First impressions. This guy LOOKS like Ernie Isley, for years, THE most Hendrix-influenced guitar player around. So, when I heard the first cut, a hyper Hendrix-y thing, replete with wah-wah pedal, that could’ve been an outtake from "Rainbow Bridge," I thought, "hmm, if this is the first cut, what’s he got left to show me?" Well, after the next one, more of the same, the phrase "one trick pony" popped into my head.
Well, Pistol Pete can play the guitar, but all I hear is other voices, the loudest being Mr. Hendrix, but I also hear a less angular Vernon Reid, and obviously Ernie Isley. As the tunes veered away from Hendrix, an attempt at a slow blues (sounding NOTHING like "Red House") floundered in futility. Although the strong points of Pete's playing are fast blues licks over a rock rhythm section, when it comes to "the real blues," the Pistol leaves me cold.
After a lackluster stab at a reggae groove on the 11th cut (of 20), I shut it off and made a sandwich. (please listen to Sly & Robbie, or Marley, or Toots & the Maytals, before trying this again!)
Vocally, is where the weakness becomes all too obvious, the lyrics are basic boy-girl fare, with none of the celestial imagery and mystery that pervaded Hendrix's lyrics, even when just talking about lowdown sex. Although Pistol Pete can play guitar, its a long road to a place where he can develop a distinguishable concept, and a personal sound, enough to make a good record. After hearing 11 cuts, I still don’t know if Pistol Pete gets angry, or frustrated, or is in love, or gentle, and despite some decent playing, its a pretty juvenile effort.
This CD, though in a Hendrix mode, has none of Jimi's sci-fi voodoo, none of Stevie Ray's revealing honesty. none of the ironic wisdom of the blues masters from Robert Johnson to Muddy to Wolf. Stevie Ray had more passion in one lick, than I heard in half this record. As for Jimi, aw, shucks.........one note!
Sorry y'all, ol' Slim'll have to pass on this one.
GREY GUYS, LTD, PO BOX 4222, ROCKFORD, IL 61110
This review is copyright © 1999 by Guadalupe Slim, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.