This is, by far, going to be one of the toughest reviews I have ever done. And I mean that in a good way. This CD absolutely floored me and as fast as all of the good things I want to say are racing through my mind, there are so many that I just don't know where to start. I may very well have to turn the CD off to get this review done. Sitting still to type, and paying attention to what I have to say, may virtually be impossible while listening to "GOING HOME".
I guess I'll start off by expressing my frustration. Yes, I am actually disappointed in the fact that this excellent band - THE BLASTERS - have been around since 1980 and this is the first I have heard of them. You can bet that the first chance I get, I will be looking to obtain more of their earlier material.
Being eager to learn more about this band before attempting to say anything about them, I read, in earnest, the seven page booklet that accompanied the CD. That only led me to want to know more. Suddenly I found myself not only at the website of THE BLASTERS, but also at the website of the Doo-Wop Society attempting to learn more about the CALVANES and the MEDALLIONS, guest stars on "GOING HOME". It amazed me how much history that is involved on this CD....but, that's a whole other story.
On "GONG HOME", a reunion tour live CD, all five of the original BLASTERS - PHIL ALVIN on guitar and vocals; Brother DAVE ALVIN on lead guitar; JOHN BAZZ on bass; BILL BATEMAN on drums; GENE TAYLOR on keyboard are joined by some legendary special guests. Those guest include SUN RECORDS Recording Artist SONNY BURGESS, Chicago Blues Man BILLY BOY ARNOLD, Doo-Wop Legends FREDDIE WILLIS and HERMAN PRUITT from THE CALVANES, and BILLY FOSTER and BUBBA CARTER from THE MEDALLIONS.
The BLASTERS have succeeded in mixing more genres of music on one CD than I have ever thought possible and the result is staggering. Their special formula of Blues, Doo-Wop, Gospel, R&B, Rock, Rockabilly, Soul and Swing combined to create an explosion of musical energy. The guitars, drums and piano are played to an exhilarating level of exhaustion. From the opening cut of "MARIE MARIE" to 16th cut of "FLIP FLOP & FLY", "GOING HOME" is a relentless presentation of hard driving music, superb vocals and extraordinary harmonizing.
My particular favorite cuts on this CD were all of the ones featuring the CALVANES and the MEDALLIONS...."HELP YOUR DREAM" - which had a bizarre resemblance to an old JOHNNY CASH song called "NORTH TO ALASKA", "HAVE MERCY BABY" - which literally had me jumping in my seat and constantly hitting replay, and "ONE BAD STUD" - which is the fastest, most rocking cut on the CD.
THE BLASTERS - LIVE - "GOING HOME" is also available on DVD which I also have the pleasure of possessing. These items, the CD and the DVD, have been huge source of my entertainment of late. I highly recommend obtaining both.You can visit The Blasters on the web at: www.davealvin.com/blasters.html
First of all, I'd like to say this to these two very fine blues bands from Italy, in their native tongue............"Desidero chiedere scusa ad entrambe fasce molto di talento per il lungo faccio ritardare con questa revisione, esso ero ingiustificabile di me."
Apparently in Italy, the country of my ancestors, the blues is being very well represented. Admittedly, quite some time ago I received several CD's from two very excellent Italian Blues Bands and I am finally getting around to saying some of the nice words these two bands are worthy of. These bands are THE BANG BLUES BAND from Azzano, Italy and FAMILY STYLE from Milan, Italy.
THE BANG BLUES BAND, consists of the following five fine young musicians: STEFANO GALI on vocals and acoustic, rhythm and electric lead guitars; MARCO VANOLI on rhythm and electric lead guitars; GIORGIO GASPANI on piano and organ; MARCO RIPAMONTE on bass; GREGORY GRITTI on drums. Their CD, entitled "THE LIAR", contains 11 tracks of which 9 are originals. It always impresses me to see original music on foreign blues CD's. It makes me feel very comfortable in knowing that there are musicians out there, in other parts of the world, working at keeping an American Art form alive.
Although the two covers on "THE LIAR" are definitely over covered songs, "FIVE LONG YEARS" and HOOCHIE COOCHIE MAN", the BANG BLUES BAND does quite a respectable job of them. Nevertheless, I was more impressed with their original work. One of my favorites on this CD was "SUBWAY MORNING" on which the band seems to shine. There is some real good guitar and piano work and the band gets into a nice tight groove on this cut. Another cut that had me shaking was "MY SEN`ORITA", and on "BUT I LOVE" and "OLD MAN'S STORY", GEORGIA does some great organ and piano playing. All in all I really enjoyed this CD.
FAMILY STYLE is another excellent group of fine young Italian bluesmen. They are FRANCO LIMIDO on vocals and harmonica, MARCO LIMIDO on guitar, DAVIDE BIANCHI on bass and GIGI BIOLCATI on drums. Also on this CD are guest players TONY McPHEE on slide guitar and backup vocals, and SLAWEK WEIRZCHOLSKI on rhythm guitar and backup vocals, STEFANO FRANCO and MICHELE FAZIO on piano, LUCA TONANI on bass, PATRICK McGINLEY.
Once again, on "WALK", it impresses me to see 8 cuts out of 11 LIMIDO BROTHERS originals. The two covers, "EASY" (W. HORTON) and "WALKING BLUES" (R. JOHNSON) do however feature some great harmonica playing by FRANCO and slide guitar work by TONY. On "MY BABY, SHE'S GRAND", FRANCO does some excellent harmonica blowing and some real nice work with some very smooth vocals. "CHAPLIN" is perhaps my favorite cut on this CD, and that's no doubt because it is the bluesiest. It is a soft, slow, sultry instrumental on which MARCO and MICHELE excel on guitar and piano. This is another CD which I thoroughly enjoyed.
My wife has been wanting me to take her on a vacation to the Tuscan Region of Italy. I hope that when we finally get around to going that, since I may not be too far from Azzano and Milan, I will get to hear THE BANG BLUES BAND and FAMILY STYLE live.
You can visit Family Style on the web at: www.familystyleband.com/