The artwork for Tiger Blues Band's "Purveyor" CD features a photo of guitarist/singer Mike Manne, ax in hand, posed in front of the Brooklyn Bridge. It's an apt image that symbolizes the classic urban Blues held within. This band, from New York and their friends take on Blue's legendary three kings as well as another icon, Willie Dixon, with this eleven-track set. Does the world need another cover collection? Why not?
There is something about great blues that can conjure up a grin on even the most stoic countenance. The key to a successful cover set is that at least one element
of the band is strong enough to carry the weight of expectation. Here it's Manne's fretwork. Whether it be Albert, B.B. or Freddie, he revels in the challenge and acquits himself quite nicely. Manne does an admirable job melding what the listener has already
heard with his own well-honed skills.
The songs are the true stars here; Manne and company understand this and respond with loving renditions. "Sweet Home Chicago," lilts even as it percolates and
Manne's shimmering solo on "I'll Play the Blues for You," makes the listener mourn Albert King's passing while praising his existence. Throughout, the rhythm triumvirate of Tony Fucci (Bass), Paul Colucci (Drums) and Ken Clayton (Rhythm Guitar) dig deep into the groove and keep things moving forward, giving Manne a solid structure to wrap his solos around. "Hoochie Coochie Man," featuring Bill Coleman's muscular harp,
shows just how tight and powerful of an ensemble these tigers are. Vocalist CC Taylor steps up to sing lead on a rollicking version of "Kansas City," and provides a sensuous counterpoint to Manne's stinging lead lines.
Listening to "Purveyor," speakers cranked, cold one in hand is like finding an unexpected Blues oasis on a steamy NYC back street. It's a siren song that draws
the listener into a time and feeling that sometimes seems so far gone. Sure the Blues, like anything else, need to move forward. It's always nice, however, to take a look back in capable hands. The question can't always be what comes next? Sometimes
it should just be, how blue can you get?
Blues Artist Records
PO Box 0165
M.B., New York 11951
Simply click on the CD cover at left to order this CD NOW!
This review is copyright © 2002 by Bill Halaszynski, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.
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