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Chickenbone Slim is the stage name of Larry Tevez, a veteran of various blues and rockabilly bands out of San Diego, California. Those influences are pretty obvious on this set. The first two tracks have a gritty, rootsy blues feel, then ‘Hemi Dodge’ is rocking country and ‘Vodka And Vicodin’ - I looked up the latter, mixing it in this way is recommended – is folky with lyrics that tend to focus on the less salubrious side of life, a trend that continues throughout the album (which is dedicated to American service personnel and asks listeners to speak up about suicide awareness and mental health issues with veterans). ‘Me And Johnny Lee’, the longest track on the album at just over six minutes, has a similar theme, set to a heavily echoed, lurching swamp blues arrangement with excellent harmonica work by Big Jon Atkinson (also to be heard on bass and guitar elsewhere); the closer, ‘Break Me Off A Piece’ also dives into swamp-blues territory, though with a more up tempo Slim Harpo flavour and a huge sound! Recorded at guitarist Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studio (rapidly becoming the “go-to” place for California blues these days) and with a fine rhythm section of Marty Dodson on drums and Scot Smart on bass, this CD takes the occasional unexpected twist and turn and certainly maintains interest throughout. I look forward to hearing more from Slim.
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