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Fried Bourbon - Gravy Train

Naked Productions

13 tracks

When you listen to these guys you hear a straight up "Delta visits early Chicago" styled blues band but then when you read about them you find out this is really a Dutch blues band. I've heard and reviewed them before and I liked what I heard; the same is true with this, their newest CD- it's another good CD.

For comparison sake, the style is similar to The Cash Box Kings in their early days. Steve Troch delivers greasy and intense harp and fronts the band. Chris Forget on upright and Fender bass gives a deep groove for the band to build on. Tim Ielegems on guitar and backing vocals is also quite good. He never tries to be over the top yet delivers a solid performance. Stefan Decoene on drums also provides excellent support. Gene Taylor gives us some piano on a few tracks and J.J. Louis is on B3 for a couple of tracks, too.

Eleven of the tracks are originals. Sonny Boy Williamson's "Nine Below Zero" gets a decent cover, with Troch doing justice to the harp and Taylor filling in the Otis Spann style. Troch blows some sweet sounds here. They stay true to the style; Ielegems also delivers a very nice guitar solo. Jerry McCain's "Turn Your Damper Down" also gets a good play here; vocally cleaner than the original (which is classic stuff), the instrumentals are very tight and together. I think their tempo is a tad slower than the original but they drive through it with intensity and verve. Nice solos again on harp, piano and guitar. The entire band gets credit for the rest of the tracks except one, "Your King Is Comin'", penned by Troch and Ielegems and the two of them are the only ones who play and sing here. Troch sings in Slim Harpo style and Ielegems picks away frantically in this short but sweet gristly piece. Nicely done.

So now into the meat of the new stuff. This guys jump and swing their way through the music with gusto. I enjoyed hte jumping and swinging blues like the title track and "Kiddo" where the band lays out something you might have heard in the late 50's on the radio. Convincing vocals are a mainstay and a well-done musical approach make this stuff fun to tap a foot or dance to. When they slow it down they are effective, too. "The Storm" is an old-style ballad with the wood block chopping away as the guitar plucks away and the organ fills in so well. "Lovin' Man" gives us an acoustic ditty that is also delivered with intensity. They set the table with "A Feeling Called the Blues" where Troch blows a mean intro and lays into the lyrics convincingly. They shuffle along like consummate pros; this is the other organ track and it fills in well again during the big, long guitar solo and throughout. "Blowin' My Blues Away" sqeaks and squeals, showcasing Troch's harp talents; harmonica fans will love this one, and the piano is a great accompaniment to the harp and vocals.

I could go on and on but suffice it to say that these guys from the Netherlands are the real deal, playing authentic blues in an up front and authentic way. While some of the tracks may be somewhat familiar in tone, they are done right. I enjoyed the CD play after play. The tunes are tight and all recorded live, so this is what these guys sound like, and they sound pretty damn good!

Reviewer Steve Jones is president of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career since 1996, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and work with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.

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