Sammy Eubanks – Sugar Me | Album Review

sammyeubankscdSammy Eubanks – Sugar Me

Underworld Records

10 tracks

Sammy Eubanks was born in California and now calls the Pacific Northwest his home.  His style is what I’d call honky-tonk blues shouting, belting out his songs with gusto.  He plays guitar and sings, Bob Britt and Matt Hauer are also on guitar, Chris Kimmerer plays drums, and Reese Wynans is on keys for all but one cut where  Scott Saunders fills in.

Eubanks opens with the original cut “all Blues to Me and follows it up with an equally energetic “Stop That Grinning’,” a Skeeter Brandon cut.  Eubanks shouts his way through both.  The first is a straight up blues rocker while the cover is honky-tonk blues rock. Both are a lot of fun and feature lots of guitar.  Mato Nanji’s “Blues All Morning” is a more understated tune but they keep the beat fairly brisk and keep things moving.  The guitar solos again well and here we  get a little more taste of the organ.  Willie Dixon’s  “I Just Wanna Make Love To You” gets a driving ZZ Top sort of beat to throb and bob as Eubanks blazes through this one.  More big, fuzzy guitar and a rockabilly sound make this fun.  “My Baby’s Gone” gets what seemed to me a  slight tempo boost (as if Los Lobos didn’t make it fast enough) and a sense of urgency to the lyrics as Eubanks blasts through that one well and Saunders provides the keys here.

The original title track begins the second half og the album.  The tempo drops way down (for these guys) but Eubanks still gives it some oomph as he sings and the beat still drives to get you on your feet.  The guitars prevail again, making it another big number.  “No Excuse for the Blues” is a D.K. Stewart song, another NW Blues stalwart.  It has a Delbert McClinton sort of feel to it and Delbert is a major influence for Sammy.  His vocals again are cool and over the top.  They go acoustic to start with on “Born To Love You,” a Mark Collie tune.  The slide is sweet here.  Country meets rockabilly, and it’s done well.  The volume goes up for Don Robey’s “”It’s My Life Baby.”  The approach here is not like Junior Wells’ Eubanks gives it edge and volume and lots of guitar, making it more like a rockabilly ballad than blues.  Nice piano work here on this cut. Things conclude with the original “I’m Gonna Leave You,” a song about a lover who threatens to leave if he doesn’t come home.  Shouting blues and up front guitar sell this one.

If you like rocking blues  with a rockabilly flair and big, vocals, this will trip your trigger.  Eubanks has won accolades three times as best vocalist from the Washington Blues Society and seven times from the Inland Empire Blues Society.  He’s got a huge set of pipes, the songs pretty much have driving beats and the CD is just a lot of fun!

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