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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
Brazil seems to be something of a developing hot-spot for the blues these days, but I was still more than a little surprised at this album - in the best possible way. Singer and guitarist Yuri Apsy has been playing now for more than a quarter of a century and he has worked with visiting Americans like Mark Hummel, Terry “Harmonica” Bean and Dave Riley. Over the eight tracks of this release, Yuri draws from some of the classic influences - BB and Freddy King in particular, to great effect, and also Elmore James (‘Dance With You Tonight’ certainly gets the feet moving) and relatively newer performers like Jimmy Johnson and Magic Slim. That is rather a nice collection of inspirations but Yuri has a good voice – a really good voice for this material, in fact – and he has the musicianship to back it up, whilst his band (guitarist Thiago Sequiera, Yves Apsy on bass, and drummer Bruno Ienne) provides top-class backing. All the songs are originals, but firmly in the tradition, and although the solos may go on for a little longer than in the “classic” era of the 50s and early 60s, this is straight blues all the way - nothin' but the blues. It’s good to hear it too – well worth tracking down!
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