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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
Is he named in honour of a multi–purpose cleaner? Whatever, San Francisco based singer/ songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist and producer James Byfield took on the persona of Mr. Pledge in 2008. He plays blues and Americana according to the front sleeve of this release, though the reality is perhaps a little wider than that. “Evangeline” opens with the chain gang styled ‘Buley’s Farm’, and closes out with the wide-open, Mississippi-influenced slide guitar blues of the title track, but in between the listener encounters the mellow Americana of ‘Jennie Bell’, the knockabout New Orleans jazz styled ‘Brimstone Joe’, the charged ‘Midnight Assignation’, with some wild, southern rock flavoured slide guitar, and the pop-ish jump-inflected ‘Go Jump The Willie’. Then along come the tropical Latin sound of ‘The Language Of Love’ and the jazzy, jive-y ‘Ham And Eggs’, there is a cool jazz-blues in ‘How Can I Still Love You’ and a country-ish ‘You Had Me At Goodbye’ that certainly has tinges of The Byrds. See what I mean about a wide remit? It may be a little too wide for the pure blues lovers, but those with wider tastes may well appreciate the entire release.
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