Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Album Review: Randy McAllister, Duck Slap Soup

Artist: Randy McAllister
Title: Duck Slap Soup
Writer: Rick Galusha

It’s been my experience that the Texas brand of “blues” allows for great deviation from the traditional 12 bar call-call-response. No doubt the genre is a respected giant within the scene. Drummer, singer, songwriter and harp player Randy McAllister hails from Texas. While he has yet to place his stamp upon the national scene for his pop-orientated Texas blues sound, it is fresh and gathering momentum. McAllister’s songwriting is creative albeit unchallenged and like many contemporary blues players he wanders from tradition while embracing “blues” sounds and textures.

The album opens with a most pleasant, ‘Clear My Head.’ Very Delbert McClinton like this song has a powerful melody line and tasty slide guitar licks interspersed. It modulates up; building slowly into a song about the complexities of modern life. Predictably the opening track is also the most radio friendly.

McAllister turns to a Memphis soul sounds with the song, ‘When I Get Back Home’ that is Otis Redding like in its melody and arrangement. Emotionally the song fails to fully grasp the style and thus the album begins to crack.

In the 70’s Boston’s, ‘J. Geils Band’ was putting out some of the finest blues based rock n’ roll records of the era. McAllister’s ‘I Have to Set You Free,’ written by Mike Morgan, is very Geils like minus the inherent energetic mayhem interplay that Wolf and the band excelled at. Nonetheless it’s a solid ballad that becomes a door to opening up the rest of this album.

In his vocals on ‘The Girl Ain’t Right’ McAllister uses guitarist Mike Morgan to echo his slurred vocal line while Benita Arterberry-Burns sings a ‘gospel’ like back-up. It’s a rumbling tune with high energy that some fans will find appealing.

‘Close Your Eyes’ harkens to a stripped down soul song of the late ‘60’s with a strong melody line and spacious backdrop. The song ‘$127.00 Sandwich’ couldn’t end fast enough for this listener. The album closes with the AC/DC riffed, ‘Steady Decline.’ Mike Hanna’s organ lines and background vocals support the song as Mike Morgan steps up to take the guitar solo.

If success is an album that appeals to a wide audience, sells well and engages the listener this is an average effort by a promising artist. McAllister’s singing is average and this album, while entertaining, is not groundbreaking – leaning too heavily on trite riffs. Like many blues artists McAllister is a likeable character who gives glimpses of a promising future but just doesn’t seem to able to lift the album off the ground. All the pieces are in place but it fails to meld into a cohesive entertaining recording unable to set the world on fire. Committed fans will adore this record; however, for the uninitiated I would suggest waiting for the next effort.

No comments: