15 songs time-1:45:31
American blues music has a profound influence on European musicians and The Blues Bones from Belgium display that in their choice of subject matter and lyrics. The accompanying music leans more towards blues-rock and rhythm & blues, with straight ahead blues showing up from time to time. This record was recorded live at Hype Studio in Belgium in front of a small audience that is only audible slightly after each song. The bands’ line-up is quite basic with no outside help. The very able lead singer Nico De Cock fronts the guitar, bass, keyboard and drums configuration. Nico has the cool blues attitude in his voice down pat. It’s a nice change of pace that the singer doesn’t play harmonica. It seems like some bands will tack on a harmonica player regardless of his skill level. Nico’s tendency to include some jive talking within a few songs could give him the title of Belgium’s answer to Eric Burdon and Albert King.
The band commits itself just fine throughout with guitarist Stef Paglia and keyboardist Edwin Risbourg handling solo chores quite handily. Although Stef displays some nice soloing on CD 1, he really comes alive and super-charged on the second disc. Edwin’s organ playing shows much imagination. The rhythm section provides the requisite anchor to hold the band down. Twelve of the fifteen songs are band originals.
As the guys kick into the first track “Saved By The Blues” it’s a relief to find that Nico has no accent, making for a smooth listening experience for the American ear. The song is a funky R&B workout with rhythm guitar only. The lyrics are kind of belabored on “Voodoo Guitar” and the song tends to be a tad too long and boring. “Riding Out” gets things back on track as the upbeat tune goes from rockabilly to screaming blues-rock guitar.
“Moonshine” and “Find Me a Woman” feature some fine slide guitar work, along with some nifty bass on the latter song. The guitar and organ have a call-and-response battle on “I’m Still Your Man”. A catchy guitar riff is a highlight of “No Good For Me”.
As afore mentioned CD2 finds Stef Paglia really putting his playing into high gear. String bending, wah-wah and delightful guitar noise, it’s all here. “Broken Down Car” is adorned with a Hendrix-like riff and plenty of string bending and wah-wah. Electric piano, a twangy guitar riff and some nice and mellow guitar start off “I Try” as the guitar solo builds in intensity ala Robin Trower. More dreamy and floating Trower guitar riffing continues into Hendrix meets Trower territory on “Runaway”.
“Cruisin'” displays some nicely chugging guitar work. “Whiskey Drinking Woman” is marred by lots of jive-talking. The song is about the narrator’s woman drinking whiskey off his naked body…Go figure.
What the listener is left with is close to two hours of kickass blues-rock tempered with blues and R&B. Their is much to recommend this CD from the highly imaginative guitar and organ playing to the lyrics and blues-rock attitude. Another fine example that blues influenced music is alive and well in the international scheme of things.