I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Never Trust The Living, from Johnny Mastro & Mama's Boys and it's really good! Opening with early blues style rocker, Snake Doctor, Johnny Mastro is really digging in the wood pile and coming up with a great sound. On vocal and harp, Mastro sounds like the early British bands with hooded vocals and pace and Smoke isn't called Smoke for nothing. His guitar is on fire with an extremely fat slide guitar sound. Excellent! Whiskey has a super Texas style lope and Mastro's vocals and harp are spot on. With a driving guitar rhythm backed by Dean Zucchero on bass and Rob Lee on drums, this is a great sound. Smoke really has his sound dialed in on the intro on Judgement Day, a lumbering blues rocker. On the clean channel he again breaks loos with a frenzy giving this track even more kick and Mastro's harp work adds a strong blues flavor. Monkey Man has strong Chicago roots but again with incredibly fat guitar tones giving the track a great dirty feel. Mastro's vocals are tight and his harp work soulful and cool. Slow and clean is how they deal on Don't Believe with just the right sensitivity by Mastro on vocal and his harp really sings. Smoke plays ultra clean jazz like guitar chords showing a totally different side of the band. On House Of The Rising Sun, Mastro takes the melody on harp and after a somber intro, the band is in blues jam mode with Lee and Zucchero kicking it bringing out the heads up rockin feel of the band. Very nice! On Walking, another Chicago style number, Mastro still has a lot of the characteristics of the early British blues bands and I got to tell you...I love it! Smoke hits the slide hard and Mastro sails on harp. Very cool. On title track, Never Trust The Living, Smoke lays down a gritty boogie riff and Mastro rides high on the wave on vocal and blues harp. Great sound. Driving blues, Bucksnort Annie is a kick ass track with an early rock n roll feel. Smoke sets a super rhythm and Mastro delivers on lead vocal but it's Smoke that "smokes" this track with a hot hot solo and mastro wraps it with a solo of his own. This release is relentless! Slowing down the pace on Freddie King's The Sad Night Owl, Mastro plays an extremely soulful melody on harp. Really nice. Wrapping the release is Indrid Cold, another driving blues rocker with heavy dirt. mastro plays a low fret solo on guitar and then the band breaks into a frenzy with Mastro playing a wild harp solo before returning to driving blues rock to conclusion. This is an album with vitality that I haven't heard in a long time. These guys have a sound of their own and I hope they keep doing it!
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