"Keeping the Blues Alive Award" Achievement for Blues on the Internet Presented by The Blues Foundation
Psst - here's a secret . . . reviewers read reviews too! Sometimes it's retroactive, to see if others agree with our assessment; sometimes it's in advance just to see if we too might like a given disc.
I'd read a couple of rave reviews of Nick Moss's sophomore effort, "Got A New Plan," before it arrived. So I approached it with pretty high expectations - expectations I'm happy to say were met or exceeded on almost all counts. This is one fine outing indeed; not perfect, mind, but its strengths far outweigh any weaknesses.
Nick's young by blues standards, yet he's already found time to tour with both the Legendary Blues Band and the late Jimmy Rogers. With a background like that it should come as no surprise he's learned a few lessons about classic Chicago blues, and that's just what one gets with "Got A New Plan, Nick's second outing under his own name.
There are a generous fourteen tracks here, with ten from Nick himself. And for the most part it's Nick's own compositions that work best. Firmly within tradition (circa 50's Chicago), they range from pure twelve-bar grinders fuelled by Nick's lean, tough guitar and Bill Lupkin's thick-toned harp, to soul-drenched numbers driven by Des Desormeaux's one-man brass orchestra. There's funk on Nick's own "Work Your Hips" and Donny Hathaway's "(Kind Of) Ghetto" (to me the disc's least successful track - it simply goes on too long). Nick shows he can go deep on "Katie Ann," an original that sounds as though it's straight off the plantation. And "Arrowmaker Pass" gets my vote for instrumental of the year, it's certainly the coolest riff I've heard in a long, long time.
Nick's vocals are honest enough but not his strongest point; it's particularly apparent on his cover of "My Love Strikes Like Lightening," which suffers in comparison to Muddy's original. On the plus side, he seems to know his limitations and doesn't allow his reach to exceed his abilities. And honesty's always been what counts anyway, right?
Production has a lot to do with the project's success; it sounds like a vintage outing from the fifties, lots of dirt and echo apparent throughout; credit producer Richard Duran, better known to most as Lynwood Slim, who also contributes harp to the aforementioned "Katie Ann."
When a relatively young band releases a disc so firmly in a traditional vein, it's inevitable that comparisons will be made with the masters of old. In Nick's case, everything holds up remarkably well, and the inclusion of so many strong originals shows much promise for the future. I look forward to hearing more from Nick.
Highly recommended, particularly to those who love 'old school!'
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