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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, November 9, 2016

Treated and Released Records artist: Reverend Freakchild - Illogical Optimism - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the newest release, Illogical Optimism, from Reverend Freakchild and it's quite good. This is a 3 disc review so I will try to describe it as I can. Opening disc one is a loose, Lou Reed kind of interpretation of John Lennon's Imagine. It's actually quite different and with a fluid jazzy electric guitar solo, it's quite cool. Next up is The Meters' Hey Pocky Way... pure New Orleans with nice sax work, a super bass line and vocals and of course snappy drumming. Joseph Pace's I Still Have Joy is exceptional in all of it's spiritual glory. Gospel backing on this track is off the charts. Bill Monroe's Cryin' Holy To The Lord has the gospel feel but with a solid country swing table. This track is clever and a nice addition to the set. Bo Diddley's Who Do You Love has a considerable swampy darkness and a lot of the Diddley rock beat. With underlying guitar melodies from Jimi crossing the Diddley beat and cool harp work it runs nicely into Dylan's All Along The Watchtower but with a fusion of Jimi and reggae. With cool guitar riffs and driving drum beat this release just keeps pushing the envelope. Driving track, Shark Boogie, captures the sound of a great modern boogie, say Savoy Brown or George Thorogood but with the pure roots on Hooker. Very cool. Woodie Guthrie's Pretty Boy Floyd has a punk country (Social Distortion) overdo and it's terrific. The Rev knows how to play this and he hits it square on the logo. Straight up folk rocker, Sweet Sweet You has a really solid melody and nicely woven instrumentation. Blind Lemon Jefferson's See That My Grave Is Kept Clean maintains much of it's blues roots but with just a slice of country and a contemporary rock refrain. Very tastefully done. Gram Parsons' Big Mouth Blues seems just the perfect track for this band with it's country rock feel. Gritty guitar work, yodeling and fun this track rocks. Robert Johnson's Hell Hounds On My Trail plays it close to the blues bone with amplified guitar and vocal. As nice as a primitive blues gets in modern form. John Lennon's Yer Blues is perfect in juxtaposition with it's modern form but with slide guitar and harp instead of Lennon's finesseful guitar riffs. Breaking loose into a 2 step number the Reverend steps up with a healthy load of slide work giving this track a whole new look. Rev Gary Davis' Death Don't Have No Mercy is one of my all time favorite blues numbers and Freakchild does a real nice job of interpreting it with slide acoustic guitar, vocal and flute.

 Disc 2 opens with a funky radio rap and dance groove called Once Upon A Time Called Right Now. Most of the balance of this disc is the experimentation of All I Got Is Now in different forms including Reggae, DJ, Hillbilly, Punk, French,German and acoustic forms.

 Disc 3 is Kairos by Ramblin Jennings who presents modern acoustic blues with Jennings on vocal, acoustic slide and harmonica. Seven original tracks and a remake of John The Revelator is a sweet set and a cool bonus to an already nicely packed release.

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