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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, August 8, 2014

Ruf Records artist: Coco Montoya - Songs From The Road - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Songs From The Road, a double live summary of Coco Montoya's work recorded at Seattle's Triple Door venue on August 17 and 19 00f 2013. Opening with I blues rocker, I Got A Mind To Travel, Montoya shows a strong trace of his time spent with Albert "Iceman" Collins. Joined by Brant Leeper on keys, Rena Beavers on drums and Nathan Brown on bass this is a terrific opener. Montoya plays stinging solos and Leeper rides the organ for a nice solo. On Latin influenced blues track, Hey Senorita, Leeper again plays a strong organ solo and Montoya lays down some realy tasty guitar riffs complimenting his strong vocals. Too Much Water has a R&B style and Montoya lays out some of his more stylistic riffs on the release so far. His vocals lend themselves nicely to this Robert Cray style and showing Montoya's versatility. Smokey Robinson's, The One Who Really Loves You, made popular by Mary Wells, is a really nice soul track and Montoya does a really nice job of covering this true soul classic. Stretched into an 8+ minute track, this is one of my favorites of the first set. Love Jail is a real Texas blues with a heavy lope. If you wanna get that strong blues swing, this is it. Open strat, guitar ripping, blues beating track.... Excellent! Don't Go Makin' Plans sets down in a solid funky groove provided by Brown and Beavers. You wanna feel the grip, here it is! Leepers and Montoya both play cool solos on this 11 minute plus extended jam. If you like to hear what they got...this is it! Very nice! Wrapping CD one is I Wish I Could Be That Strong, is a solid R&B track that should definitely garner a lot of blues airwaves. Opening side two is Buster Brown's Fannie Mae, with a serious Texas blues lope. This is likely my favorite track on the release with some of the hottest guitar riffs and strong key work on a very beefy bottom. Excellent! The classic soul track, Good Days' Bad Days is a super ballad and with it's nearly 16 minutes of girth, with a lot of Philly sound. This is my overall favorite song with solid vocals and Buchanan like guitar riffs. Backing vocals by Beavers, Brown and Leeper make you think that you are listening to Darryl Hall or Todd Rundgren but the soulful guitar work of Montoya and nicely articulated piano work of Leeper are distinct and beautiful. A very warm and provoking bass solo from Brown is an extremely nice addition. When you are going to take a soul track and play it out for 15 minutes, you had better have a plan and I can tell you the concert goers were glued to their seats during this super track. Excellent! I Need Your Love In My Life has a Keith Richards like riff as a starter but moving into a R&B style track with strong snare work and sweet vocal harmonies. Again, Montoya takes the strat for a nice ride with rock style riffs. I Want It All Back also has a Richards like feel (which is good cause I like Richards)but Montoya and crew do a strong R&B vocal track again with articulate guitar work making this another track that should get a good amount of airplay. I Won't Beg has a high stepping R&B styling and sets up nicely for a tight guitar solo from Montoya. Hard driving You'd think I'd Know Better By Now has a lot of the northeast swing. A different kind of guitar soloing and tonality on this track sets it aside from the rest of the release. With it's walking bass line and cool vocals, Montoya drives this track, then steps on the throttle and unleashes his guitar fury. Very nice. Wrapping the release is My Side Of The Fence, a 50's style blues ballad. A nice key solo on this track is very cool but when Montoya whips out the slide, his fat tone takes over. A very nice conclusion to a super set of live music.  

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