change of pace is his version of Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s signature song “Kidney Stew”, where his vocal owes a bit to Big Joe Turner. Chris handles all sax parts along with guitar chores on this one over Larry Taylor’s “walking” bass line.

Chris and friends pretty much have it all covered on this CD. They keep one foot in the past blues tradition while creating something fresh and current. Chris is well versed in many guitar styles and his vocals are wise beyond his years. He should be much more well known. It’s just one of those go figure things. His hand picked group of seasoned musicians prop up his music. It doesn’t get any better than this.

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