There's a bit of a 'do or die' quality about a band's sophomore effort. A "now it's time to prove it" quality, if you will. Based on the quality of "Topless," Big Daddy G's second outing, you can bet
he'll be doin' it for a long, long time!
Although he's a life-long resident of Whitby, Ontario, Dave Glover's guitar work has the sort of lean, clean tone usually associated with Texas -- no surprise, since he lists both T-Bone Walker and Freddie King as influences. And there's a bit of Texas grit around the edges to keep it real. He's also spent some time listening to the great jazz guitarists; like them he constructs his solos, so that each time he cuts loose he seems to follow a musical logic that reaches an almost story-like climax. Dave's musical partner, Tortoise Blue, is a triple-threat, handling lead vocals, Hammond and harp. To me it's his harp work that really shines; he's got great tone, and there's something almost laid-back about his solos. Even at top speed it feels as though he's perfectly relaxed and
As the main songwriters, Dave and Tortoise keep it pretty lively. The title tune's a rockabilly romp, and "Stringbeans 'n' Tater," named for Dave's daughters, could just as easily be called a tribute to Freddy King. There's gospel on "Keep Your Head Up," "Checkbook Game" swings like mad, and there's way-cool jazz organ on "Spud's Groove." Bassist Wayne Deadder contributes the disc's opener, a jumping "New Man Blues." Excellent horn charts by Pat Carey are a highlight throughout.
Guests this time include Dutch Mason, Canada's own "Prime Minister Of The Blues," (an honorarium bestowed by B. B. King himself!), and Donnie Walsh, who's led what many consider "Canada's blues band," Downchild, for over thirty years now. Jack De Keyser, another local legend, contributes some sizzling guitar, as does Ottawa's Tony D. Also from Ottawa, making his (I believe) recording debut on harmonica, Southside Steve Marriner. Fifteen years old at the time of the sessions, he's simply awesome. Future, watch out!
Dave's friend, Tony Flaim, was to contribute vocals to the project but passed away days before the sessions started. The spontaneous "Blues For T.F." is a fitting tribute, and the inclusion of a demo he cut prior to his death proves a classy way to wrap things up. Nice touch, guys.
Okay, I confess. I do know Big Daddy G. (I wrote some of the liner notes for "Topless" as a favor). And no, I don't get a cut if you buy the disc. But I think you should anyway, because it's over seventy minutes of pure, from-the-heart and the gut blues, played with passion and crafted with care. What more could you want?
Big Daddy G
701 Rossland Rd East, Suite 402
Canada L1N 9K3
Email address: email@example.com
Please Note - Big Daddy G's CD is available on Amazon.com
This review is copyright © 2000 by John Taylor, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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