Christian Dozzler - The Blues and a Half
13 songs; 49:26; Suggested
Style: Modern Electric Blues: Piano foundation with Texas Blues guitar
Imagine having four favorite guitarists and suddenly discovering that all four are on the same CD. That translates “Gold Mine,” especially for fans of contemporary Texas Blues guitarists Anson Funderburgh, Mike Morgan, Jim Suhler, and Hash Brown. Multi-instrumentalist Christian Dozzler, originally from Vienna, Austria, and now living in Dallas/Ft. Worth TX since 2000, recruited the cream of the crop for studio sessions on his sixth CD featuring all original songs.
Dozzler, age 50, is regarded as one of Europe's most versatile and respected blues musicians. He has performed all over the world for over 30 years and appears on some 30 blues CDs. Since age 13, he has been immersed in boogie woogie piano and blues. In his first band, he also played guitar and harmonica besides piano and vocals. Later, he added the accordion in the cajun/zydeco style.
Having won many awards in Europe, Christian moved to the US to further his career. For two years, he toured with Louisiana-based blues man Larry Garner. His fifth CD "All Alone And Blue" in spring 2003, received US airplay and critical acclaim in major international blues publications. It also got Christian on the cover of the “Southwest Blues Magazine.” In early 2008, “The Blues And A Half” was recorded as “a musical retrospective of ... great times in Texas.”
Those times must have truly been “great” with track one as first proof. Mike Morgan (of Mike Morgan & The Crawl) blasts the opening with some Texas Roadhouse slide guitar on “Excuse Me Guys.” Morgan’s creative slide dances notes at the end of each vocal line about calling home to a lover from the touring road. Chris Zalez adds second guitar rhythm, further opening Morgan to slide and slither. Following a perky mid-song slide solo, Dozzler takes an inspired harmonica break. Throughout all tracks, John Garza plays bass, Kevin Schermerhorn drums, and Ron Jones blows both tenor and baritone sax.
Next, co-producer with Dozzler, Anson Funderburgh (of A.F. & The Rockets), takes over on guitar behind Jones’ opening sax. In “Just A Stranger,” Dozzler demonstrates his studied piano prowess. Anson, Jones, and Dozzler do a snappy, well rehearsed, intertwined mid-song solo triplet.
Jim Suhler, who performs as Jim Suhler & Monkeybeat when he is not playing second guitar at George Thorogood concerts, lays down National steel bodied slide guitar tracks in the third number, “Closest Friend.” Dozzler’s piano and solid vocals take the forefront, and Suhler plays the foil to lyrics until his incredible mid-song solo. At just three songs into the CD, it was already worth the price of admission. Suhler’s emotional electric slide is heard on the closer, “Golden Sunday.”
Hash Brown (of Hash Brown & The Browntones) makes his first appearance on “C’mon Joe,” an upbeat shuffle with the whole band popping. Inspired by Dozzler’s tinkling ivories, Brown rapidly vibrates his guitar pick up and down during his solo, taking the rest of the band to the next level. Brown’s work further shines on the slow blues, “The Dog Is Missing You.”
Other highlights: “Three Shades of Blue” is a jazzy instrumental with Dozzler on a B3 organ bottom and Funderburgh, Jones, and Christian trading leads. “If I Could Dance” is a zydeco number demonstrating Louisiana smarts Dozzler has learned. Otis Spann piano influence shines through on another instrumental, “Dooley’s Stroll.”
Dozzler shows he did indeed learn “blues” in Europe and, thankfully, never strays into rock territory. Vocals, lyrics, music - everything about this album is solid, and the incredible line up of Texas blues guitarists makes the album solid gold for fans!
Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL