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Chris Watson Band - Pleasure And Pain


Out of Denton, Texas come Chris Watson and company with a solid band effort that has the shadow of Stevie Ray Vaughn looking over their shoulder ever so slightly. The possessor of a soul-touched voice and fluid guitar skills to spare, he also contributes nine songs. The basic guitar-drums-keyboard lineup is complemented by horns and backing vocals from time to time. Chris has been a fixture on the Texas blues scene since an early age. The future looks bright for many more years.

The breezily funky “Heart On My Sleeve” displays his satisfying vocals and the first of his guitar solos in various styles. “Untrue” is a tough Texas-style shuffle owing a debt to SRV without mimicking him. The title song is a plaintive observation on love gone wrong, which also includes a soaring guitar solo. “Heartache” follows in a similar vein, bolstered by horns and backing vocals. More SRV-style funky rhythm guitar appears on the funky and muscular “Mama Told Me”. The traditional gospel song “Going Home” is given a funky blues groove. His solo contains carefully chosen notes, not just ripping out fast notes for affect. The recurring theme of breaking up is the subject of “Happiest Day Of My Life”, that has something of a Lynyrd Skynyrd-vibe, as well as rollicking piano work courtesy of Eric Scortia. On the cover of the late Sean Costello’s “Hard Luck Woman” his guitar plays in unison with his vocal. Bobby Womack’s “Check It Out” is a nice change of pace, offering a soul-blues workout. The upbeat “Don’t Turn Around” closes things out with his familiar relationship breakup theme.

Chris and company come up with a satisfying slice of Texas-style blues. His guitar and vocals flow naturally over the course of this CD. The backing musicians give him just the right foundation. Some of his solos show some originality, but he needs to find his own defining sound. Everything is excellently played, but much here is of the “we’ve heard that before variety”. He has a lot of talent for him to build on and progress. This is an easy listen. If you enjoy original blues that take influences and make them sound fresh, this is the place for you. Although his publicity handouts tout him as a blues-rock sensation, I find his music to be closer to straight ahead blues.

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

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

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