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Miller Anderson

Bluesheart / Chameleon

Review by G. W. Hill
The new double disc set features two albums from Miller Anderson (along with a few bonus tracks). I have to say that of the two, the first one is a more cohesive release. The second takes more chances and diversifies more. I can't say that I like one more than the other, though. They are both great rocking music that's more often than not deeply informed by the blues. Most interesting for fans of Deep Purple is probably the fact that Jon Lord plays on a lot of the first disc.
Track by Track Review
Disc One: Bluesheart

                  
High Tide and High Water

I love the guitar soloing on this cut. It is showcased on the intro, but also serves as punctuation on a lot of the vocal lines. This is a great blues rocker. To me this cut is like mixing Stevie Ray Vaughn with the Allman Brothers. The guitar solo based instrumental jam later brings in some shades of Jimi Hendrix.

Falling Back into the Blue
Much more of an old school blues grind is the idea here. This is kind of back porch acoustic blues, but with a more modern arrangement. I dig the harmonica, but the vocals really sell this thing.
Little Man Dancing
The bluesy rock on this feels closer to the kind of thing Eric Clapton would do. I don't like this nearly as much as the first two songs. Still, it has its charms. The guitar solo section reminds me quite a bit of Robin Trower.
Help Me
The bass really drives the early parts of this cut. Some harmonica cruises across the top of it. The tune turns out something that seems more closely tied to Buddy Guy. It's a great stylish blues number. The organ solo is a nice slice of retro cool. A drop back for a harmonica solo is also a feature of this number.
House of the Rising Sun
When you cover something as well-known as this, you just have to make it your own. Anderson does a great job of that. From the smoking hot guitar soloing that starts it to the classy soulful blues sound, he firmly implants his trademark on the piece.
Running Blues
Stripped down, old school blues, this is really so retro in texture. The organ soloing adds a lot of that. It feels like something that B.B. King might have done in the day. I love the guitar solo on this piece.
Smokestack Lightnin' / Wang Dang Doodle
This T-Bone Burnett two-fer weighs in at over ten minutes in length. The first half is delivered in a very much old school blues style. That said, there are elements that make me think of the Doors (particularly the keyboard solo). The two cuts are more intertwined than they are one after the other, but it does start exclusively inside one song and end exclusively in the other. This gets pretty hard rocking later in the track.
Sending Me Angels
Here we get the most contemporary sounding piece of the disc. It's good stuff. I just don't think it stands as tall as the rest. It's just perhaps a bit too mainstream pop music.
Houston
This is more old school rock and roll than it is blues. Then again, those two styles are both cousins. It is a fun little rocker however you label it, though.
Vigilante Man / Crossroads
The first half of this two-fer is an old school slide guitar blues jam that's great. He brings "Crossroads" in with the same basic principle. There is some killer guitar soloing on this.
Bonustracks
              

Jon Lord Blues Project - Houston (Scotland)

Wow! This is so cool. It has such a great energetic groove to it. I like this version better than the studio take for sure. It's on fire.

Little Man Dancing (Solo Acoustic Version)
I dig this version. It lends an immediacy to the piece. It's a live take.
Disc 2: Chameleon
                  

City Blues

The electronic elements that start this might make you think you have put a prog rock album on to play. As the other instruments join, and we're taken into the song proper, it's a full-on modern blues rocker.

By the Light
Now, this is a big change. I'd have to say that this rocker is sort of part alternative rock and part folk rock. It's a classy cut and a nice bit of variety. It's actually one of my favorites of the set. I suppose it's similar to some of Bob Dylan's electric stuff, but the vocals are much stronger.
Bad Mouth Mama
Another that lands more in the modern end of things, this does get more of that bluesy sound built into it. This makes me think of the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
Fog on the Highway
More pure blues, this has an old school sound to it. It's such classy stuff. I really dig the organ solo on this. It's such a slice of retro blues, but then again, so is the whole song.
Little Brother
This cut makes me think of Bruce Springsteen. I like Anderson's vocals better than I like The Boss'.
Me and My Woman
Now, this is a smoking hot old school electric blues stomper. It's energetic number that rocks like crazy.
Rich Man, Poor Man
A big piece of variety, this is more of a folk tune. Sure, there is still some blues built into it, but the acoustic guitar based, stripped back approach really feels closer to the folk movement. There is some harmonica built into this number, too.
Eye on the Prize
Here we get a smoking hot rocker that's much more of a 70s mainstream rock tune than it is a blues song. Sure, it's still blues, especially in terms of the vocal delivery. This lands a lot closer to something like the rock that was all over the radio in the 70s, though.
The Dreamer

A mellower cut, this has a lot of modern rock built into it. Then again, it's timeless and does still show off some blues. However you label this, though, it's a great tune. The soulful vocal performance is really what puts this over the top.

Sing Your Song
The organ that starts this gives it a real retro sound. It is a bouncy kind of 60s soulful pop rocker. This is good, but a bit lightweight in comparison to some of the rest.
Bonustracks
              
Nothing Is Any Fun (unreleased demo)
A big change, I can see why this didn't make the album proper. Don't get me wrong, it's a good tune. It just doesn't fit with the rest of the stuff here. It's not really bluesy at all. It's closer to a George Harrison like mainstream rocker. It's fun! I'm glad to have it, but it would have been the "odd duck" on the main album.
Late at Night (unreleased demo)
This one fits better with the other stuff from the album, but still has more of a mainstream rock band sound. The horns lend some jazz elements, too. Yet it still has some of that bluesy texture.
 
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