Here is an innovative artist who hasn't got his just reward. Multi-instrumentalist Maurice John Vaughn launched his professional music career playing saxophone. By the mid-70s he abandoned R&B and disco for the blues and concentrated on playing guitar. The record companies came calling but they wanted Maurice as a sideman only. Dissatisfied with others calling the shots, Maurice independently recorded, produced and released the Generic Blues Album. In 1988, Alligator added it to their catalogue and augmented it with a second Vaughn release in 1993. Throughout the '90s Maurice has worked as an A&R man for numerous artists. He is continually in demand as a sideman and in-studio musical director. David Whiteis' vital liner notes reveal much more about Vaughn and sets the mood behind the journey that resulted in this effervescent disc.
Dangerous Roads is his first full length release in 8 years. This high class, Vaughn- produced, 50 minute disc contains 13 tunes with only 1 cover. Without a doubt Twist Turner greatly assisted by co-engineering and using his recording studio for a portion of the tunes. Throughout the disc, B.J. Emery magically blows marvels with his mighty trombone. If you love blues with brass and sass, this disc is worth it for B.J. alone. "Talking To Each Other With The Music" is a hearty studio jam demonstrating pure Chicago blues. The lyrics reflect Maurice's ambition and motivation for being a bluesman. On the song, Khouki Pontelero and Fred Brousse perform marvels on piano/harmonica. Pontelero gets flying on the 88s again on "Mama: She Believed In Me". The harp is the centerpiece of the relaxed title track. Closely following is the combined brass attacks of B.J. and Maurice. "Two Can Play That Game" is loaded with high energy from the blasting and brazen horns. Perhaps the rhythm gets too repetitive here but Vaughn's vocals are strong and the horn charts are forceful. "In The Midnight Hour" has been covered too often both on and off stage. Pontelero proves equally dangerous on organ on the dust-kicking sing-a-long "Stop And Take A Drink". Piano-meister, Detroit Junior, demonstrates bone-rattling barrelhouse boogie on "I Don't Care". Then on "Shoo Fly Shoo" he plays like he has returned from the fountain of youth. "The Pigeon" is an interesting social perspective from the eyes of a fowl. The way this bird gets treated is like the way too many people treat others on ground level.
Each track blends right into the next with no time to catch your breath. Don't let the cover misguide you as this is not a blues guitar release. Rather, the melodies are laid back and abounding at the same time. Roads lead to adventure and ultimately freedom. Along the way, there are many risky avenues to choose and pursue. If you long for the sanctuary of versatile rhythms with hints of funk, R&B and lots of brass, get cruising this Dangerous Road.
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