FREE Subscription - For more information
FREE Subscription - For more information CLICK HERE
B Street Blues – Car Won’t Go
Norm T Recording 2011
10 tracks; 51.29 minutes
B Street Blues hail from New Hampshire and are a trio although on this CD they are supplemented by a wider range of musicians on most tracks. The main band consists of Norm Tiedemann who sings and plays guitar, Dave Schaefer who plays drums and Chris Chesna who plays bass. Norm wrote all the songs here, with assistance from Dave on five and Chris on two. The band plays mainly in their local area but hope to tour more widely, possibly if this CD gives them additional exposure. In this reviewer’s opinion, it should.
The additional players on the CD are mainly guitar and keyboards, with horns added to two tracks and Richie Cole (who played with Buddy Rich at one time) on alto sax on two tracks. The main guest is Jack Pearson who played guitar with the Allman Brothers in the late 90s. Jack plays guitar on seven tracks as well as Hammond B3 on eight. Other guitarists involved include Linwood Taylor from Joe Louis Walker’s band.
The music here is reasonably varied with more than a touch of southern rock in some tracks. Opening cut “Big Blue Blues” comes out of the traps with a catchy tune, backed up by the horns, a lyric about whether a modern white man can sing the blues: “Never shot a man in Memphis, I drive an SUV; I work for a hi-tech firm that will be the death of me. Now you tell me that I can’t sing the blues. Won’t hurt you to listen, you got nothing to lose. Go on, cut me a break, I just wanna sing the blues.”
“Live Bait” is just the trio working over a crunching guitar riff. “Monica” has definite Allman echoes, the dual guitars of Norm and Jack Pearson laying down a solid base over which third guitarist Peter Early places a dynamic solo. Jack also provides some strong B3 on this track. The title track “Car Won’t Go Blues” is next up, another fast paced rocker with Richie Cole’s alto to the fore.
In recent years BB King has been name checked in outstanding songs from the likes of Robben Ford and Curtis Salgado, so why shouldn’t B Street Blues have a go? “King Of The Blues” is their tribute to the master: “Ain’t no one gonna fit his shoes ‘cos he’s the King of the Blues” is the chorus, with some nice lines such as “What you see is what you get, singing me a story like he wrote it just for me”. Some entirely appropriate BB-like guitar playing enhances this track, the second with horns who provide a little background colour to the production. It is worth noting that the horns on this and opener “Big Blue Blues” were arranged by drummer Dave Schaefer.
“Set A Spell” is an acoustic interlude with most of the sparse instrumentation played by Norm. The title does not refer to the world of Harry Potter and wizards, rather taking a quiet break from the hectic pace of life. James Montgomery plays some down home country harp and Dave and Chris are credited with ‘gobo’ and ‘squeaky rocking chair on porch’ respectively! “Spinner” offers something different, an instrumental with some definite jazz leanings, with the stop/start drum patterns, the swirling ‘cool’ organ, the alto of Richie Cole and the guitar playing of both Norm and Jack Pearson.
After those two quieter tracks we return to a slow electric blues with a familiar title: “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet”. No sign of BTO here though as Norm recounts his modest opinion of himself: “I don’t claim to be no prize, I’m just the way that God made me. What you see is what you get and you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” There is some good guitar playing from Norm here at both ends of the song though the middle section is Jack Pearson’s, with both an organ and a dramatic guitar solo. “The Damage Is Done” is another strong riff with funky drums and a guitar solo from Linwood Taylor that shows that he has learned a few tricks from JLW!
The final track is also the longest at over 8 minutes. “Honesty” is a slower tune with strong guitar lines and the organ underpinning everything. “Honesty, I count you as my friend. I need you more than ever now to carry me to the end” is an example of the lyrics of this rather sad and reflective song, a worthy way to close the CD.
From the large number of additional players and the overdubbing of Jack Pearson’s significant contribution, I suspect that the disc has been some time in the making but the time spent has been worthwhile as there are several excellent tracks and no real weaknesses. It would be good to see this band get a wider audience outside their local area..
Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music.