The latest offering from Blue Wave is a sampler CD. It is ideal for those new to the blues or for anyone wanting to check out this label’s artists. Founded in 1985 by Greg Spencer in Syracuse, NY, Blue Wave’s artist base has expanded from regional to national to international. The label now enjoys global distribution.
Included on the 70 minute, 17 track disc are 11 artists who specialize in various styles of the blues. Only a few covers are included as most of the bands are well established and prefer their own material.
The most impressive band is the Built For Comfort Blues Band. They play straight out blues mixed with a touch of rock and roll. The band features the hot guitar of Morris Tarbell and cousin Matt’s whiskey soaked blues voice. Both of the bands songs groove the blues.
The danceable jump blues from Canada’s blues band, Downchild, is so impressive its sure to have you out looking for their CDs. Since 1969 this band has been considered one of Canada’s finest musical talents. You will agree after listening to the amazing harp and guitar from Donnie ‘Mr. Downchild’ Walsh. The tune "Last Chance To Dance" simply sums up what this band is all about.
Kim Lembo is a local Syracuse, NY act. Her brand of rockin blues will ensure she becomes a commonly known name. Both tracks include her powerful vocals and dynamite keyboards from Mark Nanni and Mark Doyle.
Another big Canadian blues name, Richard Newell aka King Biscuit Boy, appears on this CD. He is known for his harp talents but fellow Canadian and guest guitarist Johnny V steals the limelight on "Glide ‘N Slide".
Ronnie D’s 2 tracks are reminiscent of Kenny Neal and Lonnie Mack resulting in 2 of the CD’s stronger tracks. He knows how to mix rock, pop and the blues to come up with an eclectic musical gumbo for his guitar.
Legendary long stay Savoy Brown guitarist, Kim Simmonds, goes acoustic and does a fine job proving that he is a diverse musician. Cub Koda is a real disappointment as his guitar playing on "Mumblin’ Guitar" sounds like Bo Diddley on acid. However Cub plays every instrument on the track and the bass, drums and maracas sound just fine.
Tino Gonzales plays some funky blues that you can’t sit still through. He describes his music as ‘latin with the blues.’ Tino plays some killer guitar on "Piece Of Work" and is backed by the excellent keyboards of Paul Harris.
The band responsible for starting the label, The Kingsnakes, brings the CD to a climax. They are a blues and boogie party band in the same vein as The Nighthawks and the Fab T-Birds.
As a clever marketing tool, the liner notes are actually a catalog of all available releases on Blue Wave. 15th Anniversary doesn’t disappoint, its chalked full of blues rockin performances which Blue Wave is known for.
For CDs, booking and information, contact: Tel (315) 638-4286 Fax (315) 635-4757
This review is copyright © 2000 by Tim Holek, 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.