I've heard about Javier Vargas for a few years now, and my first real introduction to him was a live CD that I was able to obtain a couple months back. Since then I've been able to locate several other CD's that's he's recorded over the last few years. "Gipsy Boogie" is a different CD from the previous one's that I've obtained. While most of the others were solidly into Texas style blues overall, this CD strays in style to a more latin flavored blues. Think Texas blues mixed with Carlos Santana style latin sounds along with a strong dose of Spanish classical and flamenco music. This CD over the others that I've obtained shows Javier Vargas at his most diverse musical styles. My first reaction was "this is different" but the more I listen to it, the more I like it. This CD is turning out to be one of my favorites by this artist. The guest list of musicians on this CD is extensive. The production was handled by Jim Gaines and is first rate throughout.
The CD opens with 'Body shock', kicking off with a latin rhythm and later melding together with a more traditional sound. 'Illegally' leans towards a latin flamenco sound musically. This is a slightly laid back song with a story to it. 'Havana Getaway' kicks off with Santana style percussion and then mixes heavy power chords on guitar to great effect. Later in the song, slide guitar, Hendrixy feedback and jazzy piano combine for some wonderful musical interplay. 'Chill OUt(Sacalo)' is full out Santana style all the way. 'Blues For My Baby' is a slow blues which harkens back to the soul singers of the late 50's and 60's. (at least to me!) Lonnie Brooks shows up on 'Back Alley Blues' as a guest vocalist. Lonnie is a great showman and entertainer and does a great job on this song. It's style is slow blues, harkening in style to somewhere in the southeast part of the USA. 'Gypsy Bookie', the title track gets some latin horns via keyboard and flamenco guitar from Manoblanca. This is an uptempo song that would fit right in on Santana's "Abraxis" album. The Late Little Jimmy King does the vocals on 'Scratch Me Back' and is a straight 12 bar blues. Texas style guitar riffs abound here. The CD closes out with an instrumental 'Blues Hondo'. Great guitar work and a great mix of latin and blues styles.
Bottom Line: This CD, for the most part, is a mixed bag of Santana style blues, Texas blues, classical and flamenco guitar. If you like Carlos Santana or similar artists (and I can't think of Anyone similar to Carlos at the moment) then you should like this CD. The songs and musicianship are excellent, the production is top notch. I wish Javier Vargas's CD's were more available here in the United States. They are a bit hard to find but well worth it. This CD is a real keeper and I give it five out of five stars.
Javier Vargas - electric guitar
Larry Graham - vocals and bass
David Montes - vocals
Lonnie Brooks - guest vocals
Little Jimmy King - guest vocals
Chester Thomson - drums
Ernest Williamson - Hammond B-3
Pat Registar - saxophone
Manueal de Lucena - cajon
Manoblanca - flamenco guitar
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