Mad Ears Productions
CD: 12 Songs; 48:20 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues, Harmonica Blues, Southern Blues Rock
One main cause for playing the blues is being plagued by Whiskey and Demons, as the UK’s Dave Hunt boldly proclaims on his new album. As his promotional information sheet raves, it’s “an exciting mix of Delta Blues, Southern Rock, and harmonica-driven Rhythm and Blues”. As a little kid, Hunt played drums to “The Little Red Rooster,” and the rest is European blues history.
He turned pro at age 18 and toured Germany, but during a trip to Frankfurt, his lead singer became so sick that she had to return to England. When Dave got a taste of a “front man’s” life and took over lead vocals, he never went back to playing the drums again. He performed in the bands Grecco and Snatch in the 1970’s, and in Spain, he worked with the Blues Thunder Band. Hunt’s gained a lot of recognition playing at prestigious blues festivals in Europe, and even for Harley Davidson and Fiesta gigs. His debut album, Box Full of Blues, received airplay from Paul Jones on BBC Radio 2. It also reached the top 20 in the Independent Blues Broadcasters’ Association (IBBA) chart, and was voted Album of the Week in the Hit Tracks Top 100.
With Hunt as he performs lead vocals, harmonica, guitar, bass and mandolin are producer/engineer Andy Littlewood on guitars, keyboards and backing vocals; Mick Simpson on lead guitar; Pete Nelson on drums and percussion; and the MEP Collective on horns and brass. All twelve tracks were either written or co-written by Dave, with his bandmates collaborating. His musical style is reminiscent of Tim “Too Slim” Langford and the Taildraggers, instrumentally and vocally. On balance, he leans more to the rock side of blues, but his energy and good-natured, conversational tone make up for this minor flaw. These three are surefire hits:
Track 02: “Mississippi Blues” – This soulful stomp will let listeners know the reason why Dave Hunt’s nickname is “Harmonicadave”, especially the intro. Our narrator’s life is a hard one, filled with toil and whiskey: “When the day is done, I go to drinking at the still on my way home. Sometimes, devil on my back, whiskey on my breath, and back at the shack – My woman holler, ‘Where’s a dollar?’”
Track 03: “Whiskey and Demons” – One of the most popular blues myths is Robert Johnson’s Faustian bargain at the crossroads. Lucky number three describes it well, detailing what Old Scratch says. Our narrator seeks to rescue an entrapped soul from his clutches: “With whiskey and demons, he calls you in the night. Got mojo, going to try to save you, but the Devil’s holding tight.” There’s great electric guitar in this title track.
Track 04: “Roadhouse Rosie” – Owners of taverns in the middle of nowhere have to be tough, as this brilliant line shows: “There’s fighting and blood and bottles flying through the air. The band keeps rocking, safe behind that chicken wire.” This rocker ROCKS.
Blues rock fans, let Whiskey and Demons come to haunt you!