Just as the CD's producer, JERRY BLUM, did when he dedicated this recording to the memory of FLEET STARBUCK, I make that same dedication of this review.
It is certainly a great pleasure and honor to have the opportunity to review this CD. Having lived in the area for the past 25 years, not only have I had the pleasure of seeing all of these bands countless times, but I've also had the pleasure of meeting and becoming very good friends with just about every musician on the recording.
Before I get into the musical aspect of the review, I'd like to pay tribute to several of the artists. On this recording are several bands who have in the past, and will in the future, represent the South Florida Blues Society at the INTERNATIONAL BLUES CHALLENGE held every year in Memphis. Last years' honors went to ALBERT CASTIGLIA and ERNIE SOUTHERN, and this years' honor will go to JOEL DA SILVA with the HEP CAT BOODADIES.
I'd also like to give mention to two of the CD's senior blues men, JUNIOR DRINKWATER and JOEY GILMORE. JUNIOR is the areas closest real connection to the blues. Having grown up in Mississippi and having picked cotton as a young boy, he is a true Delta Blues Man. Meanwhile, JOEY - who is a spitting image of B. B. King - deservedly has the reputation of being the areas local blues legend.
Now, about the music. There are sixteen very well done tracks, some originals and some covers, by sixteen different bands. Unfortunately, because this review will appear in many Blues Society's newsletters, space does not allow me to say something about every one of the excellent tracks.
"OH BABY, BABY", an instrumental original by FLEET STARBUCK, is one of my personal favorites. It's a very slow, sultry number with lots of good sax, trumpet and piano. It's only fault is that it's too short. This is the kind of stuff I could listen to all night long.
JOEY GILMORE does one hell of a job on a track title "GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI". He really sings this song with the soul that the lyrics mandate and his guitar playing is as good as it gets. This track also features some great background vocals and some real fine drums.
JUANITA DIXON with the JEFF PRINE GROUP do one hell of a job on "YOU CAN HAVE MY HUSBAND (BUT PLEASE DON'T MESS WITH MY MAN)", but then again this act does one hell of a job on everything they do. JEFF on guitar and BOBBY FREEMAN on the Hammond B3 are right on the mark and JUANITA really belts this one out.
"GYPSY CURSE" an original by another long time veteran on the local scene, MIDNITE JOHNNY is a nice smooth number. This track features some great guitar work and vocals by JOHNNY along with lots of good organ playing.
Some of this CD's best guitar work is heard on "THE KEY", an original by JOHN HARRIS of THE FABULOUS FLEETWOODS and on "LONESOME TRAIN", by the LADY A BLUES BAND. Interesting enough, both of these bands are fronted by harmonica players, yet on both of these tracks, the harp is not even heard. However, the guitarists do light up these two tracks.
The harmonica is finally brought into play by NICK TRILL on an original titled "LAID OFF". Nick is also the voice behind the very smooth vocals on this cut, which also feature a great background sax. Another track featuring real good harp playing is "WAIT ON TIME" by the STRATOCASTERS, a very well sung, well done, cover of a KIM WILSON song.
More great guitar work, along with some very good bass playing, is featured on a shuffle called "BIG LONG BUICK", by SLIP AND THE SPINOUTS. This one is smooth, real smooth. The bands in one long groove from start to finish.
Other tracks on "SHOWCASING THE BLUES" VOL 2 are "LIKE A ROOSTER ON A HEN", by JUNIOR DRINKWATER & THE THIRST QUENCHERS; "CADILLAC ASSEMBLY LINE", by ALBERT CASTIGLIA; "IT'S A LOW DOWN DIRTY DEAL" by JOEL DA SILVA AND THE SIDEBURNS; "TEASING THE TRAINS" by IKO IKO; "GOIN' INSANE" by ERNIE SOUTHERN; "BORN TO BOOGIE" by OUTTA D'BLUES; "HOOCHIE COOCHIE MAN" by BLUE HOUSE.
After ten years of playing together the PAUL SPEIDEL BAND has finally released their debut CD, "THE PAUL SPEIDEL BAND". The band consist of three very confident and talented players - PAUL SPEIDEL on guitar, BRENDAN BYRNES on drums and ED SPARGO on bass. All tracks are PAUL SPEIDEL originals.
Although every track is basically musically perfect, I found it odd that all of the tracks would be instrumentals, especially on a debut CD of the blues genre. An endeavor such as this requires, as I mentioned above, lots of talent and extreme confidence in that talent.
It didn't shock me one bit, that as I did some research at Paul's website, the first line I saw stated "Paul Speidel, Professional Musician and Music Educator." From the very first time I listened to this CD and every time since, I have thought it to be one long music lesson. I'm certain that any guitar player, young or old, novice or professional would agree.
This CD never gets bland or boring, which is not always the case when all instrumentals are involved. There is plenty of diversity in Paul's style of play as well as his writing. You'll certainly hear a little bit of jazz, a bit of rock and lots of blues. There is even a very nicely done acoustic solo number included.
"SLOW BURN" was easily my favorite track on the CD. It's a seven minute plus long track of pure straight up blues. Paul mixes in a few very nice, real slow and soft riffs in with a few finger lickin' burners and the result is quite pleasurable.
"D-BOP BLUES" is a jumpin' hot number which features the rhythm section. Ed and Brendan, get to lay down several very impassive solos throughout the track.
One thing for sure though, is this CD is all about the guitar. Therefore, if you are a fan of the instrument, be it a player of any level, a wanna be or one of those head bobbing, jumping up and down air players, you should definitely get your hand on a copy of "THE PAUL SPEIDEL BAND."