How often is it that a three-piece band comes out of Japan with an American take on music? Not too frequently. More intriguing is lead guitarist Masashi Hara. Carrying on traditions held by the likes of Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Eric Gales and Corby Yates, Masashi shoots from the hip and can come out a winner. A listen to the band's latest double cd La Vida will answer the questions.
What makes you like these youngsters from the Oriental sphere is their appreciation for the blues. La Vida is not really an all blues cd. But the alchemy is there in even the most rock n roll cuts that can glisten with body shaking boogie. "Last Request" is a headbanger's delight for Generations x, y and z. "I Believe" has a chance of making it on American rock radio if given the proper promotions. And this three piece band can make a lot of noise in "Over Man" that has Hara attacking his Stratocaster as if it was some hellhound tearing the seat of his pants.
Though they can write solid rock songs, it's really in the blues that Georgie Pie has their shining moments. The tune most likely to kill the listener is "You Gotta Move." Just imagine what Mississippi Fred McDowell thinks as Hara cuts loose on his Strat with ear-screeching slide that can chase the roosters out of the barn. Due credit must also get extended to the rhythm section of bassist Hiroyuki Kaise and drummer Hideyuki Umezawa. Their powerhouse work explodes like crystals on ZZ Top's "Tush." That "little ole band from Texas" would probably get a kick that a band from Japan can kick maximum ass on a song that was a hit single when those youngsters were just learning to walk.
There is no denial Mashashi carries the torch once held by musical pioneers Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn. That seems to be the rage with youngsters purchasing the fender guitar and Marshall amp. Although the instrumental "Little Wing" justifies that Mashashi has maybe a better understanding of speed and tone to accompany the jazz textures that underline its rock elements.
The CD ends with the title cut that has Hara outlining its musical odyssey with a banjo introduction that has the rest of the band trotting along. As Mashashi' electric guitar takes dominance, the unit becomes a government mule with a blues banner draped across its back.
The band had a small American tour back in 2000 at the urgings of legendary Buddy Guy. Going to show that blues indeed is a worldwide language coming from countries you would least like to find it. Hara might do for Japan what Rory Gallagher did for Ireland: Make us poor Americans realize we have something cooking in our own backyard and eating it before it gets stale.
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