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Blues Dragon - Blues Dragon
12 songs; 54:48 minutes
Styles: Modern Electric Blues
Juxtapositions can be wonderful, even though they may seem bizarre at first glance. When listeners think of the word "Blues," is a picture of a dragon conjured in their minds? Most likely not, but against all odds, the band of this same name makes the combination work!
Blues Dragon has been raising heads throughout South Florida for more than ten years, and now seeks to expand their reach throughout the United States with a self-titled recording debut. Using a variety of instruments (guitar, piano, harmonica, alto sax and more) to stoke a fire in their audience, lead vocalist and bassist Mark Telesca and his posse roar!
The album's most notable songs start off with the surprisingly-funny "Electric Chair." Beginning with a bouncy bongo beat by percussionist Rico Geragi, it ends with a prisoner's plea for execution by a certain shocking method: "Just burn me from the inside out and bury my body on Bunker Hill!" Fearless and brash, it minces no words and welcomes death like an old friend.
Not so with the atmospheric final track, "Living on Death Row." As the sounds of thunder and pouring rain soak his vocals in spookiness, Telesca notes, “There’s a criminal living right next door. Might be a burglar--maybe a killer--I don’t know.” Neither do we, and the song genuinely makes one wonder. Don’t listen to this one with all the lights off!
Blues Dragon, after paying a funky tribute to the gospel favorite “This Train,” does almost a complete 180 two songs later with “Blackest Woman”. Eschewing all forms of political correctness, the narrator rejoices in his affair with the subject of this song--although he cautions, “She got a big, black husband, and man, that mother-f***er’s mean!” This song is the very definition of a guilty pleasure.
Last but not least, there’s “Crocodile Shoes,” adding a bit of psychedelic flair and smoking-hot harmonica to what might be considered a “pure soul” number.
Members rounding out the band are: Mike "Big Dog" Hundley on electric guitar and Dr. Sample; Tony "The Reverend" Monaco on Hammond B3, piano and background vocals; John Boyle on harmonica, alto sax, flute and background vocals; Fred Weng on acoustic drums, percussion and trumpet; Rico Geragi also adds background vocals. Pat Monaco and Lyndsey Brown add the Violins on "Living On Death Row."
With the plethora of blues musicians and bands out there, what makes Blues Dragon unique? Chief factors here are their purely electric ensemble, boundless enthusiasm and persistent emphasis on multi-layered sound. It’s almost impossible to concentrate on the line of a single instrument in any song on the album (drums, bass, horn, etc.), and that’s fantastic! It shows that blues music consists of far more than twelve bars and a catchy refrain. There’s no denying it: Blues Dragon proves that opposites attract!
Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 31 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of the 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.