Monday, May 23, 2011

"Tailor Made Blues" - Alabama Mike (Juke House Records)

By Malcolm Kennedy
Tailor Made Blues

Vocalist Alabama Mike Benjamin is assisted by six guitarists including Scott Brenton (6 cuts) who adds harp to 5 tracks, three each on keyboards and bass as well as a four piece horn section on two cuts and one with five pieces. The 19 professional musicians who are part of Tailor Made Blues form tight combos making for 11 tough tracks.

Scott’s harmonica, Sid Morris’ piano and Jon Lawton’s fat guitar tone combine to make “Eddie Lee” a winner. The paired down front porch acoustic stylings of “I’m Gone” had me tapping my toes and “Moon Dog Howl” had a sparse Howlin’ Wolf like vibe. “Stop Putting Me On” had a Bobby Bland soul blues touch and “Look Here Baby” is a rolling blues rumba showing more of Alabama Mike’s versatility. There isn’t a dud in the bunch, and the cover of Junior Wells’ “Hoo Doo Man” is tastefully done, in fact without the lyrics you wouldn’t recognize it.

Tailor Made Blues is cut from sturdy cloth and I highly recommend it.

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