The Hogtown Allstars – Hog Wild | Album Review

The Hogtown Allstars – Hog Wild

Stony Plain Records

10 tracks

Canada’s Hogtown Allstars deliver a cool and fun album with eight original songs and two interesting covers in this debut album for these award-winning Canadian all star bluesmen. They started to play together in 2013, but this is their first recording together. The seven band members are Downchild Blues Band’s Chuck Jackson on vocals and harp, Pat Carey on sax, Gary Kendall on bass and vocals, Jim Casson on drums, Tyler Yarema on keys, and two former Maple Blues Band members, Teddy Leonard on guitar and Howard Moore on trumpet. Their accomplishments include over 20 Maple Blues Awards, 5 JUNO Awards, and a couple of  Lifetime Achievement Awards, along with lots of recognition from outside Canada. They also have spots in the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Blues Museum Hall of Fame, so these guys have done their time and have been recognized for their work.

“Mr. Lucky” gets things started. It’s a fun, honkytonk cut with gravely vocals, piano, horns and backing vocals that blend well. “Hog wild” follows with a slick groove and just a cool, dirty feel to it. Jackson sings with his grit and the guitar and organ compliment him nicely. Up next is “Real Good Night,” a bouncy cut with Kendall fronting the band. Piano and guitar get spotlighted here. “I Just Think of You” is a slow and thoughtful piece with Jackson back in front and getting a harp solo, too. Organ and horns help out on this one again; another nice original. “Angel In My Bed” is a bluesy ballad of love and passion with Jackson telling us of his angelic lover. A somber guitar solo is featured here.

“Subway Casanova” follows, a song gives us some slide and more organ to enjoy as Jackson has some fun with this one lyrically and vocally. “The Sad One” picks up the pace a bit in this call and response number as Jackson and he band bounce through this cut. Some slow and delightful blues follows with “Biscuits and Beans,” a song lamenting food and drink with life on the road. Guitar and harp are all that it takes here to deliver a cool song for us to enjoy. “She’s Got The Stuff” is a Big Dave McClean song that Hogtown handles well as Jackson and his buddies deliver another nice one. Another good guitar solo, more gritty vocals and just a great cover overall. The album concludes with “I Ain’t Lyin,” another cool cover that the band handles well. An organ and tenor sax solo are offered up; it’s a great, driving song and nice conclusion to a very good album.

Stony Plain releases great music and they continue in this direction with another winner with The Hogtown Allstars. I can’t ever recall them releasing something that I have not enjoyed. Here, the new assemblage of Canadian blues greats has resulted in another winner of an album. I highly recommend this one to all blues fans!

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