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Ron Beer - The Blues Don’t Say It All

Self Release


Ron Beer’s latest effort, another in a long line of recordings by Canadian blues singers, displays the capable songwriting skills of himself and lyricist Lou Sabatini and some very good backing musicians. The lead guitar chops of Neil Chapman shine throughout. Although the liner notes don’t mention it, the very effective horns were played by producer Paul Schofield. Talk about multi-tasking! This collection of all originals runs the gambit from blues and jump blues to slow ballads.

The title song features Ron’s voice, one that is heavy on the twang. This is the listener’s first taste of the punchy horn section and the flowing lead guitar licks. The band establishes their “blues cred” quickly with this and the following selection. Neil’s guitar really burns on “If We Don’t Talk”, taken at a fast pace, again abetted by that horn section that adds just enough push. “I Understand” is a slow R&B-blues that benefits from the use of female background vocals. The horns get close to big band territory on the jump blues of “Close To The Fire” that also employs the fine piano work of Bill Evans. This song works, it doesn’t come off as just an attempt to get a jump tune on the record. The guys get ragtime-y with clarinet, banjo strumming and some nice stride piano on the sprightly romp that is “Call Me A Doctor”. One of the songs in a singer-songwriter mode that work is “Give Me Shelter” that features some brilliant and sexy sax playing. “Who’s Fooling Who” is successful with much the same approach.

The production values and sound quality are of the first caliber. There are some flaws and possible flaws. A few songs get a little too sappy and overly sentimental. Ron’s twang can get too pronounced and hard to understand at times. I guess that’s his Canadian accent, eh? I suppose it sounds fine to a fellow Canadian. After repeated listening it gets to be less of a bother and integrates into his “sound”. The fine instrumental music and intentions contained here cannot be faulted. Some more imagination could be given to the lyrics. Some of this may be a matter of personal taste. This isn’t a perfect effort, but what is good is good.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.

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