Eric’s Blues Band – Rolling Avenue | Album Review

Eric’s Blues Band – Rolling Avenue

EBB Records

10 tracks

Eric’s Blues Band is from Sweden and are completing their twenty third year as a group. Led by Eric Hansson on vocals and guitar, the rest of the band is  Jan Petersson on keys, Surjo Benigh on bass, and Kjell Gustavsson on drums and backing vocals. Guest artists include Jerry Portnoy on harp for two cuts, Alan Haynes on guitar for the opening track, Anders Lewen on guitar for the second track, Derek January and Kiralinas Salanday on backing vocals, and a horn section of Tomas Jonsson (sax), Martin Pålsson (trombone) and Per Grebacken (clarinet) who were arranged by Jan Bjerger (trumpet).

“Stay With Me” opens the album, a slower tempo blues rocker with nice guitar, organ and horns. The band is tight and the sound is great. More great guitar is featured on “Evil Games.” The horns play a big part here and the backline sets a solid groove. Guitar and piano solos are really nice and the vocals are good, too. “Drinking Man’s Blues” is next; we get some excellent harp added. It’s got a Bo Diddley beat really gets the dancing genes moving. Next is “Who Are You,” some Chicago blues with guitar, organ and rhythm section driving the cut. A good guitar and later organ solo and work by the horn section make this fun. They turn the tempo down for “Give Me An Hour,” a solemn and ethereal cut with guitar and organ giving us an almost church-like effect. The horns get added for effect, a pretty piece. Thinks get rocking with “Next Train South.” Portnoy rejoins the fray and is the response to Eric’s vocal calls. It’s got a jumping beat and again is one that will get the dancers up. The piano addition is nicely done.

“Girl” is another pretty straight up blues with a thumping beat and lots of cool horns. It’s a swinging and jumping song. Up next is “Is This The Prize I Have to Pay?” which is a slower and dirty blues with stinging guitar lead and solo and nice backing work by piano and horns. “Ball and Chain” is another straight up blues with a nice groove of heavy guitar and drums. “You Make Me Fly” concludes the album with guitar, piano and horns laying it out for all to hear. A nice, big pair of guitar solos here are well done, too.

Johansson’s lilting accent adds a continental flair to the mix. The band is outstanding and all the songs are originals. This is a nice album done up by professionals who are at the top of their game.

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