For years, the word on the Downchild Blues Band has been that not only are they arguably the best Canadian blues band, but one of the best anywhere. This career retrospect certainly feeds fuel to the idea that this may be one of the most overlooked and ass-kicking blues bands on the planet. Covering three decades and an adventurous stylistic palette, this superb collection has refused to let go of the CD player for a while. Led by guitarist/harmonica player/vocalist supreme Donnie Walsh, this is non-stop exciting. While Walsh is continuously impressive, cuts featuring vocalists Rick 'Hock' Walsh (especially on brother Donnie's "I Got Everything I Need Almost" and "Shotgun Blues" -- later popularized by the Blues Brothers) and Tony Flaim (especially on "Going Dancing" and "Tell Your Mother") are bonuses. These guys could both have had strong careers. Unfortunately, both have since passed.
There are live takes, big band and small band cuts, originals and covers (though very few). The thread that binds them all is superb musicianship and soul. This is a band that has always known how to throw a party, but never fell into the rut of boogiebluesband.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Mark E. Gallo, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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