Val Starr & The Blues Rocket – Lighter Side Of The Blues
Sandwich Factory Records
13 songs time – 58:00
On this their fifth release Californians Val Starr & The Blues Rocket live up to the albums title with upbeat music and mainly an uplifting message. Val has a pleasing voice and she also provides the rhythm guitar. She wrote twelve of thirteen songs as well as supplying new lyrics to an old classic. The core band is up to the task of supporting the songs, getting help from an outside keyboard player, sax players and a percussionist.
Right from the start it’s obvious that John Ellis’s bass playing is more prominent than is usually the case in many blues outfits. “Say Goodbye to the Blues(Like You Mean It)” is at once upbeat and melodic getting things off on the right foot. “Sactown Heat” has Timothy Brisson doing his best at duplicating B.B. King’s guitar sound. The song has just the right amount of grit.
On the title song Val fesses up to not growing up in the typical down and out blues situation. But like anyone from any station in life she has had ups and downs. Mr. Brisson fires off some nice guitar. Things slow up on the melancholy organ infused “All Or Nuthin’ Man”. Val gripes about getting no help around the house on “Lift A Finger”. It features Frankie Munz’s best harmonica playing on the CD as well as John Ellis on slide guitar.
“Mister Bassman” is an tribute to her husband John Ellis as well to all bass players. Timothy is no slouch on guitar on this one as well. Val adds new lyrics to “Big Boss Man(#Metoo)” changing it into a deriding of sexual harassment in the work place. Danny Sandoval shines on saxophone on the funky R&B of “Movin’ On”. Timothy Brisson opens up with the full fury of his guitar attack on the albums heaviest song “Shame On You”. A hearty blues “The Blues Doesn’t Pick Or Choose” finishes the set off in fine blues fashion.
Despite the album title everything here isn’t lightweight or wimpy. The songs range anywhere from mellow to hard hitting. A few songs get a little too lightweight bluesy, but it’s truly only a very minor set back. If you’re in the market for slightly more easy going blues, you’ve come to the right place. Be prepared for getting the house rocked from time to time.