No, Converse isn't wearing Chuck Taylor's on any of the pictures on his new CD "One Step Ahead." But his music does wear like a comfortable pair of high-tops on the parquet.
Produced and engineered by Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix) and mastered by George Marino (Beatles) at Sterling Sound in New York, "One Step Ahead" contains six written or co-written Converse songs and a couple of fine covers including Lowell Fulson's "Sleeper," whom the album is dedicated to, Riley "B.B." King's "Recession Blues," Edgar Winter's "Give It Everything You've Got" and a wonderful version of Willie Dixon's "I Ain't Superstitious."
Joining Converse on the 1999 Mystic Music release is drummer Damon Duwhite, bassist Ken Rich, horn players Arno Hecht and Larry Etkin, guitarist Hugh Pool, keyboardist Jason Ladanye, background singers Bill Sims and Toby Rose and percussionists Eddie Kramer and Geraldo Valdez.
The first three tracks are in the Chris Duarte vein with the addition of some horns. Track four, "Eternity," finds Converse settling in nicely on this traditional 4/4 slowdown with tasty pentatonic scale guitar solo. The slide is brought out for track eight an up-tempo Mississippi Delta-inspired cut titled "Drown Yourself in the River." Duarte's ghost reappears on "SNAFU," a rousing and bombastic instrumental with some decent bass lines as well as a little Stevie Ray Vaughan inspired guitar thrown in to boot.
For those who enjoy the sound of a TS 808 Ibanez Tube Screamer through a vintage Fender amp and the playing and music of SRV, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Duarte, Hendrix and you get the picture, will want to add this one to their CD collection.
This review is copyright © 1999 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.