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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Fankhauser Cassidy Band

On the Blue Road

Review by Gary Hill

This band should be great just based on the fact that it features surf guitar legend Merrell Fankhauser and Ed Cassidy of Spirit fame. Well, it is great. In fact, it’s probably even greater than that fact conveys. The music here is mostly blues and jazz influenced, but there are other moments in the mix. It consists of an album worth of new material combined with older stuff. Most of the music here is jazz and blues standards delivered in style, but there are quite a few originals, too. This is great music and highly recommended.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc One
Further on up the Road
This is smoking hot blues delivered with a real jazz arrangement. This is great stuff. I particularly love the piano solo on this.
32/20 Blues
Complete with harmonica, this is more killer old school blues.
Bright Lights Big City
The same combination of jazz and blues makes up this great piece of music.
Excited
There’s more of an old school rock and roll vibe here. Still, it’s mixed with the rest of the concepts and that’s not a big stretch, anyway.
Walking the Dog
Now, this one is very much more of a rock song than it is a blues number. It’s got some great saxophone and it’s a lot of fun.
Louisana Blues
This is very much a downhome blues tune. I love the slide guitar and this is classy.
High Heel Sneakers
Based on bouncy, old time rock and roll, this is both jazzy and fun.
Tale of Misty Mountain
This is a big change. It’s also one of the best tunes here. It’s a slower number that’s rooted in progressive rock and psychedelia. It still has a bit of blues, mostly in the slide guitar, but overall this is more of a classic rock sound.
Possession over Judgment Day
Down home slide guitar opens this. We’re brought out into a harder rocking number with lots of blues built into it. I really love some of the instrumental work on this thing and it’s actually one of the best pieces here. It gets quite involved.
On The Blue Road
There is some great harmonica soloing on this, but there is also some killer slide guitar. This is a great rock meets blues number that has some jazz in the mix, too. It’s a tune that lets everyone get some soloing in, even the drummer and bassist. The only vocals come late and are just a chorus of the title that gets repeated.
Nicky’s Song
A mellow rocker, this has a lot of the Band built into it. I also make out some definite progressive rock leanings. It’s a great tune and another standout.
Psychedelic Dreams
Bouncy psychedelic rock is the order of business here. This is charming and fun.
Disc Two
Hot Night in Louisville
Here’s another killer tune combining jazz and blues. There is more classic rock in the mix on this than there is on some of the other stuff here.
Milk Cow Blues
This is more of a rock and roller, but it’s still quite blues based. It’s also quite effective.
Who Shout The Lightnin
Drums start things off here. Then they launch out into a killer blues jazz jam.
Goin Back to Delta
This is much more of a downhome blues tune. The fiddle playing brings some country music to the table. It’s quite an effective instrumental.
Stolen Guitar Blues
This one feels more like bluegrass to me. It’s got some folk rock and psychedelia built into it.
Brian Berry Blues
Hard rock, blues and jazz all meet on this killer jam. It’s one of the best pieces of the whole set and has some truly inspired instrumental work.
Cosmic Lady
Here’s a great rock and roller with some jazz and blues in the arrangement. The guitar solos bring a lot of 1950s rock to the table.
Voodoo in the Jungle
This is based more in a classic rock turned psychedelic sound. Somehow I hear some Santana in the mix here. This is a great tune that has a lot of drama and class. It also has some meaty guitar soloing.
Cassidy’s Big Beat
I’m really not a big fan of drum solos. That said, this one is quite entertaining. It does go on a bit long for my tastes, though.
Long Rifle
Old time rock and roll is the order of business here. This is bouncy and fun.
Papa Told Me
This acoustic rocker has a lot of blues and a lot of folk built into it.
Ed Cassidy Interview
This is a fairly short, but fun interview with Ed Cassidy.
 
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