One of the finest harp players on the planet, Paul deLay knows what he wants to do with the damn thing when he picks it up. Charmed by four previous releases on the Evidence label, deLay is back with more innovative contemporary blues and he makes no apologies in its wake. On this effort, Paul is joined by his old friends and musical cohorts and they sure fall into their own wavelengths joining forces with unbelievable power and accruement.
The Paul deLay Band backs Paul on the harmonicas and lead vocals. deLay's veteran Portland posse is Louis Pain on the big Hammond organ and organ bass; Peter Dammann on the guitar; and Dan Fincher on the tenor sax. Kelly Dunn, newest band member, is heard on the drum kit. Forceful rhythms are delivered without bass guitar as Pain and Dunn come together on intricate mixed beats and accents. Adhering to no formulas, standards, or conventions, the Band takes great steps to carve new musical channels.
Paul plays his harp through his own Space Case device and on this platter you may hear those effects. Playing both diatonic and chromatic harmonicas, Paul leads us through this set with wild phrasing and his strongest vocal deliveries to date. Check his harp, effects, and dueling leads on "Jimmy Jones".; or any of the many others. There is a unique flavor crossing through with organ delivered bass rhythms as well. Often heard to-and-for with deLay's harp or Dammann's string work, Pain's organ also pulls off some fine double duty.
From the kickoff "Over Money" this crew keeps the mix fresh, while deLay downloads his vocal complement and intersperses his brilliant harp notation. All around these blues have massive appeal and bouncy rhythms, yet economic leads keep all simple. All the fourteen tunes come from deLay's writing bag; he copenned six with Pain, Dunn, or Fincher. The material is all about today's existence. Songs like "Bess & Ernie's Rib Joint" even document disappearing landmarks, while others like "Over Money", "Wealthy Man", and "I'll Quit You Tomorrow", cue in on today's needs. And of course, Paul's songs of love and love-lost fall true on "So Near", "Love Grown Cold", "In The Pocket", and "Ain't Feelin' That Love No More".
Get it all here from deLay and company as they lay out the incessantly strong blues from start to finish. Modern blues needs Paul deLay shining his light for others to notice, follow, and perceive that new music can be fun, innovative, and still the blues.Thumbs are way up on this plateful.
Evidence Music; 1100 E. Hector St., Ste. 392; Conshohocken, PA 19428:
or e-mail EvidenceMusic@aol.com
This review is copyright © 2001 by Mark A. Cole, 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.