Mark Margolies – Can’t You See | Album Review

Mark Margolies – Can’t You See

8th Train Records

10 songs time – 31:00

This is the debut album from the Philadelphia guitar veteran Mark Margolies. He sure knows his way around his guitar as well as providing the cool vocals. Nothing sounds cluttered here, as all the instruments come through clearly, giving a stripped-down retro feel to the music. Much of it is blues with a heaping helping of jazz to attain something of a beatnik, smoky jazz joint vibe. His band mates are Dean Shot on guitar, Steve Kirsty on sax, upright and electric bass; Nick Fishman on drums, Bill Heid on piano and Mikey Junior on harmonica as well as being the producer. Mikey contributes one original song with the rest being cover songs. “Doctor Mark” also happens to be a licensed Optometrist, hence the eye chart and phoropter on the back CD cover. It also gives credence to the album title.

The title song is more of an old school cool jazz song, written by Mikey Junior. Steve Kirsty’s sax and Bill Heid on piano compliment Mark’s swinging guitar tones to a “T”. The vibe continues with a reading of an obscure B.B. King song, “Jump With You Baby”. Big Bill Broonzy’s “I Feel So Good” receives a light and breezy treatment that features Mikey Junior on harmonica.

The jazzy vibe pops up on “I’m Lost Without You” by Memphis Slim, with a way cool groove. Anyone that covers the late Florida based bluesman Rock Bottom (David Clark York) is aces in my book. Mark does a good turn on one of the few songs of Rock that I’m not familiar with, “Stompin’ Our Feet With Joy”. Rock gigged around Florida and established himself as a bit of a legend in Norway where there is a club named after him. Rock was a gruff voiced singer-harmonica player, as well as a Bonafide character. Mark delivers a solid rendition of Sonny Boy Williamson’s (Rice Miller) “Work With Me” with Mikey doing Sonny Boy proud with his harp stylings.

Freddie King’s “Sen Sa Shun” gets a spot on presentation courtesy of Mark’s more than able guitaring. Dean Shot holds down the fort with his rock steady rhythm guitar underneath. The other instrumental, the Benny Goodman-Duke Ellington penned “Flying Home”, takes the listener to a late night New York jazz joint.

“Don’t Drive Me” is a jump blues from Lowell Fulson with the requisite flite-fingered guitar. The mellow blues of Roy Brown’s “Worried Life Blues” is enhanced by Bill Heid’s lucid piano and the sexy sax of Mr. Steve Kirsty.

What a great respite from over-produced blues records. Jazz meets blues here to form a good marriage that will give many hours of listening pleasure to the discerning music lover. Fine music that reveals the good feelings the musicians had during the recording session.

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