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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!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rip Cat Records artist: The 44's - Americana - New Release Review

The new 44's cd, Americana, is gonna hit the air on April 17 and it's a winner. The opening track, Hanging Tree, is a raw boogie that will be hard to top. Overdriven tube amps, harp, grinding voice... are you kidding me? Cocaine gets right onto the groove with Chicago style harp and the loping guitar rhythm. Tex Nakamura isn't at all shy with his harp and plays like a seasoned vet. Dixie is an uptempo track again with strong harp work and vocals by Johnny Main. She's Poison conjures up the image of a dark smoky bar in Chicago. There are some great guitar riffs by Johnny Main as well as guest Kid Ramos. Pleading My Case is right out of Elmore James bag of tricks and Ramos screams away on guitar with a thick juicy slide. It's a great track! Mr. Operator is the first song that is down and dirty and the guitar intro is really beefy. This is a strong track and has just the right amount of reverb and presence to stick the guitar right in your face for punctuation. Really nice chops. About 3 and a half minutes into the song there are some pinched harmonics on the bottom which I rarely hear anyone do that are very effective and is topped off with some cool whammy effects. Slip Slidn' Thang is another track featuring some cool slide work with a really thick warm feel. This is another track that is just sweet. 99 to Life takes you deep into Chicago and a strong track to show off Nakamura's feel on the harp and he does just that! Main plays some nice riffs at the end of the track that push you right up to the ending riff with Ramos. Hard Times is an acoustic number and really effective. Primarily harp, voice, acoustic guitar and brushes. Just a great feel. The 44's do a cover of Wolf's Mr. Highway Man and do it justice. Tasty guitar riffs are throughout the track and it's peppered with harp. The set is wrapped up by Hold On, one of the longer tracks on the recording giving each player a chance to show a bit including special guest Ron Dziubla on horns. This is a great ending track with both players getting guitar space that keeps you wanting more. I also want to mention that the other key players in the band are Mike Turturro on bass and J.R. Lozano on Drums. I think that this is a really strong effort. This is real blues Chicago style with a contemporary flare. I really like it!
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