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Kerry Kearney – Ghosts Of The Psychedelta

DWAZ Entertainment

8 tracks; 23.47 minutes

Kerry Kearney comes from New York state and has been around for 15 years, making a number of CDs in his own name and performing both solo and in a band. He is primarily known as a slide player and included in his CV is a five year stint in former Jefferson Airplane vocalist Marty Balin’s band. His mix of slide-driven roots and rock bears the name ‘Psychedelta’ and this latest CD is the fourth to work the term into the title! Joining Kerry who handles all lead vocals and guitars are Frank Celenza (bass), Mario Staiano (drums), Ken Korb (harp, penny whistle), David Bennett Cohen (keys), Nydia Liberty Mata (percussion) and Elizabeth Seton (backing vocals). A different set of musicians play on the final track, a cover of Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country”.

The CD opens brightly with the only original tune “Mississippi River Stomp”, a real slide-driven rave-up which reminded me of Sonny Landreth. Arthur Crudup’s “Mean Old Frisco” is an acoustic number and is effectively handled. Robert Johnson’s “Stop Breaking Down” is a personal favourite of mine and this version is great, Kerry’s slide ringing out in a very catchy and upbeat treatment with an excellent piano solo. “Louise, Louise Blues” by Big Bill Broonzy is done acoustically with Kerry’s dobro supported by gentle bass and drums.

The Beatles would seem to fit uneasily with the rest of the album but Kerry’s choice of “One After 909” actually works well in this interpretation. The piano is again a key component in an uptempo version. A second RJ tune is attempted in a very short (1.34) “Last Fair Deal Gone Down” in a similar trio version as we heard on the Broonzy tune before the band covers Elmore James’ “Baby Set A Date” in an unusual version with less slide than one might have imagined, but with additional percussion, harp and keyboards. The final track is the Dylan cover which is delightful, all delicate dobro, banjo, penny whistle and vocal harmonies. There are many great versions of “Girl From The North Country” but this one stands comparison with the best of them.

My only real criticism is that it is far too short! At just 23 minutes it is more like the old EP than an LP. However, I enjoyed this CD a lot. 

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music.

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