Reviews roundup – Black Cherry Perry vs. Joe Bonamassa vs. The Wild Magnolia Mariachis vs. Amberjacks
BLACK CHERRY PERRY
Mississippi Medicine Show
Love the name. That’s cracking that is. I mean, if you’re going to be a blues combo, then it doesn’t get much better than Black Cherry Perry’s Mississippi Medicine Show. Course, it’s going to be a bugger fitting that on the 4 x 2 sign outside the pub, but hey.
They’ve been on the go for nearly ten years now, and this is their first album of original material. “Black Cherry” Perry Gangur is on vocals and moothie, Glen Moman is on guitar, with bassist Derek Stoll and drummer Aaron McEathron, and most of the material is mid-tempo blues rock. There are a couple of good tunes in there, but it doesn’t help that the first two out of the box are dull as ditchwater. Things perk up on my favourite, ‘Coupe De Jour’, and I suspect it’s no coincidence that it’s a funky instrumental. ‘Good Mornin’ Judge’ is a close second, as it goes all Thorogood on your ass, and those songs show that there is talent here.
I’ve seen some video clips, and they certainly seem an entertaining live act, but I won’t be replaying more than a couple of these songs.
Different Shades Of Blue
The hardest working man in showbusiness is back with his 77th album in the last decade, and this time around it’s back to the blues on set of all original material.
Producer Kevin Shirley has dug deep into his address book for this one with, deep breath, Reese Wynans (organ, piano), Carmine Rojas (bass), Michael Rhodes (bass), Anton Fig (drums, percussion) and Lenny Castro (percussion) amongst the many additional musicians. But it’s very much Bonamassas album.
There are some excellent songs on offer, with the usual top notch guitar work, but it seems as though Mr Bonamassa has been pushing himself vocally as well, as this has some of his best singing. The highlights are a plenty, with the opening (post Hendrix intro) ‘Oh Beautiful’, ‘I Gave Up Everything For You, ‘Cept The Blues’ and ‘Love Ain’t A Love Song’ out and out winners, with the latters southern rock edge making it my favourite.
The arrangements are superb, with female backing vocals and a brass section dropping in as and when required.He’s got a big fan base, and they’re going to like this one, especially as it’s the sound of him going back home.
THE WILD MAGNOLIA MARIACHIS
I take back what I said earlier. THIS is the best name for a blues band, ever. The Wild Magnolia Mariachis. Granted, it sounds like a Tex Mex country band, but the clue is in the album title. Because this record loves to boogie. And there is nothing better in the whole wild world than the boogie.
Rather peculiarly, The Wild Magnolia Mariachis are German. You’d never guess it from the stride piano and the rock’n’roll vocals, but there you go. The nine piece band fire up a storm, as they rattle through a mix of originals and covers, dipping into the Chuck Berry and ZZ Top, amongst others. However, it’s a sign of how good they are, that you can’t see the join between the new and the old, with the exception of the dreadful ”Going Down To Manchester’, which should be taken out and shot, along with the Springsteen covers.
That aside, this was an absolute delight, and an unexpected one, which makes it all the more fun. Highly recommended.
Did you know that an amberjack is a kind of dart, as well as a fish? I did, but then I’m genetically predisposed towards the ancient art of throwing arrows at a board. Boys Brigade All-Eastern Champion, nineteen mumblety-mumble. Anyway, these Amberjacks are peddling a kind of psychedelic post-rock over there in Holland.
And they’re rather good. Especially as they’ve only been at this for a couple of years. They claim to be looking back to the likes of Cream and Jimi Hendrix, and you do get that feel from the rhythm section, but it’s overpinned with distortion and keening vocals, which do make them stand out.
There’s also a desert rock feel to things, as some songs had me thinking of Brant Bjork. There are some really good tunes here, although I can’t stop playing ‘Sweet Summer Rain’, which just reeks of “Sunrise on the Sufferbus” era Masters of Reality. Which, I assure you, is a very, very good thing. Definitely one to check out.