Nick Curran and the Nitelifes
(Blind Pig (2003) BPCD 5081)
13 tracks, 42 minutes
by Craig Ruskey
Review date: March 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
Nick Curran has been busy building his reputation as a guitarist of note,
and with Blind Pig's release of Doctor Velvet, Curran steps front and center with a 42-minute
blues journey that covers a range of styles. He proves himself as a steady vocalist throughout the disc,
perhaps with the exception of the title track which doesn't quite get off the ground. He's joined by
Jimmie Vaughan for Freddy King's Lonesome Whistle Blues and the comparison between the
two slingers is interesting to note; Vaughan rips out clusters of plucked notes while Curran manages a
tone eerily close to the original with a more lyrical approach. Vaughan is also aboard for Gatemouth
Brown's Midnight Hour, a drilling shuffle laced with shattering guitar from the pair. Curran also
hits on some seriously manic Gatemouth-inspired licks in Beautiful Girl. Gary Primich delivers
some thick-toned harp for two Curran-penned tracks, a torrid Drivin' Me Crazy loaded with Ike
Turner-like guitar and scorching vocals, plus the jumping Can't Stop Lovin' You. The short yet
blazing instrumental closer, Stompin' At The Fort touches on Bill Jennings territory with a
simple yet whacky hook. Joined by a rhythm section of Eric Przygocki and Damien Llanes, Matt
Farrell's piano, along with the horns of Joe Morales and Rev. Murph Motycka, Curran garners great
support from a fine cast and manages to deliver a fully satisfying affair. While it's an opportunity to
show his blues guitar chops, Nick Curran avoids overplaying and grandstanding in favor of
adding only what's necessary. Recorded 'live' at Austin's Fort Horton Studios, engineer and producer
Billy Horton, has, once again, done a masterful job of focusing on a gritty 1950s sound. If there's one
small quibble, it's the insipid cover. www.blindpigrecords.com
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