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Andres Roots Roundabout – Leigh’s Spider Jam

Time: 34:56

If you are looking for a respite from over-driven blues rock and wish to delve into something more earthier, with a little piece of the Delta in your mouth, than you’ve hit the winning lottery ticket with Andres Roots Roundabout – Leigh’s Spider Jam.

As the CD’s liner notes mention, it’s not so much a regular band as just a group of friends who found each other during of one of those jam nights and wanted to capture their music on tape. What’s even more interesting is these guys are not American and honed their musical chops playing on stage in Tallinn, Estonia.

Whatever the case, it doesn’t matter. Its electrified jug-band blues shaking hands with The Rolling Stones in the Brown Sugar influenced “Mean Old Town No. 2.” And since their music was born in a folk club trading licks, than the opening track is deserving of the title “Folk Club Blues” recorded live. Boasting of only guitars and harmonica, the recording could have been taken from some juke-joint in the Deepest South. These guys may be from over-seas but have no problems jumping into a treasure-chest of Americana. And the music comes up a winner.

All the tunes are written by Andres Roots. There can be no complaints that the music overstays its welcome being this music clocks in at little more than half an hour. If anything, you want more of it because it’s the ultimate breakfast CD to get your morning going.

A trio of Hammond B-3 organ, guitar and drums is just the right instrumentation to add a slip and slide effect to the instrumental “Spider Jam” that skitters along with Andres’ slide bearing the imprints of Luther Dickinson taking a top-down cruise on Highway 61. But that just goes to show you a musician not coming from these shores has better understanding of an art form few Americans know how to tackle. They only wish they could cut the track “Spider Jam” but wouldn’t know how to get inside the music.

Other musicians working with Andres supply ample-bodied chops to bring the songs to fruition. Mention also has to be made of Martin Eessaulu whose slide contributions are important especially in “Roundabout” with harp player Indrek Tiisel bringing up the rear and bringing a spirit of honky-tonk to musical proceedings tapping into a keg of whiskey mixed with Delta soil.

For myself, I would get to a certain track on the CD and then I would start it all over again. Like anyone else, you would think these gentleman come from our own native land. Than you remind yourself these boys are from overseas and you wonder how they could have their finger on the pulse of something alien to their culture. Which illustrates the point clearly that blues indeed is the international language that everybody speaks.

The music balances between instrumentals and singing. Leighton Phoenix’ dusty vocals are adequate enough and mixed in the mud to lend credence to “Lightnin On The Horizon” which sounds like an out-take from a North Mississippi All-Stars session. And a little of Martin’s banjo pushes Andres’ dobro into hill-country swamp as “Horse Feathers” is good ole fashioned levee camp boogie best served up with White Lightning.

These guys can hold court at any blues jam in America. While other players are content to trudge out the same Stevie Ray licks, Leigh’s Spider Jam is all about the roots and channeling the unplugged power from where the blues emerged and where its ghosts never rest. For a group of guys who never saw the state of Mississippi, they still are able to maintain a strong psychic connection with its musical forebears.

Reviewer Gary Weeks is a contributing writer. He resides in Marietta, GA.

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