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Bob Dorr & the Blue Band - Blue Moon Honeymoon

Hot Fudge Music

24 tracks/73:49

This live recording captures the musical celebration of a huge night in the life of Bob Dorr, vocalist and leader of the Blue Band. Not only does the party start on last year’s New Year’s Eve but it also serves as his retirement party and his wedding reception. Dorr has received acclaim throughout his career as a musician and also as broadcaster on Iowa Public radio. He has been inducted into the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Music Association Hall of Fame as well as the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame. The Blue Band has been around for twenty-nine years, based out of eastern Iowa.

Dorr handles most of the vocals and contributes some fine solo harp on “Train Time Harmonica Intro”. The band for the evening consists of current and past Blue Band members plus several other prominent Iowa blues musicians. Joe Price is one of the special guests, raising the energy level on “The Suitcase Boogie” as he trades licks on his slide guitar with Al Naylor’s trumpet. Paul Rottenberg adds some sweet guitar work on “The Walkin’ Blues (Walk Right In, Walk Right Out)” and Duke Dewey joins in on drums on a run-through of “S.A.N.T.A”. The song combines the music from “Gloria” with new lyrics from Dan Hicks for a special holiday song. Dewey’s history stretches all the way back to the original Woodstock, where he played as a member of Country Joe & the Fish.

Throughout, the members of the Blue Band show why they are one of Iowa’s favorite musical aggregations. The veteran rhythm section of Steve Hayes on drums and Mark Linda are rock-solid at any tempo. Guitarist Jeff Petersen plays with fire and delivers concise solos. The horn section of Naylor and Heath Alan on sax is a cornerstone of the band, enlivening every song with their musical punch. Sam Salomone fills any remaining space in the arrangements with the rich tones from his Hammond B3 organ.

Alan rocks the house with his tenor solo on “Drinkin’ Wine Spo-dee-o-dee” and Petersen follows with his own tasty solo. Dorr opens the proceedings with a rousing vocal on “Any Ordinary Man” with Hayes pushing the band hard. They tear through “Not Fade Away” with Dorr’s gruff vocal cushioned by Petersen’s slide guitar picking. “At Last” is a certainly an appropriate song for a wedding and someone treated Dorr and his bride to a touching, heartfelt rendition. The singer is never identified but could be Heath Alan. Everybody gets a chance to shine on “New Orleans”, with the horns leading the way to another strong harp solo from Dorr.

The disc lists twenty-four tracks but eleven of them cover various introductions and the traditional New Year’s countdown. Dorr’s singing on a cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine” doesn’t quite hit the mark but the band’s work recues the track. And what better way to end the evening, the band finishing with a flourish on a spirited version of “I Knew the Bride”. Bob and Carolyn Dorr will certainly treasure this document of a memorable evening in their life together, as will all of their family and friends who were part of the celebration. Long-time fans of the Blue Band will also enjoy musical merry-making contained this latest release by a band that shows no signs of slowing down as they approach their 30th anniversary.

Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

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