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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Black Hen Music artist: Big Dave McLean - Faded but Not Gone - New release review

I just received the newest release (March 3, 2015), Faded but Not Gone, by Big Dave McLean and it's gritty and solid. Opening with Tough Times, a 12 bar Chicago style blues track with Steve Dawson on National Steel guitar and Kevin McKendree on organ. On I Best Choose To Pick The Blues, McLean picks up the pace and Colin Linden contributes the smooth slide guitar. On Dead Cat On The Line with a bit of bluegrass influence and Piedmont style, McLean is joined on vocal by Dawson who also plays banjo. John Dymond adds bass, Gary Craig drums and Colin James some really tight mandolin work. On western style ballad, The Fallen, McClean takes the spotlight vocally backed by sweet electric and steel guitar work by Dawson. Very cool! Sittin' On A Fence has a light country 2 step feel. Double stop guitar riffs by Dawson are a really nice touch on this track. Don't Get Mad, Get Even is built over a 12 bar structure but has a much more contemporary feel and a catchy melody. The lyrics are certain to attract the crowds attention and McKendree rolls a nice piano solo to top things off. Devil's In The Jukebox has an easy country rock pace with slicing slide work from Dawson. McKendree never disappoints with his nimble organ solos rounding out this track. A Latin rhythm from Craig and hot slide work from Dawson, complimented by McKendree's tight piano work lead this track up to the bridge where McLean takes it to swing time and back. Tom Waits' Mr Siegal has a New Orleans blues feel with particularly effective drum work from Craig. The grittiness of McLeans vocals contrasted against Dawson on banjo and McKendree on organ make this one of my favorites on the release. Shades Of Grace is an easy country style folk tune with a nod to Amazing Grace. The McCrary sisters add some supple backing vocals on this track giving it extra warmth. Oh- Mr. Charlie - Oh has a number of the characteristics of an old gospel or slave song giving it an immediate bump up. I like this track a lot with it's rudimentary style, guitar work from Dawson and backing vocals from the McCrary sisters. McLean accompanies himself effectively on harp on this track as well. Wrapping the release is Skip James' Devil Got My Woman. Stripped down to only McLean on vocal and National steel guitar, this track maintains the feeling of the delta and a fitting conclusion to an adventurous release.

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