Jacksonville, Florida-based Dr. Hector and The Groove Injectors have a reputation for being a fantastic road band, a throwback to some of the great Southern rock bands of the 60's and 70's. This is not surprising since guitarist Dru Lombar served for 10 years as the leader of the Southern rock band Grinderswitch, along with his work as a songwriter and session player for Capricorn Records in Macon, Georgia, working with some of the immortals of Southern rock. However, unlike their rock predecessors, Dr. Hector and The Groove Injectors make their living playing blues and R+B.
Vital Signs is the 2001 release by Dr. Hector and The Groove Injectors on NSP Records. Recorded live on December 22 and 23, 2000 in Orlando, Florida, the band seizes the opportunity to demonstrate their exceptional skills in front of a live audience. Not looking at the liner notes before popping the CD into my player, I was actually surprised when I realized at the end of the second track, "Midnight Run," that I was listening to a live recording. With the "Doctor," Dru Lombar, on guitar, backed by long time band member Gene Melendreras (drums), Stuart Baer (keyboards) and John Davies (bass), the band works its way through a 68 minute set comprised of nine original tunes. Although song #10, "Picking The Blues," is credited to Elmore James for its signature slide riff, it too is actually an original, displaying Lombar's excellent slide work.
At times, the music on the CD reminded me of some of the recordings that I have listened to by Albert King, featuring some strong keyboard injected with King's powerful two note riffs. Although Lombar's leads are probably a bit more note-filled, the feeling of King Albert's work is certainly apparent. As you listen to songs like "Bad Connection," "Midnight Run" and "Satisfy You," the strength of the band is readily heard. Lombar's slide guitar is fabulous on "Picking the Blues," a song that pays fitting tribute to the "Father of the Electric Slide Guitar," Elmore James.
The only thing that I found missing from this great recording was the inclusion of a big honking saxophone such as I heard the first time I saw the band perform live in a Miami, Florida bar about a year ago. Despite this minor let down, this is an exceptional CD with a lot of creative, original music.
To find out more about Dr. Hector and The Groove injectors and/or to pick of a copy of Vital Signs, visit the band's website at www.drhector.com. The trip to this doctor is guaranteed to make you feel great!!!
This review is copyright © 2001 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, 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.