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Lino Muoio - Mandolin Blues

Cheyenne Records

14 tracks

Lino Muojo has spent the last two decades as a fixture in Italy's blues scene. This is his second solo CD, the first to completely focus on mandolin blues and he ranges in style from Yank Rachell's country blues to swing, jazz, bluegrass and more. All fourteen cuts were written my Muoio, giving us a good accounting for his songwriting abilities. Joining Lino in the CD are members of his old band, Blue Stuff, and several others US and Italian blues artists.

Four of the cuts are instrumentals and are probably the ones that intrigue me the most. The vocal leads on the other tracks vary and that is the downfall for me of this album. Bobby Ray Green (The Network Band) and Lonnie Wilson (the Kompoz Community) deliver authentic, unadulterated vocals, but when they switch over to Mario Insenga, Guido Migliaro, Vernonica Sbergia and Michelle Ciuchiolo the vowel sounds round out, become long and make the blues feel less authentic, at least to this listener (and I am an Italian-American myself). The other minor criticism would be the lyrics occasionally strike me as stereotypcally American and occasionally grammatically a bit off. But it is kind of fun to see and hear the blues and America through another set of eyes and ears.

Overall, this is a fun CD. Muoio's play is inspired and he wails on his mandolin. He gives credit to Rich DelGrosso, Gerry Hundt ad Jim Richter for their inspiration and whatever they provided to Lino paid off. He's got the mandolin blues thing down pat. The instrumentals are somewhat bare boned as are all the cuts, and allow us to hear the mandolin clearly. I find Lino to be quite accomplished in his play- well done- bravissimo! And while I fault some of the singers for their accented vocals, realistically they sing well and are able to sell the blues, country and bluegrass style. Fullvio Sorrentino's dobro and guitar work throughout is really good as is Renato Feederico on keys. Splashes of brass and clarinet add a good feeling to the music, too. The bass/double bass work by Francesco "Sleepy" Miele is also quite well done.

It's nice to see another mandolin bluesman on the scene. Besides the credited men above and Billy Flynn, we rarely get to hear a lot of mandolin blues. Muoio dies a strikingly good job of it and mandolin fans will all enjoy this CD that he's delivered.

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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