To call Roy Gaines a renowned blues guitarist will probably surprise many younger blues fans, but this album confirms what the older amongst us have known for a long time, that Roy Gaines is one of the best blues guitarists active today.
An heir of the great Texas Blues guitar legend T-Bone Walker, Houston born Roy Gaines has been making great music since the mid-fifties. Cutting in his time some classic tracks like the instrumental "Gainesville," which still sends shivers up my spine twenty years after I first heard it, and forty years after its first release. Apart from the occasional release Roy has spent recent years in LA trying to make a go of his record label and (ultimately unsuccessful) night-club.
With this recording Roy is back, and how! Taken as a whole this album, produced and arranged by Jimmy Morello, is 42 minutes and eleven tracks of high-powered Texas guitar blues. There are some seriously strong riffs supplemented by Roy's strong vocals, and the great support he gets from the whole band, particularly Tom Mahon on Piano, Paul Fasulo on drums, Jonny Viau on tenor sax and Troy Jennings on baritone sax. Sheer quality and class runs right through the album.
The album is characterized by the first three tracks. It gets off to a flying start with the title track, which races along on a raft of powerful guitar playing, with clear vocals reminding us of the Blues Greats who have worked with Roy. Then comes "It's Midnight Baby," things begin to settle down with this song, Roy Gaines treats us to a blast of classic Texas Blues Guitar, impressively supported by some great sax and piano work. The third track "Roy Jumped The Gator" is a fast paced instrumental that really swings along, with yet more exemplary guitar and sax work. I find it easy to imagine a whole night-club bouncing when this track is played.
So Blues Fans I recommend that you get right down to the record store, and buy this terrific album, you are sure to be impressed. If your store can't get it for you, then it is available from Red Lick Records, Porthmadog, Gwynedd, Wales, UK. LL49 9DJ (Tel. +44 (0) 1766 512151, Fax +44 (0) 1766 512851. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
PO BOX 1584
Tel: +44 (0) 181 346 8663
Fax: +44 (0) 181 346 8848
This review is copyright © 1999 by Ian Webb, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.