The release of a new Filisko & Noden CD is always a big thing to me. Joe Filisko is the king of the traditional blues harp and Eric Noden is a master of pre-WWII blues. Together, they can figuratively scale the highest peaks with their superb music. No one can spin old time blues like these two can, and adding the fine upright bass player Beau Sample to the mix just make the sound more genuine and cool. The duo has traveled the world together and appeared on many huge stages to the delight of adoring fans. This album further cements that legacy of fine musicianship.
The album opens to the freewheeling title track. A pumping harp sound, the beat of the guitar strings an d slap of the bass strings gives this an old time feel as the duo sings about being on the move. Both artists co-wrote this song and offer fine instrument solos and give us a nice opening taste of their fare. Filisko’s harp work here is utterly magnificent. “Mystery” follows, a Noden tune, where he explains he needs his women, “It ain’t no mystery.” Filisko’s “Kick Myself” is next, another high energy and rollicking cut. Filisko gets the lyric lines out in rapid succession as Noden gives us a little kazoo for emphasis and two do a cool harp and kazoo duet. Noden’s “Complicate” takes things down in tempo as he groans out that there is no reason to complicate. Filisko comes in for a sweet harp solo near the end and then Noden takes us home and into his next cut, “Sonic Breakdown.” This song picks up the beat as Noden sings and Filisko come in with more driving harp. The tune is a real sonic breakdown as the beat pounds and the harp blows intensely. Filisko’s “Always There For Me” closes out the first half of the album. Joe sings to us how his girl is his dream and always there for him. Very folky, very cool.
“Buckeye Rag” has Joe bending and blowing some mean harp in this jointly written instrumental cut. No one, absolutely no one, can make a harmonica do the things Joe can. This and several of the cuts on this CD reaffirm this. Noden is there with Filisko but Joe is the big star of this song. Basic, primal and totally captivating harp work! “Peaceful Man” is a Noden cut with him offering up some gravelly vocals and sweet guitar picking. Filisko pumps the harp to create a throbbing beat for Noden to build on and he does so quite well! “I Like A Woman” hearkens to a more modern time of the late 1940’s and 1950’s where Joe and Eric lay out some licks like Little Walter and Muddy but without the big electrification. It is urban and deeply Chicago blues. Filisko attacks on his harp and Noden picks out some great acoustic guitar here. Back to the old time sounds we go with the next track, “Sinkin’ In Love.” Noden offers the vocals again and takes us back in time as he sings and picks and the low numbered harp holes keep the beat and time before a nice solo by Filisko. “Worst Enemy” is the third and final Filisko solo written song on the CD and he takes the lead vocal as Noden does the response to Joe’s lead. It’s a simple and effective approach with Sample beating out a sparse groove for them. Slow and deliberate, the song winds back and forth with the singers calling and responding and then harmonizing a bit; I enjoyed this. The album concludes with Noden’s “Down in New Orleans,” a tune with a bit of a Cajun flair as Noden picks out some heavy notes as Filisko compliments him on the harp.
There is nothing to complain about here at all- this is an outstanding album! Joe and Eric are some of the best at what they do if not the best. I thoroughly enjoyed this album and if you like your blues in an old time style then you need to add this CD to your collection! This is really great stuff!