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Marcus Bonfanti - What Good Am I To You

P3 Music Limited

12 tracks 47 minutes 37 seconds

Well, now here’s a thing! Marcus Bonfanti is a young man, he’s only 27 years of age, with a voice that already sounds like a mixture of Tony Joe White, Tom Waits and Keb Mo, marinated in some kind of bootleg hooch since he was old enough to drink alcohol and with an attitude that’s as in-your-face as that of a disaffected rapper. But that’s not meant to be an unpleasant criticism, rather is intended to be a solemn tribute to a young man with an unusual talent.

Bonfanti comes from North London, but sounds, to these ears more like a man from the swamplands of southern Louisiana. Not only is he an excellent guitar player (P3 Music is subtitled, ‘The Home Of Great Guitar Music’) who has already trained at the Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts (yes that’s right, the place partly set up and financed by Paul McCartney (amongst a huge list of others)), he has also done session work, fronted his own band, done a string of solo gigs, oh, yes, and this is his second CD. Preceded by, ‘Hard Times’, this new one is a stunner.

All songs on the album were written by Marcus, who of course does all guitar work and singing too. Marcus is supported by some excellent drumming from Alex Reeves, keyboard work by Paddy Milner and some super bass by Scott Wiber. The album opener, ‘Will Not Play Your Game’, is strong and gutsy and Bonfanti’s growling, bass baritone voice is simply excellent. ‘Goin’ Down’, sounds like music from the bayou with an added touch of JJ Cale on speed. More reflective is ‘Don’t Wanna Come Home’ and the excellent ‘Bleeker Street. The instrumental ‘Tweed Blazer’ is a stunner; Link Wray, meets Albert Lee!

In short this is an amazing album that will be on my CD player for a long time to come. No sign of the immanent demise of the blues here, just solid passionate music with a real twist of raw talent.

Reviewer Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South ( a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and all kinds of other good stuff, for people living and going to gigs along the south coast of England. Ian is also a blues performer (see and has a web cast regular blues radio show on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central).

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