CD: 14 Songs; 56:08 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Blues Rock, Blues Covers
Why do many, if not most, blues artists like covers? 1) They enjoy paying homage to the founders of their favorite genre; 2) Some fans consider only the songs and styles of the old masters to be real blues; 3) Playing covers is easier than composing new material; 4) No one can mistake them as being from another musical category, and 5) They’re perfectly suited for live shows.
What die-hard blues crowd can’t sing along with such classics as Sonny Thompson‘s “Tore Down” and Muddy Waters’ “Key to the Highway”? Both of these are included on Connecticut native Jay Willie’s latest release, “Rumblin’ and Slidin’”, which might almost be called a tribute album. Out of the fourteen tracks on it, eight are good covers, but Willie’s own selections are better.
‘The proof is in the pudding,’ as the old saying goes, so listen closely to their instrumentation. Featured are Jay Willie and Bob Callahan on guitar/vocals, Steve Clarke on bass and piano for track six, and drummer/vocalist Bobby T. Torello. Special guest stars are vocalist Suzanne Vick, harmonica player Jason Ricci, drummer Ron Stahl, and saxophone player Ted Yakush. These three numbers demonstrate covers aren’t everything. Willie and his crew get an “A” for effort on originality:
Track 04: “Bad News” – This frenetic blues boogie by Bob Callahan has one of the catchiest chorus hooks – and saxophone solos – of the summer. “You took all my money, stole my fancy car, got my friends to hate me, and that ain’t all so far…How do you think I feel, how do you think I feel, how do you think I feel about you?” ‘Hateful’ is an answer, but not the right one.
Track 05: “Rotten Person” – Another rocking rendition about mixed feelings regarding love, tune five is hilarious: “You’re a rotten person, and you deserve desertion, and I really hope you end up alone…You’re so cold, you’re so mean, make me want to scream, and all I ever talk to is your answering machine.” Jay Willie’s slide guitar is as wicked as the subject of this song.
Track 08: “The Leetch” – The spelling of this ballad’s title blood-sucker is a snicker-inducing cross between a black, squirming ’vampire’ and a slur unfit to print in this e-zine. However, our protagonist’s present parasite prefers alcohol instead of blood: “Can’t barely sleep no more. Always hanging round my door. What are you looking for?…a ride to the liquor store.” The Highlights here are the jittery electric-guitar refrain and Jason Ricci’s howling harp.
“We are not your typical Snooze Blues band, nor do we want to be. If you like blues that is repetitious and holds on to one guitar note for 10 seconds, this record may not be for you,” says this album’s press release.
Rumblin’ and Slidin’ sure is a hit for blues rock lovers!