Franck L. Goldwasser – Going Back To Paris; The Paris Slim Mountaintop Sessions 1998-1999 | Album Review

Franck L. Goldwasser – Going Back To Paris; The Paris Slim Mountaintop Sessions 1998-1999

Mountaintop LLC

16 tracks

Franck Goldwasser, better known back in the day as Paris Slim, took recordings from three live sessions and produced this great album of his work from the 1990’s. Joining him are Gary Smith, Rusty Zinn, Johnny Ace and Jim Pugh, among others, and it’s a wonderful set of sixteen blues cuts that will certainly delight any blues fan. It’s a no brainer that this was nominated for a Blues Blast Music Award- what an outstanding album!

Goldwasser was born in Paris, France but moved to Oakland in 1983 where he honed his skills as a bluesman with the likes of Lowell Fulson, Percy Mayfield and Jimmy McCracklin. He’s played with many a legend over the years and helped found the original Mannish Boys band. He even spent time Portland, Oregon with Curtis Salgado as a member of his band. He moved back to California in 2013, took a year off and then continued playing and recording. He’s an amazing talent on guitar and vocals.

Franck plays guitar and sings throughout. Music from three sessions from 1998 and 1999 make up this recording. Session A features Jim Pugh on keys, Leonard Gill on bass, and John Hanes on drums. Session B has Rusty Zinn on guitar, Gary Smith on harp, Johnny Ace on bass (and vocals on track 6) , and Walter Shufflesworth on drums. Session C is just Johnny Ace on bass and Robi Bean on drums with Goldwasser.

“Gonna Move To Texas” is a slick shuffle with a driving beat, lots of great piano and some distorted and cool guitar work. “Rollin’ Stone” continues with fantastic driving blues as Goldwasser plays some mean guitar licks and the backline keep the time with precision. Franck turns down the heat with the sublime “Love Is Just A Gamble,” a pretty, slow blues. The guitar stings and the vocals are poignant. Some greasy and tasty harp is added for “Harp de Triomphe,” a short but sweet and quite delightful instrumental that Franck plays harp on. “Low Down Dog” follows with Goldwasser howling out the lead vocals and another tune with a very danceable and great beat. Goldwasser and company continue to showcase their musical skills. The tempo and tone get turned down for the cowboy ballad-like blues of “It’s a Sin.” Goldwasser shows a softer side here and pulls it off really well with some nice slide to boot.

The tempo doesn’t stay down long when “Can’t Raise Me” starts and gets the blood flowing again.  “House Full Of Blues” follows, and here we get some interesting keyboards added and a bit of a funky groove is laid down for us. The beat is midtempo but it’s got somewhat of a lilting feel to it that builds into a sweet guitar attack and finish. Next is the swinging “That’s What You Do To Me.” The cut jumps and bounces as Franck and the band give us some fine West Coast blues to savor. The classic Son House song “Death Letter Blues” comes up next and it’s Franck and his resonator laying out some really mean blues- well done! “Tell Me, Baby” gives us some more harp to enjoy as the band plays a sweet shuffle, another winner.

Slow blues return with “Slim’s Business,” a deep and dark instrumental cut with some cool and emotive guitar. “Going Back to Paris (Short Version)” follows that, another great little shuffle with more ambitious and genuinely nice guitar work.  Up next is “Four Walls,” a down home blues with harp and acoustic guitar. “15 3629 Grove” is next, another beautiful instrumental cut with striking guitar and organ soloing. The album concludes with “Sixth Avenue Meltdown,” another slow and deliberate blues that grab the listener. It’s an instrumental with Franck occasionally testifying to the crowd with an exclamation of passion. Another winner!

This is a fantastic album of West Coast blues done superbly. Goldwasser and company are in top form in each of the sessions. Recorded in Oakland, the live and no over dub recordings make the listener feel right there with the music. Crank it up ad enjoy it- this is truly some music you won’t forget!

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