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Jeff Dale And The South Woodlawners - Blues Room

Pro Sho Bidness


Is this Chicagoan equal parts Mitch Woods, Johnny Cash and jive hipster rapper backed by Canned Heat on overdrive or is it just me? Jeff Dale talks and/or talk-sings his way over a joyous blues noise. Guitars of the slide, blues or the psychedelic acid drenched variety dogfight it out to glorious results. Greg Davidson’s guitar work harkens back to the glory days of Henry Vestine and purveyors of the San Francisco sound. The lack of a conventional singer begins to make sense as part of the desired sound and vibe after repeated listenings. This record is about blues attitude rather than an attempt at authentic blues. Instruments dive in and out of the mostly fierce attack that is the norm here. That is not to say that a whimsical and fun element isn’t included at times.

“This Time”, the lead-off track enters with a ringing guitar riff to be shortly visited by Jeff’s ominous and slashing slide guitar. His gravelly talk-singing fits right into the groove. “Stumblin’” is a slow shuffle about trying to reach his woman that features tough and clean guitar from Davidson and solid harmonica work from Jeff Stone. The title track bemoans the closing of a favorite blues haunt in Chicago. A slow intro gives way to a chugging slide bolstered workout, before pulling slowly back into the station. The guys trot out powerful boogie crunch to power along “Hanging By a Thread”, a song of desperation. The hokum jump blues ala Mitch Woods is showcased in “She’s Mad” featuring stinging guitar and the sax styling’s of Jim Jedeikin. Guest Charlie Love contributes a fine Chicago-style blues guitar solo to “Stuck In Traffic”. A sprightly, toe-tapper of a riff leads into “My Own Worst Enemy” were the narrator fesses up to his shortcomings.

Jeff and the boys offer up a record of the “It grows on you” kind. Most times these are the best like day old chili when the flavors just get to mingling. Hard time and frivolous blues are done up here in fine fashion. These kinds of blues go down well with a few brewskis. The guitar arsenal of the band and a few guests will be satisfying to any self-respecting blues guitar connoisseur. If world-weary and happy-go-lucky blues appeal to you, this is the “Blues Room” to visit.

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

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