Randy Volin loves used guitars. In fact, he plays at least 15 classic Stratocasters, Les Pauls and others on this disc. He says, "a 40-year old guitar just sounds better." In the early 80s, he achieved regional success with pop rockers The Look. He returned to the blues in 1986. His current band, Sonic Blues, is a power trio that deliver a fully charged 60 minute set of hard driving rock edged blues featuring 12 tracks and 3 originals. Volin handles all guitars, lead vocals, percussion and harmonica. He also produced and arranged all the tracks. He is joined by Richard Allen who is thundering on drums and Bob Hecker who rumbles on bass.
Things begin with an anthem-type rocker, "Let’s Work Together". Its the kind of song that is guaranteed to produce fists in the air when performed live. The track features Randy’s scorching slide guitar. "Parchmens Farm" is a funky alternative roots groove. Here, Volin assaults your speakers with a blazing flurry of notes. Then he bends the strings passionately borrowing riffs from Albert King during the slow blues of "Personal Manager". You will only hear this kind of killer tone from someone as experienced as Volin. "I Can Tell" is an uptempo rocker that should be a hit on pop radio. Guest musician Chris Codish uses his Hammond B-3 to fantastically lay the foundation for Randy’s hot, rockin’ guitar.
Bassist Bob Hecker takes over the vocals and delivers them with some gruff on "Dust My Broom". "Can’t Take It With You" begins like Hoochie Coochie Man but it turns into a power rocker. This original song contains lyrics such as ‘blow wind blow’ and ‘rock me baby’ which were obviously inspired by Randy’s influences. Again, Codish delivers outstanding B-3 work, challenging Volin to lay down a burning solo. It all comes together to produce an excellent tune. "Don’t Look No Further" and "Sweet Talk" are Texas shuffles that would have benefited from a heavier, less pop-sounding mix. Old time rock and roll is interlaced with traditional blues on the storming, barnburning version of Hooker’s classic "Boom Boom".
Waking Up With Wood (get your mind out of the gutter and check out the cover art) carries a lot of feeling from rough to soft to everything in between. Randy Volin is capable of writing catchy rockers that are rooted in the blues and should receive airplay. If you enjoy solid rock’n blues, why not take it to the next level with his Sonic Blues?
For CDs, booking and information, contact: Rockin’ Daddy’s Records, 12 S Broadway, Lake Orion, MI 48362 USA (248) 746-3348 E-mail: email@example.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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