Monday, November 28, 2016

Black Hen Music artist: Big Dave McLean - Better The Devil You Know - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Better The Devil You Know, from Big Dave McLean and it's quite good! Opening with Life On The Road, Big Dave McLean has a casual, JJ Cale meets "Little Feat" easy blues feel joined by Steve Dawson on lead guitar, Gary Craig on drums, Jon Dymond on bass, and Kevin McKendree with cleverly stylistic piano. On Muddy Waters' You Can't Lose What You Never Had, McLean opens with fiery slide riffs and his vocals are raw. McKendree's piano really gives the track a Chicago sound with his piano work and acoustic guitar work by McLean and Dawson's eccentric slide work carries the track nicely. The traditional, You'll Need Somebody On Your Bond, gets a country two step remake with a warm intro by Ann and Regina McCrary. Dawson's dobro work and Fats Kaplin on fiddle add even further to the country / bluegrass edge. Uptempo, I Need You, is a cool country blues number and McClean pulls out the harp adding a more bluesy flavor to Dawson's dobro slide work. One of my favorites on the release is a remake of Old Time Religion which has a cool dark western sound. With Dawson on pedal steel and also contributing a sweet electric guitar solo, along with the McCrary sisters warm backing vocals, this track is way cool. With a country waltz sound, Swingin On Heaven's Gate is another real nice track with Dawson on mandolin and particularly nice vocal blending. Deliver Me has a really nice "Little Feat" funk. With the McCrarys on backing vocal and Dawson on slide, this track is really excellent. Wrapping the release is is a stripped down blues, Pet Rabbit, with McLean on vocal and and resonator. The track is raw and alive and a real cool closer for a cool release.

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