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Aces (the)

in Reviews

Aces (the) – No One Rides For Free

the aces

El Toro ETCD 6044
You’re Gonna Loose – Stole Something From Me – Shed Some Light On Me – Knee Deep In Mud – Drinkin Song – Need Your Lovin’ – Down In The Cave – Mr Highway Man – House On The Hill – Kanka Kanka

If you believe that Eric Clapton is a blues god, well, nice to meet you and see you later. But if you like your blues raw, dirty, primitive, and threatening, the Aces are the band for you. With two guitars, drums, harmonica, and distorted vocals, this California (Santa Rosa) combo plays a lo-fi electric blues with a hypnotic beat that takes its roots in the likes of Hound Dog Taylor and RL Burnside. They add a good dose of garage with a “straight in your face” powerful wall of sound. Imagine if the Cramps had taken their main inspiration in Chicago blues instead of rockabilly. But enough of comparison they build their own sound, keeping things simple and effective, no flashy licks here or 20 minutes solos, but guitar player Derek Irving keeps things varied, playing slide guitar on some tunes and sitar on others, like on “Down On The Cave” with its “Smokestack Lightnin’” inspired riff.
It’s music with guts and sweat and, in the end, a truly great album.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Mitch Woods

in Reviews
Mitch Woods Jukebox drive

Mitch Woods – Jukebox Drive

El Toro Records
Jukebox Drive – Drunk – Boppin’ The Boogie – Blue Light Boogie – Saturday Night Boogie Woogie Man – Blues Hangover – Boogie Woogie Bar-B-Q – Tipitina – Boom Boom – Parchman Farm – Swell Lookin’ Babe – Mitch’s Boogie

Piano player Mitch Woods has made quite a name on the blues/jump scene, releasing numerous albums. He also worked with legends such as John Lee Hooker and Earl King to name but two.

His touring led him to Europe where he stopped in Barcelona, Spain. There, he met one of the finest gang of blues and jump musicians : The Lazy Jumpers. Together they recorded these fine piece of jumpin’ blues, boogie woogie and juicy rhythm and blues.

Half of the 12 songs are Woods’originals, but if the credits weren’t written, you’d swear these are covers as they perfectly fit in the rest of the material. The general inspiration rangess from Louis Jordan to Jimmy Liggins, but you also find a straight blues number with Hooker’s Boom Boom (not very original idea of cover, but well played so… enjoy), a bit of rock’n’roll (the Little Richard inspired “Swell Lookin’ Babe“) and on the jazz side a solid six minute version Mose Allison’s Parchman Farm.

Another nice addition to El Toro Rhythm & Blues serie and one more evidence of the Lazy Jumpers’ talent.
Buy it here.


Fred “Virgil” Turgis

Caroline Casey

in Contemporary artists/Reviews

Caroline Casey & her Stringslingers – This Broken Crown

Caroline Casey

ElToro ETCD3022

Caroline Casey is the second “half” of the Casey Sisters, a rock’n’roll-rockabilly band that released two albums on the Tail label. She makes her solo debut with this album on the Spanish label El Toro.

While her ex-partner in crime Lil’ Rachel chose a Rhythm’n’Blues way (check her two fantastic albums, also on ElToro), Caroline, backed by the always excellent Lazy Jumpers, offers here a fine late 50’s/early 60’s honky tonk/Bakersfield album full of steel guitar (and dobro too), fiddle, twangy guitars and country shuffles on which she wrote every songs but four. Her strong and powerfull (and beautiful) voice perfectly fits the genre.

Of course you’re in well known territories but it never sounds artificial, repetitive or “cliché”. There are plenty of slight variations that make the album enjoyable from start to finish. “Little Pink Mack” has a truck driver song vibe in it and it makes you dream about a duet with Chris “Sugarball” Sprague. “Used Wedding Ring” is a poignant waltz written by Al Urban. “Treshold” changes the pace and brings a slight touch of Tex-mex with trumpets and castagnets. Another highlight is “Six Empty Bottles” in the vein of “Heartaches By The Number”. You’ll find a western swing touch with “That Kiss Is There” an uptempo number with excellent piano and fiddle while “Dark Of Night” adds a touch of gospel and “Texas Boogie” closes the album with… a boogie.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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