CD submissions accepted! Guest writers always welcome!!

I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


Please email me at Info@Bmansbluesreport.com

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Purple Pyramid Records artist: Harvey Mandel - Snake Box - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Snake Box, from Harvey Mandel and it's very adventurous. For those of you unfamiliar with Mandel's work, he played with Charlie Musselwhite, Canned Heat, John Mayall, Rolling Stones, Love and the Ventures. This 6 disc set, 5 studio releases packaged in original covers and one live jam set make up a good cross section of Mandel's early work. Also in the box are 4 pages of liner notes, poster photos and track info.

Disc One, Cristo Redentor was released in 1968 and shows a strong slice of the musical experimentation that was happening at the time. Before Six with it's Latin rhythm and horns is not unlike things that Butterfield was experimenting with. Musselwhite adds his distinctive harp tones on the Lark. The Snake has a lot of the sounds that you would expect from a San Francisco band of the late 60's. Long Wait shows true signs of blues roots with interesting interweaving of guitar, keys and percussion. A long experimental guitar solo on Wade In The Water backed by strings shows definite direction. You Can't tell Me has a poppy rhythm but again aggressively mixed musical styles. This is a disc that definitely warrants a listen if you don't know or already love the roots of jam music.

Disc Two, Righteous, released in 1969 shows a blues progression opening with the title track and Mandel doing guitar swells over a 12 bar melody. Jive Samba has a much smoother jazz ballad feel with strong horn backing. Funk steps up on Love Of Life with horns and drums laying down a 60's splashed horn track and Mandel taking a bluesy solo over the top. Quite cool! Poontang again shows the early fusion of blues, soul, rock and R&B with keys and guitar. Cool! Just A Hair More is a straight up slow blues with Mandel wailing away. Excellent!

 Disc Three, Games Guitars Play, released in 1970 shows a more mature and adventurous jazz blues fusion opening with a cool funky Leavin' Trunk. Very nice! Classic Honky Tonk has the blues country feel with a Roy Buchanan like flair. Excellent! Capurange is one of my favorites on this disc with a cool rhythm and twin guitar leads. A cool exploration with just enough solidity.

 Disc Four, Baby Batter, released in 1971 has an even closer to the funky side of the blues with similarity in features to the Oblivion Express. Title track has a great groove and more succinct guitar soloing. Midnight Sun, remaining in the funky groove shows Mandel's continued maturation and control of his own expression on the guitar. Morton Grove Mama is a cool boogie with Mandel trading off with Howard Wales on organ and a strong driving bass line of Larry Taylor. Freedom Ball is a real funky track but with wailing guitar work from Mandel and groovin drums by Colin Bailey and congo by Big Black. El Stinger has some really intense guitar work over a loose funky rhythm. Hank The Ripper, the disc closer goes back to primary 12 bar form but with again loose experimentation. A definite change in each disc.

 Disc Five, The Snake, released in 1972 shows a further polishing and change to a more structured but still intense style. Opening with The Divining Rod has a great tight drum intensity and Mandel takes a structured approach to his experimentation. Very cool! Title track, The Snake has a real swampy funk and a eerie guitar lead. Levitation is a cool 12 bar number with steel and 6 string work. Certainly not your typical blues but definitely a solid blues beat and cool guitars. Wrapping disc 5 is Bite The Electric Eel with a solid drive consistent with the style I associate with Jeff Beck. Straight ahead beat and reckless guitar work. Excellent!

 Disc Six, Live At The Matrix was recorded live in San Francisco in 1968 with Jerry Garcia, Elvin Bishop, Stephen Miller, Mickey Hart and John Chambers. Opening with Jam, a 36 plus minute jam featuring a dead like extended guitar jam. Elvin Bishop's You've Got to Feel It is up next and holds the soul groove to Bishop's band. Nice guitar work and Miller's key work fill the track. An extended 3 O'clock In The Morning has a definite blues groove. Picking up speed as the track progresses over 9 minutes, the guitars interweave. She's A Mojo Worker has a definite R&B feel and extending over 20 minutes, finds the guitar players searching each expression.

 This is a very cool exhibition of Mandel's early work and one that will find interesting to the extent that you like guitar, improvisation and history of rock and blues music.

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

 

No comments:

Post a Comment