Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys – Live! At the Red Rocket | Album Review

reverendravencdReverend Raven and the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys – Live! At the Red Rocket

Self Released

8 tracks

The first of the Rev’s live “bootleg” series, this CD features Rev Raven and his current band live plus two cuts from the live session at Blues on Grand with Madison Slim on harp. The CD captures the emotion and feel of Rik Raven and his band at their live shows. I don’t think I’d be bored watching and listening to this band 365, 24/7! Featuring Benny Rickun on harp, Danny Moore on piano and organ, PT Pedersen on bass and Bobby Lee Sellers Jr on drums for the current band cuts, the sound is tight and phenomenal. The Red Rocket is not a real bar; it is a place of legend with free food and drink and the equipment never needs hauling. Rik Raven has created this place as the “home’ for his live bootleg series of CDs that he is planning to release.

The band starts slippin’ and slidin’ with great slide and some excellent barrelhouse piano on “Hawaiian Boogie #2.” An impressive start, followed by classic Chicago blues in “Who’s Muddy Shoes.” “Diving Duck” then follows where Danny and Benny do great work in support as the Rev lays it out. “Stompin’ and Shoutin’” is a standard as Rev’s shows how it’s done well here. He gets in to that groove that mystifies you in an almost hypnotic fashion and captures your attention!

“Bad Boy” is classic Rev at his best. Benny’s harp is immaculately done in that cleanly dirty style that sounds so mean and good. Rev is wailing as he testifies to his behavior. “Lookin’ For Love” is another Rev standard. Danny is a standout on the piano and the song is a swingin’ testimonial to the joy and fun at one of the Rev’s shows. The last two songs switch bands with Madison Slim on harp; “Brick in My Pillow” has Slim doing some absolutely slick and dirty harp licks as no one else can. The duo of Slim and the Rev are really special together as they wind their ways through this and the next cut. “Another Mule” features Slim on vocals as he extends the story of Muddy’s woman cheatin’ on him; another mule kickin’ in his stall becomes the topic for the whole song. Kid Panosh on drums and Andre Maritato is on bass for the final two cuts, too.

Phenomenally hot stuff. If you love the Rev, get this album. If you’ve never heard him, you’ll love him after getting this album! Great CD– recommended for all classic blues fans!

EDITORS NOTE: This album has been nominated for Best Live Blues Album in the 2015 Blues Blast Music Awards.

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