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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year
There is a lot of blues-rock around these days, but not too much of the “real” blues. This set helps to rectify that, and comes endorsed by bass player and label-mate, the acclaimed Benny Turner, who contributes to four tracks of this excellent release. Singer Kathy Murray has a strong, flexible voice and she is backed by some cooking musicians, including guitarist Bill “Monster” Jones (his playing lives up to the nickname), ace piano man Floyd Domino, and many others, with a couple of horn players fleshing out the sound on several tracks. This set is blues all the way: it is therefore a good reminder of how diverse the blues can be, with tracks that sound like they have been fermented on the west side of Chicago, with Magic Sam having a hand in their construction (as on the cover of ‘What Have I Done Wrong’) or maybe with Buddy Guy suggesting one or two boogaloo guitar licks. Then there are tracks like the high energy, Freddy King inspired ‘Premonition Of Love’, the vintage rockers ‘Grow Some’ and ‘All The Questions’ (Floyd Domino excels particularly on the latter), the Bo Diddley inflected ‘Answer Yes’, the tough, swamp-blues of ‘Final Verdict’, the joyous Cajun oldie, ‘Sugar Bee’ (with “Monster” on accordion), the early 60s pop flavouring given to the closing, Latin-tinged ‘The Bigger Picture’ and the classic blues of ‘Black Nights’. A real winner, this album.
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