John Duer and the Blues Freak – Try Some Of This | Album Review

John Duer and the Blues FreaksTry Some Of This

Big Beard Records

11 Tracks/39:27

John Duer is a bass player originally from Austin, Texas, who relocated to Toledo, Spain four years ago. He connected with Jesus “Buddy” Garcia, who plays a variety of stringed instruments, and Jose Luis “Sepul” Sepulveda on drums and percussion. Their trio is augmented by guest appearances from eight additional musicians. With just three covers, the project also highlights the band’s collective songwriting abilities.

They take a laid-back approach to James “Kokomo” Arnold’s “Try Some Of That,” creating a relaxed feel with Garcia distinguishing himself on the dobro. Sepulveda makes good use of his brushes, setting a sprightly pace on “Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home” behind Duer’s understated vocal, answered by Walter Daniels’ forlorn harmonica tones. Garcia contributes some mean slide guitar licks on “Popcorn Sutton,” a tribute to a modern-day moonshiner. He switches back to the dobro on “Bladie Mae,” playing slashing lines that one expect on a Johnny Winter tune. A pair of sturdy shuffles, “Loser” and “24.7.365” roll right along with the former exhibiting a touch of the Allman Brothers and a gruff Duer vocal, while the later adds the contributions of Alfonso Ferrer on bass and Andres Sanchez on guitar.

“Wise Too Late” sounds a bit disjointed, the rhythm never quite meshing with the effects-laden tone from guest Amable Rodriquez’s guitar, as Duer pontificates on a lifetime of mistakes. Chris Masuak joins Garcia on guitar for a cover of “Let’s Get Drunk,” creating some nice interplay over a heavy riff. “Little Bit Of Green” has a lighter touch as Julian Maeso falters a bit on lead vocal, singing about his need for some cash to get by, adding some spicy flavoring on percussion. The honky-tonk piano offerings from Sergi Fece fit perfectly on the country weeper ”24 Hours (And A Minute Too Late)”. Duer strings together some familiar blues lyrical phrases on “Don’t Come Cryin’,” with Juanma Gonzalez on acoustic guitar while Garcia again proves to be adept on the dobro.

Living up to their name, John Duer and the Blues Freaks play blues without many of the influences that tend to be prevalent in many modern releases. Their sophomore effort may not break any new ground, but if your tastes land closer on the traditional side of the equation, this one will provide an enjoyable listen with plenty of variety.

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