If you enjoy soul moving, toe tapping, road house style blues, with a twist of humor, West Side Wayne & The Boulevard Band is the CD to listen to. I loved the opening song, which is the title for the CD, "That'll Do." Now that's my kind of man! (You'll have to listen to the CD to know what I'm talking about). Another song that had my attention was track number seven, "Little Red Rooster." By the time the CD ended my
face ached from smiling so much. Westside Wayne plays the kind of blues that make you feel good inside.
The musical venture for West Side Wayne & The Boulevard Band began in high school over three decades ago. This California blues band is led, and has been since the beginning, by Wayne Berwick, singer and skilled harmonica player. He and his band began their journey jamming through the sixties and early seventies in places such as, Troubadour, Gazzari’s, PJ’s, and the original Ash Grove. Eventually, they became
the house band at the legendary Rick's Blues Bar in Venice, until another break came their way.
Unfortunately, according to West Side Wayne's biography (which you can find on his web site at http://www.WESTSIDEWAYNE.COM), just as the band was climbing toward the top, it came to a halt. Apparently, not all of the band members were able to make a commitment to the band, and they parted ways as a group due to the turmoil. As time went on, Berwick and Hurwit (The drummer) moved on with other professions, and eventually went on to have families. Although their professions had changed, their passion to play the blues had not. Berwick and Hurwit still continued to play at local jams or with friends.
Their dreams of playing the blues had never died, and eventually in 1998 they met up with a Texas blues guitarist, Rick Cantu, who wanted to add his energy to the group. Soon Berwick called upon two other blues buddies from his wild past, Joel GreenBerg, formerly from Canned Heat, and Rick Bozzo from Meat Loaf to join them. Once Berwick was perfectly balanced with Rick's and Joel's (Rick Bozzo, Fretless Bass, Rik Gantu, guitar, Joel Hurwit, drums, and Joel GreenBerg, keyboards) they became West Side Wayne & The Boulevard Band.
It took Berwick's and Hurwit's persistence and passion to finally achieve their first release, "That'll Do," after 30 years of playing together. I thought their long journey has definitely paid off after listening to this incredible CD. I have always enjoyed listening to the sweet, succulent wails from a skilled blues man's harp, and the wails from Wayne's harmonica moved me into another world.
If you want to listen to this CD, "That'll Do," you can contact the band at WWW.WESTSIDEWAYNE.COM. Or you can purchase it at Amazon.com and
Tower Records in the Los Angeles area.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Mia Jennings, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.