Lowdown Records – 2017
10 tracks; 57 minutes
Howlin’ So Long is Chris English’s fourth album release, a live set recorded at several venues in and around Salisbury, Maryland. The core band is Chris on vocals, guitar and harp, Jessica English on piano/organ, Grayson English on bass, Greg Schneider on drums and Ted Nichols on percussion. Chris wrote five of the songs and there are five covers. The material is mainly straight up blues though the band does wander into a country vein on “Scratching My Tattoo” and converts “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” into a frantic country romp. The extended closer “Turn On Your Lovelight” stretches out in jam band style but does rather outstay its welcome.
Unfortunately, for this reviewer, Chris’ distinctive vocals remain an acquired taste but the following three songs work well:
“I Love Guitars”, an original with some amusing lyrics sung to a Bo Diddley beat: “Don’t tune ‘em too tight or they’ll get mean. I tell you man they make life worth living, I love guitars, they’re just like women.”
The upbeat boogie “Shake It (Little Baby)” is also Chris’ song and rocks along well with some nice picking from Chris
Chris starts off Muddy’s “Two Trains Running” on both harp and guitar with Jessica’s eerie keyboards in the background. This extended version of the song gives plenty of space for the band to build the tension in the song to good effect and for everyone to shine, notably bassist Grayson