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Live Review
The Slam Allen Band
@ City Limits, Delray Beach, FL, Mar. 6, 1999.
By Dave "Doc" Piltz
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According to Harrison "Slam" Allen, "SLAM" was the name he used as a professional wrestler in New York. It also means, "Smooth Like A Mother*&^%$#," laughs Slam from his stool at City Limits in Delray Beach, Florida. Allen is a self-proclaimed "New York City country boy" and, by my estimate, soon to be a much better known player of the New York City blues sound popularized by guitarists like Popa Chubby and Michael Hill. In fact, Allen even has the perfect blues look, reminding me of a short reincarnation of blues giant Willie Dixon.

With local drummer, Rick Geragi filling in, The Slam Allen Band consisted of Allen on lead guitar and vocals; Lefty Wallace on bass; and Mike Quick on second guitar. Allen proved himself to be a smooth and aggressive guitarist, with Quick also offering some fine guitar licks. Wallace and Geragi formed a surprisingly tight rhythm section despite Geragi's unfamiliarity with the band's material.

After a short opening instrumental, the band performed a fine version of Luther Allison's, "Soul Fixin' Man." This excellent cover was followed by an Allen original entitled "Sometimes You Got To Have Rain" from Allen's debut CD, Things Sho' Done Changed. During the song, Allen walked through the audience that surrounded the outdoor stage, offering a winning smile and some hot guitar licks. Another Allen original, "Last One To Know," followed, with guitar solos by Allen and Mike Quick.

During Buddy Guy's "Slippin' In," a freight train roared through Delray Beach, directly behind the stage. Allen gave the crowd a look of surprise and continued on to finish the song. After the last note of the song was played, Allen laughed and exclaimed, "I want you all to know, that scared the hell out of me!"

Over the course of the evening, Allen played almost all of the songs from his CD, including the title track, "Things Sho' Done Changed" and a smooth slow blues called "Let Love Go." Some of the other better known covers offered by The Slam Allen Band included Stevie Wonder's, "Superstitious" paired with "Shakey Ground;" "Turning Point;" and the classic, "Born Under A Bad Sign."

City Limits is an excellent outdoor venue for music and The Slam Allen Band took advantage of the environment by putting out some fine sounds during the evening for South Florida blues fans. I strongly recommend giving the The Slam Allen Band's CD a listen and if you get the opportunity to see him perform live; TAKE IT!

Click here for the CD cover art and webpage/ordering information.

This review is copyright © 1999 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.

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