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Electro-Fi (ELECTRO3448)

Midnight Hour, Here’s My Picture, Prove It To You, Cool To Be Your Fool, Check Yourself, Stop This World, Take A Chance, Lucky Kewpie Doll, Pepper Mama, Walking With Mr Lee, Detroit Blues, Georgia Slop, Dim Lights, End Of The World

Brought to us by a five man super-group fronted by established Red Lick favourite Mark Hummel (vocals and harmonica) and the twin guitar attack of Little Charlie Baty and Anson Funderburgh, you won’t be surprised to hear that this is a wonderful whompin’, stompin’ blues album from start to finish.

While Hummel’s is the nominal front man, leading as he does with his enjoyably quirky vocal delivery, swinging blues harp blowing and in assuming the ‘lion’s share’ of song-writing responsibilities, this is very much a team effort with all involved parties excelling.

Much of the attention will naturally fall on the superlatively varied and plentiful guitar offered up by the two star axe-men, throwing in as they do loads of riffs, solos and enjoyably imaginative sparring between them. This statement of intent is enthusiastically made from the off, with an enjoyably raucous version of Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown’s Midnight Hour, followed up a sumptuously rolling guitar riff that drives Here’s My Picture forward.

Of the 14 wonderful tracks, only three offer up any respite to an upbeat party feel by introducing a slower meditative approach. Of these, the version of Mose Allison’s Stop This World is an undoubted highlight, closely followed by Mark Hummel’s own End Of The World finale, which nicely incorporates a brooding John Lee Hooker-style guitar riff to add to the atmosphere.

Elsewhere it is pretty much bouncing and rockin’ blues all the way, from a storming instrumental workout on Lee Allen’s Walking With Mr Lee through to a B.B. King-style Pepper Mama (included as a tribute to B.B.) with Anson Funderburgh’s splendid guitar filling in for the great man.

Not that this album is just about Hummel, Baty and Funderburgh. Wes Starr and RW Grigsby are excellent on drums and bass respectively, with Grigsby particularly deserving of a nod of appreciation for having written Detroit Blues, featuring super-smart lyrics that help make this track a particular stand-out on an album not exactly bereft of highlights.

Already a contender for rockin’ blues album of the year? Get it now, we are sure you will agree.

Review Date: April 2016

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