If you look hard enough, you will find smoking hot blues in every state in the union, and South Carolina is no exception. Elliot and the Untouchables from the Palmetto State has released four excellent albums, and the band’s latest effort, Bloodhound, is a solid piece of work. The band is fronted by Elliott New on lead vocals, guitar and harp, and he formed The Untouchables in 1991 with drummer Jim Heidenreich. Other members of the crew include J.T. Anderson on bass, Ken Largent on keyboards, Sonny Dickey on saxophone, and Russ Marchese on the trumpet. There is nothing like blues with well arranged horns!
Elliott did a lot of heavy lifting for this project, acting as producer and writing all eleven of the tracks in this 53-minute set that was recorded at Lakeside Studios in Chapin, South Carolina. New was also behind the recording console so if there is anything is wrong here, it is pretty much Elliott’s fault – but he did a great job. You will hear this when the album kicks off with the title track. “Bloodhound,” which is a tight modern blues song with a sweet mix that does not really require any player to stand out, though Marchese and Dickey do tear off super sweet solos on their horns.
A special guest, Vern Prosser, is featured on organ in “Hungry for Your Love,” and this piece of 1970s-inspired funk is a wonderful showcase for Elliot’s soulful vocals and guitar chops, as well as a very tight horn arrangement. Like the opener, this tune delivers the story of a man who is craving love, a theme that can be found throughout the album.
You will note that Elliot and the Untouchables cover a lot of ground on Bloodhound, as they draw inspiration from many of the blues sub-genres. “Lost All I Ever Wanted” is a lovely bit of horn and piano driven Chicago Blues with a classic feel that is an apt accompaniment to New’s emotional vocals. Then there is the hard blues-rock of “Sweet Marie” with its driving beat and distorted vocals. Also, the band is not afraid to bring the funk out, as evidenced by “Tell Me Why” which has a more stripped down arrangement that provides a neat change of pace. And then there is one of the standout tracks, the swinging “Till I Found You” with its incredible organ work from Largent. There is a little something for everybody here, and if you are a blues fan you will appreciate what this crew has put together.
This is a solid set, and when the Untouchables close out with the upbeat “Jack and Jill,” it leaves the listener craving more. This is a wonderful coda that acts as a showcase for the musicians, with Largent hammering the keyboards, New rocking out on distorted slide guitar, Heidenreich and Anderson holding down the bottom end, and lovely solos from Dickey and Marchese. What more could you want?
Bloodhound is a tremendous effort from Elliott and the Untouchables Blues Band, and there is not a clunker to be found anywhere in this 53-minute set. If you like your blues served up with horns, harp and Hammond organ, you will find something to like on every track of Bloodhound. Check it out for yourself and see what you think: I think you will be impressed!