Since the late 70s, Canada's Powder Blues Band has been vibrantly incorporating swing, blues, rock, and R&B into a sound they proudly call their own. They have endlessly toured Canada, the United States and overseas, sharing a music that forces people to smile and dance. The band has won both Juno (Canadian Grammy) and Handy Awards. Unlike their past 10 releases that featured a variety of rhythms, the new CD is composed entirely of big band style tunes. Three originals are included amongst the 11 hoppin' and a boppin' and swangin' tracks.
For over 35 years, leader Tom Lavin has been singing and playing guitar as a living. He is credited for writing the band's best-known songs. In addition, the core band includes members on bass, drums and keys. However, no less than 7 brass blasting musicians are featured on sax, trumpet and trombone. These joyous horns are hopping throughout and are sure to convert those who feel the blues can only be played on guitar. The result is a disc that richly delivers happy music to celebrate life.
Things get jumping with the initial mighty blast of the horns on "Good Rockin Tonight". The heavy bass of Bill Runge and tingling ivories of Willie MacCalder are prominent on "Further On Up The Road". Its a refreshing, danceable version of a tune that has been long associated with extended guitar solos. "Caledonia" will transport you back to the era of Louis Jordan. If you can't find a partner, you'll be using a wooden chair on this one thanks to Runge's tremendous tenor sax solo. "Flip, Flop And Fly" was a 70s hit for Downchild (another Canadian party blues band). It's difficult not to draw comparisons here especially as Dave Woodward ironically plays tenor sax on both! Tom Lavin's strong and clear vocals are no contest for the original utterance of Hock Walsh.
"Boppin With The Blues" is reprised from an earlier Powder Blues release. This time around Tom gets it the way he originally envisioned it. Lyrics such as: 'boppin makes me feel alright' speak volumes for what this band is all about. Your spirits will be soaring as you experience the trumpet, tenor and baritone solos of Bill Clark, Pat Caird and Runge. On the final 2 numbers, Lavin gets to exercise his fingers for some fantastic guitar work. He proves to single-handedly have as much power and triumph as his mighty horn section.
Throughout Tom rises to the challenge to ensure his distinctive vocals are not lost in the high energy pumping horns. He does an excellent job as producer and you will also enjoy the exclusive liner notes. This is a lock-tight band with excellent members who anticipate each others moves. The only downfall is at 37 minutes, the disc is far too short in length. If you are looking for a party with the absence of any troubles, you have found it!
For CDs, booking and information, contact: Lori McCombe, Peerless Music Tel: (800) 881-9914 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.peerlessmusic.com Artist website: www.powderblues.net Artist e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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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