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CD Review
Dave Hole
"Ticket To Chicago"
Alligator 4847, 1997, tracks, minutes
Strap yourself in and hold on for dear life you are about to take a roller coaster ride that is a non stop adrenaline rush. With his 4th Alligator release Dave Hole continues with his relentless, over-the-top slide guitar playing with one major difference. This time out he is backed by a group of seasoned Chicago blues musicians. Tony Z on piano, Johnny B. Gayden on bass and Ray "Killer" Allison on drums with guest spots by Billy Branch on harmonica, Ken Anderson on trumpet, Steve Eisen and Brian Ripp on sax.

I was just amazed at the intensity of his performance when I heard his first album several years ago ("Short Fuse Blues" on Alligator). With this recent release it seems his guitar playing and singing has matured and become even more tasteful. Part of the change comes from the Chicago blues performers on this record.

"Ticket To Chicago" starts out with my favorite cut on the album, the sizzling "Out Of Here." Dave's electrifying slide is complemented by his urgent vocals and some catchy lyrics. There are several slower paced songs on the album that are truly outstanding. "My Bird Won't Sing" has Dave trading guitar licks with Tony Z's fine piano and features some plaintive lyrics. "Ain't No Justice" features some soulful singing and very tasteful slide work.

Born in London in 1948 Dave Hole's family moved to Perth Australia when he was still a child and there he remained in obscurity until he literally burst upon the international music scene in 1991 when Alligator took a chance and released his self produced album "Short Fuse Blues."

I am looking forward to the 1997 tour backing the release of this album. Dave Hole's live performances are a sight to behold!

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Copyright 1998 by Ray M. Stiles
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