Nick Moss And The Fliptops
Count Your Blessings
(Blue Bella BBCD1003)
18 tracks, 77 minutes.
by Craig Ruskey
Review date: July 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
Following up on his 2001 release, Got A New Plan, wasn't going to be an
easy move for Nick Moss and his band, The Flip Tops. The wide-ranging critical acclaim for his last disc landed in blues publications on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and as far away as Japan and Australia with the general consensus echoing the idea that Moss could
well be the future of blues. With Count Your Blessings, the votes shouldn't
sway a peg. Nick Moss & The Flip Tops still consist of harrowing guitar and booming
vocals courtesy of Moss, plus the tried-and-tested rhythm section of Andy Lester and Greg
Campbell, and there are plenty of guests this time around as well. Nick's recent bride, Kate,
handles additional guitar chores and Barrelhouse Chuck has become a full-time member,
but adding the talents of Anson Funderburgh, Sam Myers, Lynwood Slim, Curtis Salgado,
Johnny Bradley, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, and Bob Stroger make the party an even bigger
success than most should have expected. If one thing is immediately evident it's that there's
more of a flat-out Chicago feel present on this new release due in part to the material as
well as the congregation gathered to spread the gospel. Curtis Salgado's harmonica work
is ridiculously good, and while that should come as no big surprise to those familiar with his
work, it might cause some to wonder why he doesn't play anywhere near as much on his
own discs. Nick's guitar and voice play perfect foil to each other; while his vocals are
projected smoothly with plenty of feel, his guitar playing has the dirt and grime of
Chicago's tenement neighborhoods, and the inclusion of Barrelhouse Chuck's keyboard
abilities complement the outcome with heavy doses of Otis Spann, Sunnyland Slim, and
other fallen Windy City heroes. Highlights over the first half of the CD are far too numerous
to list but Heavy On My Mind exudes more Chicago grit than a Southside gutter,
Do You Know is astounding with an infectious push-and-pull groove, I'm Mad
features broomdusting guitar and two-fisted piano, and Porchlight sports a distinct
funkified approach. A little better than the first half of the disc is made up of sharp originals
while the second half pulls together Leroy Carr's Barrelhouse Woman, Floyd Jones'
Ain't Times Hard, both with vocals from Barrelhouse Chuck, Big Bill Broonzy's Hey,
Hey and Sonny Boy Williamson's She Brought Life Back To The Dead, featuring Sam
Myers, plus A.C. Reed's This Little Voice with Curtis Salgado out front, and more, but
there's no discernable difference between the Moss-penned items and the classic gems
chosen as covers. Nick Moss & The Flip Tops are the real and raw deal, but don't
take some reviewer's word for it, grab Count Your Blessings and find out for
yourself! www.nickmoss.com has additional CDs, session photos, touring schedules, t-shirts,
gadgets, and all-around fun stuff.
Blue Bella Records
164 Division, Suite 203, Elgin, Illinois 60120
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