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Detroit Frank DuMont & the Drivin' Wheels - Live Blues

Self-released

www.detroitfrankdumont.com

11 tracks/68:45

This disc captures a solid blues band holding court at Ziggie's Bar, the oldest blues bar in Denver, running through a list of familiar tunes and having a good time. Leader Frank DuMont has traveled the world playing guitar with some great blues musicians. Starting his career in his Detroit hometown, DuMont backed up Eddie Burns and Bo Bo Jenkins. Later, DuMont headed to California where he eventually hooked up with keyboard ace Deacon Jones, who was a long-time member of Freddie King and John Lee Hooker's bands. The migration continued with stops in Hawaii and Europe before DuMont decided to settle in Colorado Springs.

The Drivin' Wheels consist of Scott McClure on bass, Johnny Z on drums, Woogie Boogie on keyboards and Detroit Gary on the rhythm guitar. DuMont handles the lead vocals and all guitar solos. He also plays a little harmonica on one track.

The vocals are buried in the mix, sometimes so deep that DuMont's gruff voice sounds like it is coming from another room, as is the case on “Everyday I Have The Blues”. DuMont is a competent singer with a limited range. This set list of blues standards is given straight-forward readings that brings few surprises to the table.

Dumont covers four songs from the Freddie King catalog, with the instrumentals “The Stumble” and “Hideaway” providing plenty of space for the leader's taut guitar work. He uses a biting, harder-edge tone on “Love Her With a Feelin'” while the opening segment on “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” shows that DuMont understands the use of dynamics in building a solo, capable of firing off lightning-fast licks but also not afraid to create space for the music to breathe.

Woogie Boogie uses the organ to fill the arrangements on “Drivin' Wheel” and “Stormy Monday”, getting his a chance to strut his stuff on the latter cut. The same tune finds DuMont demonstrating his ability to tastefully stretch out on a slow blues number. The band sounds a bit stiff on “Shake for Me” but DuMont recreates Hubert Sumlin's signature guitar lick. They rock harder on Jimmy Reed's “Shame, Shame, Shame”, with Woogie Boogie firing off a brief, spirited solo on his electronic keyboard to get things started. “Papa's Got a Brand New Brand” is done as a short, funky instrumental with the focus on DuMont's staccato guitar playing.

This one captures a good band on a good night. No revelations but lots of good guitar from DuMont, who plays the blues, not some blue/rock fusion that seems to be the norm these days. It would be great to hear what these guys could do in a recording studio with some original material. 

Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL. He has been listening to music of all kinds for fifty years. The first concert he attended was in Chicago with The Mothers of Invention and Cream. Life has never been the same.

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