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Various Artists

This Is The Blues Volume 4

Review by Gary Hill

The fourth installment in the “This is the Blues” series, this disc has some interesting performances and perhaps the most eclectic and famous group of performers. For my money, nothing here really reaches the level of the music contained on the third disc, but there are some moments that really shine.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
This Is Hip – Mick Taylor / Max Middleton / Godfrey MacLean / Michael Bailey / Pete Brown

There’s an old school blues vibe to this cut. It’s a fun little number and has some tasty slide guitar.

Judgment Day - The Pretty Things
Here’s a hard rocking electric blues number that’s very tasty. There is some scorching guitar soloing later in this cut. 
Looking For Somebody – Snowy White / “Rabbit” Bundrick / Kuma Harada / Jeff Allen

This one’s all about the mood. That doesn’t mean the guitar soloing doesn’t really stand out, because it does. It’s more about taste and style, though, than about fiery pyrotechnics. I love this song. In fact, I’d consider it one of the highlights of the set. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the great retro organ sound.

Baby Lee – Gary Brooker / Andy Fairweather-Low / Matt Pegg / Henry Spinetti
This is based on a killer retro blues groove. It’s a great tune. This isn’t knock you over the head blues, but rather simmer and soak in style. The cut is another that features some great retro keyboard sounds.
Blind Man - Maggie Bell / Big Jim Sullivan
The first half of this is just an acoustic blues guitar solo. Vocals join later and they add to the old school blues element. 
Man Of The World – Ian Anderson / Andy Giddings / John McKenzie / Pete Brown
It’s easy to forget that Jethro Tull started as a blues band. Here Ian Anderson is accompanied by other performers. For my money, this is very much a mellow prog rock piece, in keeping with Jethro Tull’s sound. I wouldn’t consider it blues, though. I would consider it cool, but I don’t think it really fits here.
The Green Manalishi – Arthur Brown / Dick Heckstall-Smith / Randall Ward / Mark Williams / Gary Scuz / Jeff Danford / Pete Brown –
Here’s a song that came from Fleetwood Mac’s blues period. Many people probably know Judas Priest’s metal rendition better than they do the original. This version fits somewhere between the two. With Arthur Brown on hand, one would expect a bit of weirdness. If you were hoping for that, you wouldn’t be disappointed. There’s also a Hawkwind-like jam later in the piece that’s quite cool. It seems that Brown and company throw some new lyrics in later, too. 
Watch Out – Harvey Mandel / Jon Paris / Wilbur Bascomb / Damon Duewhite / Pete Brown
This is an old school walking blues. It’s a nice change after a couple atypical pieces. There are a couple tasty blues guitar solos on this piece. 
Lazy Poker Blues – Ray Gomez / Troy Turner / Bobby Chouinard / “Even” Steve Levee
This one’s a fiery electric blues piece that rocks out pretty hard. It’s nothing that will change your opinion of the blues, but it just works.
The Business – Suzanne Sterling / Futoshi Morroka / Chris Wilson / Ken Greene / Lonnie Walter

There’s a bit of progressive rock and jazz element to this, but it still fits pretty well in the blues category. I like this, but it’s not one of my favorites here. The killer female vocal performance, though, is well worth mentioning.

Drifting - Top Topham / Jim McCarty / Andy Cleveland
This cut is a slow blues with a focus on the guitar. 
A Fool No More – Kim Lembo / Mark Doyle / Cathy Lamanna / Mike Doyle
Another guitar oriented blues, this one is really got a lot of passion and fire built into it. There’s a false ending and when it comes back there’s some great retro organ just filling the top edge. 
If You Live - Georgia Fame / Tristan Powell / James Powell
The organ really delivers the biggest chunk of power and style to this piece. It’s another retro sounding slow blues track. 
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood - Miller Anderson
Based on an acoustic guitar motif, I’ve always loved this song. This version is basically a passionate folk arrangement. There’s some cool electric guitar soloing later in the piece. 
Oh Well – Billy Sheehan / Roy Z / Greg Bissonette / Doug Van Booven / Tommy Mandel
Another blues jam that was originally created by Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, I’ve always loved every version of this song I’ve heard. This one wanders towards heavy metal (as you might guess from the personnel) but it still maintains plenty of real blues in the mix. They also include a killer instrumental jam later that’s got a lot of that old Fleetwood Mac sound and spirit built into it. It’s proggy and tasty.
 
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