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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
THE RIOTOUS BROTHERS
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The press release accompanying The Riotous Brothers' third album claims that they are "growing exciting new shoots from the roots of the blues", which is not a bad summation of the ten sparkling Sonnet/Long originals comprising The Tree.
There's something here for those who demand that their blues is packed into eight or twelve neat bars, including the chugging good-time boogie of 'Honey Not Vinegar' and the snaking funk of 'Second Time Around'.
Mid-album, the atmospheric slow-burning passion of 'Fever' showcases all the best individual features of The Riotous Brothers, where, on top of Paul Long's Hammond wash and taut, precise Lake/Maggs rhythm accompaniment, a beautifully-judged and subtle guitar solo adds a delicious piquancy.
It's always a delight when the artificial and unnecessary dividing line between blues and soul is ignored, and here 'Cigarettes' is an exemplar of the art, Gaynor Ingram's vocal backing adding a gospel sheen. 'Memory Of Our Love' too, displays the Brothers' soulful side, its arrangement a series of well-constructed and subtly-mixed piano-guitar counterpoints.
The Tree feels like a true labour of love for those involved, whether in writing, performance or production and is wholly worthy of your attention.
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