Originally published in The Red Deer Advocate, September 4, 2009
In today’s column in the Red Deer Advocate I was very pleased to review two outstanding Canadian blues albums. For me, it is a fine line between blues wankering and music that resonates with me. Of late, I’ve been listening to several blues albums and have reviewed a handful. I’ve also been exploring some older material, stuff like Johnny Winter, Son House, and even The Mississippi Sheiks. I picked up Joe Bonamassa’s The Ballad of John Henry and couldn’t even listen to it all. Yet, I put on some Alligator-era Johnny Winter- music that isn’t all that different from Bonamassa’s- and I’m entirely engaged. Please read my reviews of David Gogo’s Different Views and the latest live- and I believe only family authorized- posthumous Jeff Healey disc, Songs from the Road. Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. I hope you find something of interest, not just in my words but in exploring the music I’m recommending. Donald
David Gogo Different Views (Cordova Bay)
Nanaimo-based David Gogo is a veteran on the Canadian blues circuit, and he returns this fall with his tenth album of electric guitar-oriented shuffles and R&B boogie dance tunes.
The originals are power blues-rockers of the finest sort, with changes of tempo that encourage air-guitar miming from listeners and vocal arrangements that recall Tom Wilson (Where the Devil Won’t Go) and Carlos Santana (Lies). Different Views is soaring voices, power chords, and waves of organ, tightly arranged for maximum impact.
A pair of crack covers- Don’t Bring Me Down, owing as much to David Johansen as it does Eric Burden, and John Stewart’s Gold- serve as recognizable anchors. The 1979 hit receives a vital update, with Gogo’s whammy bar altering the familiar melody and Carolyn Mark holding her own in Stevie Nicks’ harmony spot.
Different Views is a blues album that holds up to repeated listens.
Jeff Healey Songs from the Road (Stony Plain)
During his life I largely ignored Jeff Healey, the Toronto blues and jazz guitarist who died in early 2008. While friends were grooving to his radio hits, I was busy with John Hiatt, Dave Alvin, and the Razorbacks.
This seamless set, collated from festival and club appearances during the last two years of his life, serves as a solid introduction to the bluesy side of Healey while providing long-time followers much to savour.
Showcasing the breadth of Healey’s gifts, most tracks clock in at over five minutes allowing these roadhouse jams to evolve. I Think I Love You Too Much and Angel Eyes represent Healey hits, while the catalogues of Cream, Willie Dixon, The Beatles, and The Allmans are expressively mined by Healey’s impressive band of blues brothers.
Songs from the Road is a fine addition to the Jeff Healey legacy.
Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee.