Rod Piazza And The Mighty Flyers – Emergency Situation | Album Review

rodpiazzacdRod Piazza And The Mighty Flyers – Emergency Situation

Blind Pig Records 

 11 tracks; 47 minutes

Back on Blind Pig, Rod Piazza and his excellent Mighty Flyers have produced another fine record to add to their extensive catalogue.  There are no real surprises here, Rod and his band doing what they always do, blending original material with some from the greats and less well-known blues artists of yesteryear.

The Flyers are unchanged from the line-up we have got to know in recent years with Dave Kida on drums, Henry Carvajal on guitar, Miss Honey on piano and Rod on vocals and harp.  They have, however, returned to the use of a specialist bass player in Norm Gonzales and the twin saxophones of Ron Dziubla and Jim Jedeikin take a more prominent role than on most of their recordings.

The three originals here include the title song which finds Rod on deep-toned harp and the saxes playing lightly behind a mid-paced swinger which is long enough to offer solo space for most of the band, notably Henry who delivers a nice solo.

The other two Piazza tunes are instrumentals: “Frankenbop” is a frantic rocker with the horns buzzing along in support and Honey and Henry adding some more embellishments behind Rod’s harp; “Colored Salt” is the longest track here and closes the album with a feature for Rod’s harp.

Elsewhere Rod has chosen the very well-known Sam Myers tune “Sleeping In The Ground” which is taken at a slower pace than many versions but is effective with Rod’s strong vocal and keening high range harp supported by Honey’s piano.  Lee Dorsey’s “Ya-Ya” adds a real NO feel with Henry on vocals and the saxes in good form.

Elsewhere Rod has gone for the more obscure, taking two songs from the little known James Wee Willie Wayne, and selecting less well-known tunes from some famous names.  The Wee Willie tunes are “Neighbour, Neighbour” and “Bad Weather Blues”, the former opening the album in rocking style, Rod sliding all over his harp, the latter a superb slow Chicago blues on which Rod concentrates on the vocals and leaves plenty of space for Honey’s tinkling notes, Henry’s strong solo and fine work from the saxes.

Texas bluesman Big Walter Price is the source for “Gambling Woman”, a superb rocker featuring Honey’s rock and roll piano and one of the highlights of this album.  Rod delved back into Johnny Ace’s songbook for his 1953 single “The Clock”, a short ballad typical of the era in which it was written, even down to the smooth sax solo.

Jimmy Rogers’ “Tricky Woman” is another excellent track with its ‘tricky’ time changes which Rod masters from the off on his chromatic harp, Miss Honey on great form in a striding solo.  Finally Amos Milburn is the source for “Milk And Water” which brings some gently swinging sounds to the disc.

Long-time fans will certainly enjoy this latest offering from The Mighty Flyers which ticks all the boxes one might expect.  If there is possibly anyone out there who is not familiar with this band this is a good place to start but be warned – it’s an extensive catalogue that you are entering into!

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