The liner notes in this CD open with the following statement:
"There are few things in life more soul-satisfying than listening to an ace slide guitarist work out in open tuning. If you're not with me on this notion, or at least open to it, you just bought yourself the wrong CD."
This is an apt warning, as this CD is total open tuning slide guitar in the traditional blues mold, fairly raw and with few frills. The vocals are in the same mode...no screaming vocals will be found on this CD, as they are mostly limited to the traditional laid back blues style and could be compared to Bnois King of the Smokin' Joe Kubek Band. Henry Cooper wrote 14 of the 15 songs on the CD, played all the slide guitar, harmonica, and produced the sessions. The guitar work is all open tuning slide guitar, and Cooper knows his way around an open tuning, working several styles into the traditional blues form. About half the songs are instrumentals and range from slows blues to toe tappers. Overall the guitar work is very good and if you enjoy slide you should like this CD.
"Wicked Wacky Blues," one of several instrumentals, would be called a toe tapper in some circles, with dueling guitar and keyboards, almost honky tonk in sound and style.
"Love The Life You’re Livin" almost has an early Yardbirds guitar & harmonica sound which in itself was a reflection of the blues records that made it to England during the early 60's.
One of the best instrumentals on the CD is "Henry's Hideaway" which has interesting slide guitar backed with an infectious beat, although it's short, clocking in under two and a half minutes.
"King Me," another instrumental is almost a slide surf tune, without the reverb but with the same drum beat and musical layout as hundreds of surf tunes.
"After All," is a slow blues, where the vocals are almost talked with guitar responding to the vocal comments.
"Sittin' On It" is a rockin' tune, with an almost swing feel to it, with the guitar work reminding me of late 50's or early 60's style of Scotty Moore.
"No Fears" sounds like an updated Robert Johnson song with full band backing.
Bottom line...If you like slide guitar, traditional slide guitar blues, harmonica blues or the vocal stylings of Bnois King (of Smokin’ Joe Kubek band), then this is definitely your CD.
Henry cooper - Guitar, Harmonica & vocals
Andrew Larson - Keyboards
Wric Bryson - Bass
Andrew Cloutier - Drums, Percussion
Web Site www.burnsiderecords.com
This review is copyright © 1999 by Robert T. Murphy, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.