Randy Volin & The Hard Ones – Detroit Thang | Album Review

randyviolincdRandy Volin & The Hard Ones – Detroit Thang

Self-Release – 2015


11 tracks; 50 minutes

Detroit native Randy Volin has been playing the blues for some 30 years.  This album is his third solo effort and seems to have been recorded in several sessions, both in Detroit and in LA to where Randy recently moved.  Consequently there is a large cast of musicians involved: Randy plays all guitars and sings lead; there are four drummers involved – Todd Glass, Steve Kohn, David Salinas and Vinnie Dombrowski –three bass players – James Simonson, Steve Nelson and Tad Wadham – and four keyboard players – Chris Codish, George Canterbury, Dennis Wesalis and Phil Parlipiano who also adds mandolin.  Scott Page’s sax beefs up a few tracks and there is an unnamed horn section on two tracks.  Randy wrote most of the material with just one cover, Bobby Troup’s “Route 66” which closes the album.

The general style here is rocking blues.  Opener “When She Says Jump” finds Randy completely in thrall to his new lady, to the extent that she has got him round her little finger!  It’s an easy grooving shuffle with plenty of piano and rocking riffs from Randy who is double-tracked on twin guitars, the chorus having plenty of ‘oomph’ from the sax and backing vocals.  There is plenty of good slide work from Randy on the raucous “Come Back Home” which is propelled by the drums, keys and horns from the start.  Randy’s gruff tones suit this style very well and this one is a definite winner.  A funky riff with horns opens “Mr Johnson” and “It’s Gonna Be Alright” finds Randy on acoustic and electric guitars on an autobiographical song about growing up in Detroit.  “I Want Your Lovin’” has a relaxed Bo Diddley beat, Randy singing in his deepest voice and band mates adding plenty of harmony vocals.  The instrumental “Mofocito” acts as a sort of halfway interlude with Randy giving us some Albert Collins style licks over a bubbling beat.

The ‘second half’ starts appropriately with “Brand New Day” which opens with some keening slide, followed by a naggingly catchy riff.  Clearly a tribute to his new home, “Mulholland Drive” is a second instrumental with another catchy core riff over which Randy double tracks some solid solo work in two very different styles, separated by a cool organ break.  “Two Worlds Collide” finds Randy singing in a smoother style over an insistent riff with some heavy soloing while “She’s Fine” has some more good slide work and some fine drumming – both songs appearing to celebrate Randy finding some new ladies in his life!  One supposes that “Route 66” was chosen for its historical linking of the Mid-West and LA and Randy clearly enjoys celebrating his change of location with this well-traveled old song in an all-rocking version.

If rocking blues with plenty of slide work appeals then this album is worth investigating.

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