Reviews roundup – Billy T Band vs. Eliza Neals vs. Omeri vs. Magenta Voyeur

 
616wrva8tsl-_ss500BILLY T BAND
Reckoning
Big H Records

It’s an unusual career move for a New York City born bluesman because in 1997 Billy Troiani upped and moved to Oslo in Norway where he was the house band leader at their Muddy Waters Blues Club.

Fair play because he got to back up a host of travelling bluesmen and as a band leader himself is now on to his fourth release. And very enjoyable it is to. He’s had the same band members since 2003 so they certainly know each others ins and outs, which has led to a fine hybrid of blues and soul.

There are some fantastic arrangements which encompass strings and brass as well as well placed backing vocals all of which bring some excellent songs to life. They can rock out and bring a tear to your eye with tunes like “One Of These Days” and “I’ve Been A Fool” grabbing you right from the first play.

If you like your blues mixed up with some Stax sounds then this is a record you really need to hear.

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612bwdsjjahl-_ss500ELIZA NEALS
10,000 Feet Below
E-H Records

I liked ‘Breaking And Entering’, my last encounter with Eliza Neals, and once I managed to get past the sleeve of this one (where Eliza seeks the entrance to the lost world of Agharti)  I remembered just what was so engaging about her raw and gritty blues shouter approach to music.

And when she ramps it up on this release it works really well. The title track is one of her best performances to date and along with the delightful “You Ain’t My Dog No More” is worth the price of admission alone.

But there is so much more to enjoy with songs like “Cold Cold Night”, “Downhill On A Rocket,” and “At The Crossroads” confirming what a fine writer and performer she is. There are a few star guests popping up hither and thither such as Paul Nelson (Johnny Winter) and Billy Davis (Jimi Hendrix) but there is no mistaking that this is very much the Eliza Neals show. A highly recommended release.

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51g8fbfwablOMERI
Day Dream’n
Three 2 Go

Some old fashioned pop / r’n’b now with the debut album from Omeri who shows a wanton disregard for appropriate punctuation on his ‘Day Dream’n’ release.

He’s a good singer and there are two or three cuts here that would have done very well for him had we been living in the late eighties / early nineties when songs like the title track, the splendid ballad “Don’t Look For Me” and “Genuine Love” would have got some serious radio airplay.

Mind you I’m an old rocker so it may well be that “the kids” are looking for some retro sounds in lieu of hippity hop so fingers crossed for him. He certainly knows a good melody when he hears one and with some more time spent refining could have something going for him. However bear in mind this is actually a glorified EP as the six tracks are padded out with a remix of the title track and a brief reprise of “One Night”. I’d try before you buy.

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51-2b32afm1l-_ss500MAGENTA VOYEUR
Moongalba
independent

We’re finishing off the day by heading to the mythical continent of Australasia to meet up with some serious hippies.

Oh yes, Magenta Voyeur and ‘Moongalba’. You can tell by the name what’s going to be going on here. And as someone who is old enough to have wandered round the eighties UK free festival circuit I can tell you that this is going to make some Ozric Tentacles / Tubilah Dog / Magic Mushroom Band fans very happy.

The band like to say they “fuse psychedelic incantation and chem-rock scientia”. Like, wow, man. But to be fair they’ve got their chosen sound down pat and people who like This Sort of Thing will really like this. The opening number “Hex” really shows off their ambitious sound while the closing, sprawling “Entanglement” is where you can really get your buzz on.

Me, I was always too cynical to let my mind be free but those of a lysergic nature will be enraptured.

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