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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Stevie Zee

The Stevie Zee Band – Wail

Review by Larry Toering

Stevie Zee is one amazing singing, songwriting and guitar playing talent, and this set of songs showcases his skills and lays it all out on the table with a fearless performance. This is the kind of thing you don’t buy and listen to a few times and shelf for a rainy day. It’s massively infectious and even mood friendly. He really is some kind of master who swings between blues, rock, funk and a bit of pop flair and a slight southern feel as well. I was introduced to this fine artist through John Gregos, a local record sales pioneer and general music man who was happy to pass his friend in my direction and it has stayed with me for years. There will be more to come at MSJ from this great virtuoso, this is just a look at an older release from 1995 which has been more recently re-issued. There is not one bad track on Wail, to my ears, and it just gets better every time I hear it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Light

A shuffle to start things properly, this is awesome. There’s no messing around as things get instantly sizzling hot. The vocals are excellent with some fantastic sonic quality, and that is the absolute topper of this guitar master’s skills. This is just killer!

Guitar Man
This starts with some guitar and vocal scat and right away to garner some attention. The “Guitar Man: is one hot brother, and by now one hears how well the sound is actually mixed and how it makes Zee shine. The back to back solos with a bit of that scat between them really adds just the right classy touch. This is more great stuff.
Burned
Getting hotter seems to be the idea, and a good one it is. This is right up my alley, and at this point the whole band is just beating down the door with sheer amazement. I love this, that is all there is to it. Everyone is cooking like madmen on yet another storming number.
Wail
The title doesn’t mislead, it’s off the guitar charts with equal vocal passion to top it off. Zee proves here just how magnificent he really is, and this contains some of the most insane guitar work to be found on this great collection of  hot material. He just soars here like no other, with a super raunchy vibe of the barbeque variety. It has some killer blues shouting, or wailing as it appears, on both counts, backed by equal parts of greatness by all.
Mesmerise
This is a snappy funky tune with a very kicking groove, and a perfect change up in the tempo, as things turn out to be fantastically arranged. There is actually some pure funk going on here, with a killer slapping bass line and some outrageous guitar-ing. Once again it would be awfully hard for any good music lover not to like this, with a rhyming vocal that instantly grows on you. "Mesmerizing" is putting it rather mildly, as Zee and company proceed to do some paint removal with this one.
My Little Girl
There is a really lovely intro to this before it gets mildly rocking in a very Doobies way, losing no blues, just rocking a bit more. This is a quality contemporary blues rock number with a fair amount of country going for it to be honest, and it suits them very well. It’s just so easy to relate to and enjoy, from the first time you hear it. What a sweet tune this is.My Little Girl
Dark Eyes

A slow blues with an acoustic motif begins and from there it goes into this instrumental ballad. It’s just a perfect time to slow it down, as this really is one piece of beautiful music, and I’m not sold that easily, but this whole recording is first class.

Hi-Tail Woman
This one is a more traditional bar number with a saloon feel to it on the piano. It includes some hot slide guitar, and once again this is an impressive jamming romp.
Hard
Another very funky one with a wah wah solo, this is a freaky one, indeed. The funk sounds good on Zee, and I find it to be one of his best approaches. They all really do get down on these type cuts.
Roller Coaster
This is another great shuffle with some lightning fast licks. It’s another fine instrumental with just a mutter or two here and there from Zee, adding just the right touch. Rockabilly could easily be thought of here, among other ways to describe what’s going on. It is hot hot hot!
Cold Turkey
Traditional blues takes over in the shape of another finely crafted tune and tight performance. That’s all that’s needed to help get the humorous point across, and still mean business. The singing here is a lot of fun as well. Good heaven above, this is great!
Body Count
Big guitar grooves are all over this one. Zee moves in and out of a great slide mode he moves in with finesse and style. This is another killer song. What a vibe this has!
Crazy Train
This is another awesome one with a super-sonic touch, which gets a second appearance concerning cool effects, which pop up in just the right spaces.

 
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