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Mark Rigg and the Big Rigg Band - Mark Rigg and the Big Rigg Band

Bluestone Records

6 tracks

Mark Rigg’s been paying his blues dues for over 20 years in Detroit, New Orleans and now New York. His gritty vocals and fuzzed out guitar have supported many greats over the years, ranging from Bob Dylan and Johnny Winter to Frank Sinatra and Peter Tosh. He released his first CD in 1995 while still in Detroit; he moved to New Orleans and worked with Johnny Adams, Jean King and Earl Knight, and now calls the New York area home where he plays with various individuals and band including Albert Bouchard from Blue Oyster Cult.

The CD starts with Rigg hearkening back to his Motown roots in “Three Strikes”. It swings with the help of piano support by Mark Dunayerand a big brass and horn section. “Slip Away” is a bright and bouncy song where the whole entourage drives the song well, but I liked Rigg’s guitar solo best on this one. “Warpaint Baby” may be more New Orleans-sounding than anything else; a big drum sound and stinging guitar are the highlights here. On “I’m Gone” we get more of a Chicago sound. Jon Paris’ harp is strong here and Rigg continues to show his prowess as he trades licks with Paris. In “I’m Going Home” the cast changes out completely to 6 new musicians. Again with more of a New Orleans approach, this one weaves and bobs with Rigg and a nice solo by Dunayer on organ. “Who Do You Love Tonight” is old school blues, with vocals that reek of cheap bourbon and a haunting reverb sound from the guitar.

Riggs wrote 5 of the 6 songs. They are all solid enough and delivered with nice musicianship. Two minor complaints would be the over use of effects on the vocals and having only six songs to sample. On the latter a six song sampler is OK, but folks want to hear more. Throw in some of the many covers that must be in the repertoire from the past two decades and let us see what else tyou can do with others’ stuff. On the former, there seems to be a bit too much monkeying with the vocals on a couple of the tracks to make them sound more hollow and bluesy. I think Riggs voice carried the tunes well and would be better served with less effects. But those are minor beefs. Riggs and his plentiful crew offer up some solid music and it would be a great night listening to these guys in a small club over a few cold ones!

Reviewer  Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL.

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