I have been lucky enough to see slide guitar wizard Roy Rogers perform on two separate occasions, first at the 2000 Tampa Bay Blues Festival and later that same year at the 10th Annual Kansas City Blues and Jazz Festival where he performed with Shana Morrison, the daughter of music great Van Morrison. At that time Rogers indicated that he was backing away from a heavy tour schedule because it was becoming more and more difficult to maintain a touring pace and because he wanted to devote more time to producing recordings. Given my appreciation of Rogers' strength and innovation as a slide player, I was happy to see that with the release of Slideways on Evidence Records, Rogers has not stopped recording and, in fact, co-produces his first CD of all instrumental slide music.
For the lover of good solid slide guitar that is also as eclectic and varied as Roy Rogers' skills with a guitar, Slideways is definitely a joy to behold. Right from the opening punch of "Avalanche" to the closing solo performance of "For the Children," Rogers delivers the goods again and again and again..... Performers on the CD include Rogers' periodic recording partner Norton Buffalo on harmonica, lap steel player extra ordinaire, Freddie Roulette and even a couple guest "shots" by former Muddy Water's drummer, Francis Clay, along with a variety of other fine session musicians.
Each time I have listened to Slideways, something new has popped up and caught my interest. The opening number "Avalanche" is a powerful number with Rogers' guitar dominating the piece. This is followed by "Smoke and Mirrors" offering the first of several excellent harp fills and solos by Norton Buffalo. On "Razor's Edge," Rogers takes a break from his slide domination, moving to percussion so that the lap steel talents of Freddie Roulette can take center stage. Even before I checked the liner notes, I knew that "Duckwalk" was influenced by the immortal Chuck Berry, only to find out that the song was written as a tribute to C.B. On the one of the songs that include drummer Francis Clay, "I'm With You," the music takes on a definite Chicago feel, at times reminiscent of a Muddy Waters slide groove combined with a Jimmy Reed shuffle. "Talking Walls" has an eerie feeling to it with a mysterious sound generated by Rogers' slide guitar combined with Norton Buffalo's chromatic harp. Rogers lets his "swampier" side show through on "Crescent Steps" and "Gumbo Funk," along with his solo number "Swamp Dreams." "No Destination," "There Is Only You" and "Precious Moments" have different feels to them sometimes bordering on the spiritual side of the aisle. The finale, "For the Children" is also a Roy Rogers solo number that puts the CD to rest with more powerful slide work that bids farewell to the listener until the next time they meet with Rogers again in the future (Hopefully, not too distant a future.).
Slideways is an enjoyable movement through the many styles and interests of slide guitarist Roy Rogers. Especially if you are a fan of instrumental music, this CD is a must for the blues lover's collection. To pick up a copy, visit your local blues music seller or e-tailer or write to Evidence Music at EvidenceMusic@aol.com. Also, visit Roy Rogers' website at www.Roy-Rogers.com to find out more about this fine musician.
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This review is copyright © 2002 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.
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