Rick Adams makes his home on northern Vancouver Island, a wild, rugged place on the edge of the world. A dedicated outdoorsman, it's simply not in his character to tour the smoky bars that constitute the average bluesman's landscape; you're not likely to see him at your local saloon any time soon. But thanks to technology, Rick's music can be heard by all, and "At The End Of My Chain" is definitely worth hearing.
Rick's music. Can we say that, when the disc consists entirely of covers? Well, yes. Rick taught himself guitar while a guest of the constabulatory (thanks to a disagreement regarding, as he puts it, "which naturally occurring plants are permissible for consumption"). And given that he was working from instructional books that didn't come with sound samples, he developed a highly personal style indeed. The building blocks were solid; Rick studied the likes of Fred McDowell, Furry Lewis, Robert Johnson - and his disc includes material from all of the above in addition to a 'blind triumvirate' of sorts - Blind Blake, Blind Willie Johnson, and Blind Boy Fuller. He's not restricted to the pre-war ear, though; he opens with a superb rendition of Johnny Winters' "Mean Town Blues," followed by a take on Ray Charles' "What I Say" that's nothing short of revelatory. A couple of traditional tunes bring the cut count up to eleven, with proceedings coming to a close with Steve Winwood's "I'm A Man," the only track here that doesn't quite work; whereas Rick, working primarily in a trio format, manages to add something to the rest of the songs, this one can't quite get past the lack of Mr. Winwood's organ and the veritable 'wall of sound' that rendered the original a classic of blue-eyed soul.
Rick's joined on this outing by bandmates Todd Sacerty on bass and percussionist Billy Hicks; their driving rhythms power everything along with an irresistibly propulsive urgency. Guests include Gerry Barnum (harp, slide guitar), co-producer Ken Hamm on mandolin, and J.T. Little, whose guitar on "I'm A Man" is the disc's only excursion into the electric. While none are household names, performances throughout are top-notch.
Whether it's the relative solitude of the place Rick calls home, or the isolation in which he established his musical foundation, Caindawg has developed a truly unique voice. He's carved something out here, something that feels just right. "At The End Of My Chain" is a treasure on many levels; as a fresh look at classic material, as a collection of honest and heartfelt performances, and as a darn fine listen. You won't find it in your local record store, but it's unquestionably worth the price of postage.
My advice? Get bitten!
156 Rockland Road,
Campbell River, BC,
You can now order other CDs, books, and videos from Blues On Stage in association with Amazon.com. Simply click on the logo at the left and shop! They have some of the best prices on the web and even offer some used product at lower prices.
This review is copyright © 2002 by John Taylor, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, 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.
Web Design SPECIAL, get your own website for just $50.
You can help support this blues website by making a contribution (click on the banner below for details).
Or mail a donation to: Ray Stiles % Blues On Stage, PO Box 582983, Mpls, MN 55458. Thanks!
Web Hosting & Design:
Web Hosting & Design.
Most affordable web hosting and design services available.
Find out how you can host your current site at Blues On Stage, or how I can help you design your own website!
If you would like your CD reviewed, please send TWO (2) copies, along with promotional material to:
Blues On Stage
PO Box 582983
Minneapolis, MN 55458-2983
E-mail Ray Stiles @ email@example.com with any questions.