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Stan Erhart - Missing You

Hack Bondo Records

14 songs; 57:11 minutes

Styles: Blues Rock, Jazzy Blues, Roots Rock

It may be nearing the end of July, but it's the middle of baseball season! One may wonder how this relates to blues music. However, there's a connection in the case of Stan Erhart and his tenth release, “Missing You.” In the blues, as in baseball, all artists have hits and misses. Sometimes they score a “home run,” making the crowd go wild. At other times fans think “Stee-rike!” when they hear one of their songs. “Missing You” has both hits and misses among the eight original tracks and six covers.

HITS: The opener, “Hey Baby (I Need You Tonite),” catches one's attention with Mike Emerson on keyboards and Nancy Wright's tenor sax. Even though Erhart's vocal style is flat and understated, it's hard to resist singing along when he suggests, “Something's wrong with me. You can make it right!” The title track, also called “Melodia in Bb [B-flat],” is a soothing instrumental that's perfect to peruse while enjoying a summer drink. Soon, “Please” arrives—the closest Stan comes to pure blues on this CD. Listeners will love its harmonious chorus and red-hot guitar solo. Everyone in the band (including Michael Warren on bass and Randy Hayes on drums) is “batting” at their best.

STRIKE OUTS: This reviewer knows that when a band plays a cover song, the goal should be to equal or surpass the original, but it's hardly fair to expect that every time. However, sometimes Erhart takes this for granted and doesn't seem to put enough effort into making his own interpretations sound unique. Case in point: the puzzling “Mystery Train,” first played by Junior Parker. It may be great in Parker's repertoire, but it's cringe-worthy here (especially when Erhart sings, “Train, train...”) Strike two is “Buster's Movin'.” It may be an original composition, but from the way a trilling flute overpowers all the other instruments, it will most likely be the only version ever released. Strike three is a plodding rendition of Willie Dixon's “I Just Want to Make Love to You.” Sorry, Stan, but on these numbers, YOU'RE OUT!

Originally from Kansas and now based in San Francisco, Erhart and his posse have been making rounds throughout the Golden State. Earlier this month, he presented the fourth-annual “Vet's to Vet's” Music Festival in Princeton Harbor. If he wants to be in the blues major leagues, though, he'd better work on his “batting average”!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 31-year-old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

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