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Blues On Stage
The Blues Foundation's 1999 "Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame 2009 "Supportive of the Blues"
Doug Cox & Sam Hurrie|
(Northern Blues Music NBM0030)
Review Date: Oct 2009
by Gordon Baxter
A couple of Canadian based label Northern Blues Music's recent releases have focused on Canadian roots and blues artists. The first was by Brian Blain ("Overqualified For The Blues"). The other, "Hungry Ghosts" has been planned by acclaimed guitarists Doug Cox and Sam Hurrie since they first started working together, some time after they first met when Sam opened for Doug.
"Hungry Ghosts" opens with a nicely relaxed cover of Duane Allman's instrumental, "Little Martha". First impressions of the chemistry between the two highly accomplished guitarists are confirmed by the ensuing "Cool Drink of Water". The majority of tracks are originals, and Cox and Hurrie swap guitars (acoustic and electric) and share singing duties, both being more than capable in both departments. The duo flesh out the sound on several of the tracks, mostly bringing in more vocals or adding bass or various types of drum (including bodhran, dumbek, and jug drum!). Whilst the musical interpretation of Son House's "Grinning in Your Face", complete with harmony vocals, is very good, the pick of the covers is an excellent rendition of the Stones' "No Expectations" where Hurrie sounds like a young Paul Jones. The best song, lyrically, though, is "Fear" which offers a damning indictment of the role that the media plays in selectively exacerbating the problems of the modern world. Although the album is essentially blues or at least blues-based, there is one major exception, the excellent "Red Haired Raga" which closes the album.
"Hungry Ghosts" is an instantly accessible album that is well worth tracking down. The standard of musicianship and songwriting throughout is first rate the highest order. "Hungry Ghosts" is firmly rooted in the Blues, rather than a straight blues album, but nevertheless is recommended listening.
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