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Live Review
The Dirty White Boyz
featuring Curtis Blake
@ The Blues Saloon, Jan. 30, 1999
By Ray Stiles
Curtis Blake & Craig White
Jan. 30, 1999
Photo © 1999 Tom Asp
All rights reserved
Itís always a treat to listen to Curtis Blake play harmonica. One of his regular gigs is now playing with the Dirty White Boyz, a local blues band headed up by guitarist, band leader and "the" Dirty White Boy himself, Craig White, Curtis is a versatile player with a complete command of the harmonica that puts him in an elite class of harp players. Itís always fun watching him coax monster sounds out of that little instrument. After the opening number that had lead guitarist White starting out playing in the back of the audience with his remote guitar mike on, Blake launched into a Latin blues number called "Coming Home" that featured a nice duo with the guitar and harp matching each other note for note. It takes some pretty good musicians to pull this off effectively and Curtis and Craig did it without a hitch.

The first set was steeped deep in the Muddy Waters style of electric Chicago blues featuring a number of familiar standards from Muddy to Albert King. After a stimulating rendition of "Born Under a Bad Sign" White displayed some of his SRV guitar influence with a stellar rendering of "Cold Shot" played with a very high energy level. Many guitarists tend to overplay the SRV guitar thing but White displayed a maturity in his playing that featured just the right mix of vocals and guitar.

At this point Craig called up a new singer by the name of Doug Banks that he is working into the band. Banks has a well trained voice that is almost "too" good to sing the blues. His vocal style and sound had a Robert Plant quality about it that was pretty impressive. Having the vocals sung by someone other than Blake or White (on the song "Little School Girl") also allowed those two musicians to really stretch out and play off of each other. They were trading some brutal licks and engaged in an improvised segment that brought a spontaneous cheer from the audience when they finished. The solid rhythm section was ably held down by Jonathan Thomas on bass and Bill Engebretson on drums.

They played a nice cover of John Lee Hookerís "Boom, Boom," that ignited the dancers in the audience and their version of "Going Down," a song done by just about everyone, was done with some fresh energy that made it pretty exciting to listen to.

The evening ended on a high note with a resounding "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" that was done in grand George Thorogood style. This is an entertaining band that you should try to catch at one of their upcoming shows. They are playing at the new Mars Music store in Bloomington on Sat. March 6th at 2PM.

This review is copyright © 1999 by Ray Stiles and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.


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