I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Real Sharp - A Thrilling 2 CD Anthology, from Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers and it's a cool blend of country, rock, folk and blues. If you haven't heard of Chili Willi, you may be in for a real treat. The band was at the forefront of bridging all of these genres of music with sounds of Eagles, Dead, New Grass Revival, Gram Parsons, Flying Burritos, Asleep At The Wheel, Old And In The Way and many others, this band really has it. This release contains all of the music from King of the Robot Rhythm, Bongos Over Balham, I'll Be Home plus previously unreleased recording of Papa and Mama Had Love. Also included are 24 pages of liner notes, photos and unique artwork. The Ballad Of Chilli Willi is a super bluegrass track showcasing the instrumental talents of Phillip Snake Finger Lithman on guitar, fiddle, mandolin and vocal and Martin Stone on guitar and vocal this track is perfect new bluegrass. Drunken Sunken Redneck Blues is a cool folk blues in the vein of the Dead. With a twist of humor and backed by Nick Lowe on bass and Billy Rankin on drums, this track is pure. On traditional track Get Your Gauge Up Let Your Love Come Down is really solid blues in the style of Memphis Minnie. Happy You has the vocal blending and sorrowful sound of pure country. A Page In History has a more modern approach and could easily have been cut yesterday. It may be one of my favorite tracks on the release with strong vocals and lead bass lines with a melody not unlike the Band. Truck Drivin' Girl is a cool bluegrass rocker. This track is a lot of fun with Lithman and Stone blending nicely. Choo-Coo Ch' Boogie gets a real nice ride with plenty of swing and lap steel. Very cool! Breathe A Little has a cool jazz component with that 40's flare. Snappy guitar riffs by Lithman really stand out on this one. We Get Along really has that country/rock folk sound that was the trademark of the Dead for so many years. Traditional track, Just Like The Devil is a great R&B track with smoking vocals. With it's boogie beat and Paul Riley's bass line, this is another of my release favorites. A strong country vein and blended vocals makes for a really memorable track in I'll Be Home with slick lap steep work by Lithman. A straight up cover of Robert Johnson's Walkin' Blues is cool with it's rock edge and powerful harp by Will Stallibrass. A high strung rendition of Six Days On The Road shows the diesel power that was this band. Very cool. Pinball Boogie has great style and with swinging vocals and lap steel, is really cooking. Wrapping the release is Johnny Guitar Watson Posin' Yeah, a real time stamp for R&B. This track is so cool it's frosty. A super way to close a cool release!
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