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Mike Pachelli – Meeting Point

Full Blast Recordings

12 tracks; 53.54 minutes

Although I had never heard of Mike Pachelli before receiving this CD for review he has been around the music scene for a long time and has produced a whole raft of CDs though this is his first straight blues recording. Originally from Ohio, Mike studied in NYC and hosted a TV show in Florida for ten years, interviewing Paul McCartney, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joe Satriani amongst others. He has also produced instructional books and DVDs for guitarists and played in classical, jazz, rock and blues idioms.

The core band here is Mike on vocals and guitar, Ronnie Ciago on drums, Baba Elefante on bass and Lance Abair on Hammond B3. Jazz organist Brother Jack McDuff plays B3 on one track and Balint Sapszon adds piano to one track. John Sferra replaces Ciago on drums on four tracks. All material is written by Mike Pachelli and was recorded over some three years in LA, Nashville and Evian in France.

There are many positives to this CD. The songs are well recorded and there is a fair variety of material. The main featured instrument is inevitably the guitar and Mike covers a good variety of styles. His singing voice works well on most of the songs. Opener “I Don’t Worry” is a fast paced blues rock piece with a nice variation on the woman staying out at night theme; here Mike does not worry because he knows she is not to be trusted anyway, so why worry? “How Come I Always Got The Blues” is much bluesier, the shuffle rhythm well supported by the organ. An uncredited harp takes the first solo, Mike’s guitar ringing out on the second solo. Third track “My Guitar Will Say It For Me” has some excellent guitar playing in a rock style, a song which provides the shy man a way of expressing his feelings through his instrument!

I also enjoyed “Even The Birds Are Walking Now” a song which exemplifies the current doubts and concerns about the economic state of affairs – “Things are so bad even the birds are walking now”: more tough guitar playing on a fast shuffle rhythm here. “Too Much Hassle” fades in at the beginning, with the organ playing a significant support role. The song is another strong one in which our protagonist is at the end of his tether with his woman who clearly has not heard that we are in troubled times: “I gave you all my money, you went out and bought twelve pairs of shoes. I told you that’s not funny, you said shut up and go play some blues”! The organist takes a well-deserved solo before Mike’s guitar solo which has both distortion and tender moments.

“Gonna Reap What You Sow” is not the Otis Rush song, though it has some lyrical similarities. A slow blues with some nice chording beneath the vocal lines and a solo section which has a few touches of jazz in its approach. “Won’t Move On” changes the approach completely with an acoustic guitar accompanied by sparse bass and drums. “The Evian Shuffle” is an instrumental, pretty much what the title suggests, with some fast runs on guitar above a frantic paced backdrop. “Adam And Eve and McDuff” is a late night jazz track, recounting the story of Adam and Eve but with the lyrical twist of McDuff appearing and apparently corrupting Eve by giving her a sample of what he is smoking! I presume that Jack was OK with that as he is playing on the track.

“Don’t You Bother Knockin’” takes the age-old theme of the guy who has moved on from a former relationship. Taken at a relaxed pace this song features what is probably Mike’s strongest vocal on the CD and some nice guitar throughout. “Where’s My Shoes” is a jazzy shuffle with clean guitar and a rather strange lyric about… not being able to find his shoes! The CD closes with something completely different, an instrumental entitled “Alone At Night” which is just Mike and pianist Balint Sapszon. Those who are familiar with Jeff Beck’s version of “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” from his “Blow By Blow” album of the mid-seventies will smile in recognition of some of the techniques used both by Jeff and here by Mike. As the Beck piece is one of my personal favourites, I liked this track a lot though it is not really blues at all.

I found this an enjoyable CD with some entertaining songs and good playing. If Mike Pachelli sticks to a blues-based approach I could see him making an impact on the blues scene but his eclecticism may make him move away to other projects in the future – he is certainly a very talented player.

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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