Challenged to give a listen to Paul Wood's rendition of "She Don't Play By The Rules", it got the plop into the player. Perusing the literature, Paul Wood is Bay Area native now calling Memphis home. Having worked for years as the second guitar behind John Lee Hooker, Wood has been strumming in the Reba Russell Band of late. Working and touring with his own band, he is now on the road in support of this effort. Blues Is My Business follows his previous solo release, Bridge Burner.
With a clear horn complement ala Memphis Wood kicks it off on the aforementioned tune, but the steely guitar comes through on the next cut "Blues Guitar" and the title cut blazes with brilliant phrasings. "Blame It On the Whiskey" hits the pedal for some nice sound, while "Seventh Day" and "Another Day" pull together the sharp musical harmonies, intricate axe lines, and lyrical recollections.
Paul takes on the lead vocals and guitar stuff and is assisted by Jack Holden at the production helm and playing some keyboard and rhythm guitar. The bottom is built up by Steve Potts on the drum kit and Dave Smith on the bass guitar; while space is filled by Al gamble on the organ for two tracks. Saxophone is honked by Jim Spake and the trumpeter is Scott Thompson. The harmonicat is Lyn Jones, and Steve Mergen gives up the percussion. Background vocalists are Holder and guest Reba Russell.
While it's a stiff call to challenge the reviewer, Wood is no slouch playing generic blues. He definitely has a blues rock flavor and tendencies that come out plainly in his work. The swamp rock sound and slide of "Everything Dies But the Blues" too gives way to wailing strings. Vocally sound material and the roughly half original material is enticing and entertaining throughout. Like "Don't Call Me", there is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears involved, and the righteousness of this effort can't be doubted
Strong string bending and caressing going on with this biscuit. Wood has peeled back the outer layers and shown real musical diligence, pushing the original material and Memphis flavor with strong rocking guitar; flavorful slide action to boot.
Broadway Productions; P.O. Box 13111; Oakland, CA 94661: or, www.Paul-Wood.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.