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Dave Fields - Detonation

Field of Roses Records

12 songs; 63:13 minutes

Styles: Modern Electric Blues Rock

One of the most perplexing, and perennial, questions surrounding blues music is: “Who can truly discern the difference between what blues is, and what it’s not?” So far, there’s no clear consensus. Consider NYC native Dave Fields. On the one hand, his blues credentials are impressive. Hubert Sumlin commented, “When I first heard him, I knew he had something special. When Dave plays, he plays with such passion.” Also, on May 20th of this year, he was inducted into the NY Blues Hall of Fame. On the other hand, his third CD, “Detonation,” is primarily a rock album according to this blues-protegee reviewer. Several of his nine original rock songs are quite clever, especially the Scientology indictment “Dr [sic] Ron” and reggae-influenced “Bad Hair Day.” However, they pale in comparison to Fields’ three original blues numbers. Joining him for the first time are Andy Huenerburg on bass, Kenny Soule on drums, and Russian sensation Vladimir Barsky on keyboards.

Track 03--“Doin’ Hard Time”--Blues maverick Joe Louis Walker guest-stars on guitar and vocals with Dave on this gritty ballad. It begins with four sensational pieces of guitar phrasing, then launches into a tale of a “prisoner of the heart.” Ultimately, eerie images of execution prevail: “In the prison yard they swear: the inmates and the jailors say he’d be happier in the electric chair.” What’s our narrator’s capital offense? “I admit to be guilty of loving you….” Undoubtedly, this is the best blues selection on “Detonation”.

Track 07--“Better Be Good”--This tongue-in-cheek track is a lament on the present state of our world, and a take on the Golden Rule. Oddly enough, the printed liner notes to this album contain a lyrical error: “And you better be, better be good to yourself, and you better be good to everyone else. ‘Cause if you don’t know, one will.” It should be, “‘Cause if you don’t, no one will,” putting responsibility for reciprocity on the listener. Once again, Fields’ rip-roaring guitar combines with savvy lyrics to form a wickedly fun blues shuffle.

Track 09--“Pocket Full of Dust”--Dave’s vocals are showcased to their fullest effect here, as are Barsky’s haunting keyboards. Our narrator compares himself to “a ghost on a midnight train to nowhere” since he lost his true love. When it comes to slow blues, listeners will be hard-pressed to find flaws in this gem. Did an engagement ring once occupy the “Pocket Full of Dust”?

“Detonation” was produced by Grammy-winning David Z, who has promoted household-name stars such as Prince, Government Mule and Johnny Lang. Even though nine out of its eleven offerings may not be blues songs, one thing’s clear: Fields’ guitar shines through on every one!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 33 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.


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