The Big Bang
The Big Bang's new CD, independently released at the end of this summer, delivers the first new material since their first album "Smokin'" was released in 1995. "Easy" has eleven tracks and over 49 minutes of mostly original, rocking bar room blues their many fans have grown to expect. The band is joined by several guest artists on this recording including Renee' Austin on backing vocals, Andy Bailey on keyboards, Mike Bullock and Daryk Narum on saxophone, Matt Darling on trombone, and Todd Stewart on baritone sax. Except for three cuts all songs were written by members of the band which include guitar players Michael James and Ted Larsen, Jeff Hayes on bass and Michael Rey Larsen on drums.

This is a solid album featuring some fine song writing, excellent guitar playing and the exuberant energy the band always brings to their live shows. The newest member of the band, Michael James, is featured song writer on the first two cuts. He also plays some nice lead guitar on these two songs as well as handles most of the lead vocals on the album. The songs range from the steady back beat of the opening cut "I Really Do," to the slow-tempo "Don't Touch Me," to the faster paced "Tragedy," to the rockabilly stylings with "Juke Joint Jenny," to the Fenton Robinson classic, "You Don't Know What Love Is." The band did Fenton justice on this cover. In fact at Robinson's recent show at the Blues Saloon I told him one of our local bands had recorded his song. He seemed genuinely pleased and was looking foward to hearing it.

Just like their live shows the band members share duties on vocals and lead guitar on the album. This allows the band to explore varied territory drawing on their different interests. Jeff Hayes' song writing shines as usual and he takes the lead vocals on his rollicking "Juke Joint Jenny," a fun, fast paced tune that demonstrates Jeff's incisive humor. His song "Tragedy" has some catchy lyrics. One of the better songs on the CD is the Jeff Hayes penned "Don't Want To Say Goodbye." This song features the fine organ playing of Andy Bailey and some super guitar and vocals. My 16 year old son was "very" enthused about this song. He says it has some great guitar playing throughout and was the one song on the CD that jumped out at him when he first listened to it.

Ted Larsen turns in some tasteful guitar playing that ranges from the sublime on the Junior Wells song "I Could Cry" to the clean-touch and emotion filled blues guitar on "Changes." The one instrumental on the album by Ted is the final cut on the CD called "Air Stream Chili."

I'm not sure if they want this secret out but there is a special treat on the album. It has an unlisted bonus track at the end. If you wait for one minute after the eleventh cut, "Air Stream Chili," you will get to the bonus track which I think is called "Love Gone Wrong." This is an entertaining parody of a country song done with Jeff's tongue firmly planted in cheek. The band's official position on the CD is... "What Hidden Track?" As Michael Rey said, "we just can't go into any environment, even the studio, and be serious the whole time."

To get on The Big Bang's mailing list or to order the CD write or e-mail:
The Big Bang
6723 Knoll Street
Golden Valley, MN 55427
Hotline: 612-813-0470
E-mail: biggbangg@earthlink.com

See two reviews of their live shows:
Review of a Big Bang show from this summer.
Review of their CD release party at Bunkers in September.

Mailbox E-mail Ray Stiles at: mnblues@aol.com

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Copyright 1997 by Ray M. Stiles

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