William Lee Ellis must have been destined to be a musician. His father,
Tony, was one of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys, and Ellis junior was named
after the great man. Ellis' third CD, "The Full Catastrophe," was well
received on both sides of the pond when it came out in 2000. Yellow Dog
Records have now picked up on "Conqueroo" which looks set to follow in its
"She Conquered The Conqueroo" opens the album in a jaunty style. Ellis
serves up some nimble fingerpicking, and sounds in good voice, delivering
this one with a lighter touch. A positive start, which is reinforced by the
a cappella rendition of "My Religion Too," where the Masqueraders help out
with the vocals. Ellis is an acknowledged lover of sacred blues, which
makes the inclusion of this one, and "How The Mighty Have Fallen" a fairly
Ellis' music is firmly rooted in the blues tradition, but he also
incorporates other elements of American music along the way.
Country/bluegrass gets a look in on "Where Would I Go," for example, where
father Tony supplies the violin, and "Honey Take Your Time." He also gets
close to rockabilly territory on "Never Be The Child" and "Rider On Your
Soul" where long time cohort Larry Nager slaps the bass whilst Ellis
supplies some appropriately fiery slide on steel guitar.
Apart from a Chuck Berry's "Maybellene," which Ellis delivers as a
relatively genteel romp, all of the other songs are originals. This
includes the two solo tunes that close the album. "Black Sea Blues" is a
fairly laid back piece which features some more nice picking before Ellis
rounds off with some very neat laps slide guitar on "Rose Hill."
"Conqueroo" is a good album, and a worthy successor to 2000's "The Full
Catastrophe." Anyone who bought that one and liked it, will not be
disappointed by "Conqueroo." Those who missed out last time around who like
their roots music with a heavy blues slant will find plenty to admire here.
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