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Carolyn Fe Blues Collective - Original Sin

Self Release


One would think with this Canadian band choosing the moniker of Carolyn Fe Blues Collective that they would play blues music, when in fact their songs owe more to the Pat Benatar-Debbie Harry school of tough-girl rock, although with blues-rock and/or blues guitar on most occasions. The guitar-bass-drums-keyboards backing is strong and energetic throughout. Carolyn’s lyrics are cocky and world weary, but could use more emotion in the delivery. Guitarist George Papafilys has a trick bag of dive-bomb runs, shredding, squeals and what-not to make the proceedings interesting. The production by Carolyn and drummer Dan Legault is crisp and clean with all aspects of the sound clearly discernible at all times.

The title track leads with acoustic guitar morphing into distorted electric guitar, turning into a crunchy and chugging blues-rock number with nice and soulful Memphis-style organ underpinnings by Tim Alleyenne. The cricket sound effects stay “too long at the fair” and become a distraction.

“Broken String” is all Z.Z. Top Texas guitar strut with the guitar poised and ready to strike at any moment. Some nice John Fogerty “Born On The Bayou” guitar riffing is a feature of the tale of an unsavory boyfriend, “Devil’s Fool”. For some strange reason some mostly indecipherable male spoken word is interjected about two minutes in. The band has blues knowledge, but don’t always hit the mark. They manage to use a close cousin of Willie Dixon’s “Wang Dang Doodle” riff as the basis for the kiss-off tune “Don’t Be Sad” to good effect. The stripper drumbeat is employed on “Rant”, that is exactly what the name implies, telling an ex “Where the yellow went”. It’s also curious in its’ use of a talk box, the thingy Peter Frampton used on some of his hits, a device I’ve hardly seen in blues-rock.

“Manual Overdrive” is a laundry list of truck metaphors for sex play. Here as elsewhere George Papafilys supplies some nifty guitar lines, along with more greasy organ from Tim Alleyne. The closest foray to real blues territory is the aptly named, “You And Me And The Blues”, were the guitars teeter between blues and blues-rock twiddling. Synth-strings that sound if they came from an arsty-fartsy alternative rock band lead off “Adja Wali” that sounds like Stevie Nicks if she was a Native Indian pop star. It amounts to guilty pleasure pop-fluff. Traded off rapid-fire blues-rock guitar riffs with the organ are worth the price of admission to “Bow Wow”, as the singer longs for the return of her lover. The closing tune, “Some More”, is all Pat Benatar swagger and attitude.

If you’re looking for the blues, this isn’t the place to look. On the other hand, if you think Foghat is a blues band, then this is a good place to get your fix of well executed blues-rock which owes a debt to some of the lower tier classic rockers. The band does what it does and commits itself well.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.

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