The second independent release from the Toronto-based Livin’ Blues Band features nothin’ but the blues on its 13 all-original tracks. You can’t judge this CD by its heavy metal cover. For 50 solid minutes you will experience the world of down-home blues highlighted with blissful blues guitar and soul drenched horns. Approximately one year ago, the band was left high and dry by the sudden departure of their regular drummer/vocalist. Three original members remain from the first CD. The band is now comprised of Larry Goodhand (guitar), Bill Lyons (bass), Michael Fitzpatrick (drums) and Bill Speer (piano). Bill has also taken on the lead vocals but is more confidant when tickling the ivories. All members are 25 year plus veterans of the International, Canadian and Toronto blues and roots music scenes.
A theme of hard luck and being kicked around prevails on this disc. Lead track, "Nevada" is about the troubles that gambling brings but these troubles are forgotten thanks to Goodhand’s smooth and exquisite solo. "All We Get" is a catchy, foot-stomper inspired by the trials and tribulations of being in a traveling band. Lyrics like: ‘The big boss man says I know this crowd so remember now boys don’t play too loud’ are taken from real life experience. Guest musicians Simon Wallis (sax) and Rocky Verweel (trumpet) use their horns to pump the rhythm out and fully round out the sound. Goodhand proves he is Canada’s most under-rated blues guitarist when he cuts loose on "Got Me Crazy". He doesn’t dazzle with speed and flash. Larry plays clear, precise notes in a relaxed (almost effortless) fashion delivering quality instead of quantity. On "Lost & Found Blues", his solo is delivered with intense emotion.
The upbeat "Comin’ Down" shows Speer at his peak. He is all over the 88s on his organ solo and provides impressive keyboarding throughout the album. The boys prove they know how to have fun on the hysterical "Married Man". It’s a perspective on relationships before and after marriage and is strictly written from the male point-of-view. Surely every married man will relate to lyrics such as: ‘but now she won’t do what she used to do anymore’. The humour continues on "Road Kill" and its high tales of life on the road. "Party On" is a tune that will have you jumping, swinging and shouting. It will go down big at the clubs. Throughout the songwriting is modest but there are times when it all comes together very strongly as on "Say A Prayer". Here, the medley, vocals, horns and guitar are all right on the line. The tune crosses over the blues into soul and funk and is worthy of airplay on radio that feature these genres.
For CDs, booking and information, contact: Tel (416) 266-9291. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.livinblues.com
This review is copyright © 2001 by Tim Holek, 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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