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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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Friday, November 9, 2012

Fourteen Stories - Red Lotus Revue - New Release Review

I just received the new (11/6/12) release, Fourteen Stories by Red Lotus Review. Red Lotus is named for it's debut at the Red Lotus Society in San Diego by founding members Karl Cabbage (vocal and harp), Jimmy Zollo (guitar) and Pete Fazinni (guitar). Drums are handled by Kurt Kalker. This recording includes 7 original tracks and 7 older classics. First up is Suzanne which actually reminds me of a Frank Black track (Nadine) and I really like it. This has just the right amount of overdrive on the harp with great riffs and Cabbage with a super dark blues voice. The drums are kept to a solid rhythm and guitar adds texture. For the second time in not so long a time I have to apologize for myself knowing a blues track first by a rock band. I Ain't Got You, made popular by Jimmy Reed was first exposed to me by the Yardbirds. RLR does a great job on this track with very tasty harp work, underlying guitar work and Cabbage's vocals are strong. Smokey Smothers' Drinkin' Muddy Water is up next and classic guitar styling throughout supporting clean vocals by Cabbage makes for a very enjoyable track. Johnny Shines' Please Don't has a crisp rockin' blues tempo with a nice understated guitar lead and strong harp riffs. Cabbage's vocals suit the tune to a tee. SB Williamson's Key To Your Door is done at a moderately slow pace giving both guitar and harp nice openings for short tidy riffs. Both take a nice extended bridge solo making this one of the coolest tracks on the recording. Original track, Homebody, is done with an understated light pace early on and then breaks down to a deeper rhythm track. I also want to mention that the guitar tone on this track is particularly cool. Another original track, Barkin', has that Chicago lope and is another contender for coolest track on the recording. With plenty of guitar, harp and swingin' vocals this track just has it! Another Johnny Shines track, Fish Tail, has a bit more of a primitive sound with resonator slide work and drum brush work. Kept light, it allows focus on the interesting vocal style of Cabbage to dominate an equally interesting instrumental track. Jimmy Reed's Honest I Do sets up really nicely for this band playing into the strong suit of the vocal, guitar and harp styling of this band. Sounds like it was written for them. Original track, River, opens with some nice acoustic slide work but quickly becomes a rockin' blues frenzy along the lines of Rollin' And Tumblin'. Another original, Smoker, nods to the 50's R&B but with an interesting modern chord change giving it a fresh sound. Howlin' Wolf track You Can't Be Beat, follows and has some really sweet "under the cuff" lead guitar riffs that compliment the track nicely. The final track, Santee, is cut out of the "Red Hot" cloth and done in a retro styling with mono sounding recording techniques. More hot licks and riffs from the guitars and harp make this a cool track to wrap it all up.

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