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Lance Lopez – CD Salvation From Sundown; DVD The Killer Guitar From Texas

String Commander - 2010

CD 12 tracks; 54.07 minutes - DVD 12 tracks; 75 minutes approx.

Lance Lopez was born in Shreveport Louisiana but has been based in Dallas Texas for some years. He released four CDs on his own label between 2003-07and has been tagged as a Hendrix disciple, including participating in a Hendrix birthday celebration in NYC at BB King’s club. This CD is his first on the German label MIG and was released at the same time as a DVD recorded in Cologne July 2009 for the German TV programme Rockpalast. The studio CD was produced by Jim Gaines and recorded both in Dallas and Memphis. The two recordings feature eight tunes in common, so the casual listener might decide that both were more than required, but the committed fan will want both.

Both recordings are basically a classic power trio of guitar, bass and drums. Lance handles all guitars and vocals, bass is Tony Valdez and drums Cody Norman (on the DVD the drummer is Al Pahanish Jr). On the CD keyboards are added on two tracks by Rick Steph. Neither of those tracks appears on the DVD, possibly because of the absence of the keyboard element in the live show.

The eight tracks that appear on both versions are five Lance Lopez originals and covers of songs by Lucky Peterson (with whom Lance used to play), Albert King and Buddy Ace. On the CD the four unique tracks are three Lopez originals and Ray Charles' “It Shoulda Been Me”. The DVD has one additional Lopez original and covers of RJ’s “Stones In My Pathway”, RL Burnside’s “Friend Of Mine” and ZZ Top’s “La Grange”.

As you would expect from a Jim Gaines production, the CD is well recorded. Buddy Ace’s “Love Of Mine” opens the CD with a strong SRV feel. Lance’s voice is gruff but suits the uptempo songs well. Most of the CD is upbeat, the quieter songs being title track “Salvation From Sundown”, “Neverlove” and “Why”, one of the songs not featured on the DVD. The instrumental “Stubbs” opens the DVD, a simple riff-based tune that I enjoyed a lot. Another goodie is the Ray Charles song “It Should Been Me” which offers a change from most of the blues rock style of the band, helped by the piano.

Most of the album is definitely in the blues rock area. Personally I like a bit more variety than is offered here, but for those who like more rock than blues in the diet this may well be a good CD to consider. I was disappointed in the DVD where the quality was far inferior to the last DVD I reviewed for Blues Blast. Of the four songs on the DVD that do not feature on the CD “La Grange” is a pretty straight cover and does not add much to the ZZ Top original; “Stones In My Pathway” is a long way from Robert Johnson, the slight background whirring noise you can hear is RJ spinning in his grave! I am not a great fan of the late RL Burnside and did not care for “Friend Of Mine”. “El Paso Sugar” is the original tune and is a straight ahead SRV style song. So, overall my conclusion is that the CD will appeal to blues rockers, but the DVD is one for real Lance Lopez fans only.

Review John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music. He was recently on the January 2011 Legendary Blues Cruise.

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