The Fremonts Featuring Mighty Joe Milsap
No More Doggin'
(No label No cat #)
by Gordon Baxter
Review date: December 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
Although they have only been going a few years, The Fremonts' sound
suggests a pedigree extending much longer than that. The Fremonts' new CD,
"No More Doggin'" confirms that they are more in tune with the traditional
elements of the West Coast, Texas and Chicago styles. It is something of a
refreshing change to hear a new blues band that eschews the recent trend of
pitching to the rock market.
There is a subtle understated element to the Fremonts, which permeates the
album from the opening of Taj Mahal's "Strut" right through to the ending
of the instrumental "Boom Shaka." If you are looking for big flashy guitar
solos, you will be sadly disappointed. Instead what you get is a tight
outfit playing their way through a bunch of well constructed tunes
(including six out of 11 originals), fronted by the rich baritone of Mighty
Joe Milsap. Although the arrangement of "St James Infirmary" is fairly
unnoteworthy, most of the other arrangements of the covers offer a
different take on the original. On Roscoe Gordon's "No More Doggin'," for
example, Troy Sandow plays unamplified harp, and the accompaniment is very
lean; Sandow also contributes unamplified harp on Jimmy Reed's "High and
Lonesome." The best tunes here, though are the originals, starting with
Sandow's instrumental "Brother James", ranging through the ju-ju-like
"Wooden Monkey," on to the excellent closer "Boom Shaka."
If rock/blues or blues/rock leaves you cold, and you are feeling the need
for something a bit more subtle, "No More Doggin'" could be the antidote
you have been looking for. The Fremonts have a good line in original
material, and are a tight unit, with everyone knowing their role and
playing it accordingly. The CD suggests that they put on a good live show,
but until they come around to your town, you could do a lot worse than
check out "No More Doggin'."
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