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Fried Bourbon – Deep Fried

Musicarena Records

15 tracks/52:44
I got this album without a letter or any promotional materials. The envelope was written in a flowing European hand and the postmark was from Belgium. I pulled out the album whose packaging was cleverly designed like a dinner menu from a typical greasy spoon, replete with grease stains and dirty napkins. So now I’m intrigued. I put the CD in my stereo and frankly it just floored me. It is filled with lip smackin’ goodness!

The music is straight up, down home blues and boogie woogie by a band “discovered” by the Bay Area’s newest favorite son of the blues, John Nemeth. These guys serve up the blues like they came out of the Mississippi Delta and went to Chicago and yet they hail from ports far away. Steven Troch (vocals/harmonica); Tim Ielegems (guitars); Jurgen Claes (drums) and Patrick Houthooft (bass) make up the main band. Gene Taylor (piano) and RolanVan Campenhout (percussion/vocals/sitar) from Rising Sun Studio add some more unique flavors to the stew. Troch is a great front man; his vocals and harp are top-notch!

There are no bad tracks on this disc. Fifteen songs served up with superb musicianship and vocals top to bottom. “The River Styx” interestingly blends traditional blues with sitar and yet it sounds natural and normal. Troch’s harp work and vocals are clean and bright and the backing players’ work and solos just fill in to make this a great track. “Black Cat Bone” seems to be a featured track; while the blues is filled with voodoo references to black cat bones, these Belgians take the bone out for another fresh spin and it’s a fun one indeed. The opening track “Ding Dong” is another good one. The interplay between Ielegem’s guitar and Toch’s harp is done very nicely.

One track (“Camel Chase”) even has a whirling dervish of an Arabic sound and then it later shifts more into a Klezmer styled clarinet sound that had me somewhat incredulous, but I was already sold that this is quite the cool and unique album and it just helped to prove it. A kazoo intro graces “Loaded Dice”, a ragtime piece that is followed by a full-up barrelhouse “Deep fried Boogie.” More fun tunes from a really great band!

These guys play up a storm and are just a pleasure to listen to. Their schedule on MySpace shows them only on the European Continent through the end of the year. I hope they tour the states because I will be sure to catch these guys and you should, too! In the meantime, this fine CD will have to suffice to serve to dish up their “Deep Fried!” specials!

Reviewer Steve Jones is Secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

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