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Errol Linton - Mama Said

Ruby Records


Brixton, England native Errol Linton brings his Jamaican heritage to meld with his love of the blues. Also in his arsenal is a resonant voice to go along with his heartfelt lyrics and music. It doesn’t hurt that he has a bouncy harmonica technique as well, no doubt developed during his years of busking in London’s underground tube stations. There are straight ahead blues numbers here and at other times there are blues elements wafting through a heady concoction of breezy Caribbean-flavored tunes.

Adam Blake’s acoustic slide guitar in cahoots with Errol’s lively harmonica takes you right smack-dab into the delta with their take on Muddy Water’s “You’re Gonna Miss Me”. The original “Through My Veins” is a lazy modern blues paean to friends and London town. Abram Wilson’s soothing trumpet interweaves with tasty harp riffs. A jaunty romp is had in the acoustic “Boogie Disease” were harp, slide and piano battle it out to the delight of the listener. Chugga-chugga harp kick-starts a driving version of Joe Liggins’ classic “Honey Dripper”. The harp-train pulls into the station at about the three minute mark, then picks up steam and kicks into overdrive. The title track is an old-fashioned electric boogie via John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat, with the requisite fuzz-toned guitar. The author recalls the life lessons taught to him by his mother. “Stressed Out” is a funky blues that speaks to the modern work-a-day travails of getting by. Wah-wah guitar here doesn’t sound out-of-place, it just adds to the modern blues vibe.

The subject of his upbringing in Brixton’s Acre lane is the stuff of “Roll On Tomorrow”, set to an acoustic reggae beat. Tribute is paid to his wife via the acoustic love song “Hooked On Your Love”. “Kisses Sweet” has a similar vibe with the addition of electric piano accents. The three instrumentals featured here-”J.Y’s”, “Sunrise” and J.Y’s Dub” have an island-groove featuring harp and/or melodica and percussion. The addition of trumpet on the former lends kind of a Hugh Masekala vibe.

Who knew the blues would meet reggae-Caribbean music at the crossroads and create such a soothing and energizing listening experience. Errol’s voice is a comforting tonic in itself. Add to that a dash of guitar, harp, organ, trumpet, melodica and the rest, and the end result is a pleasing meeting of different cultures and musics.

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

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