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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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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Rip Cat Records artist: John Clifton - In The Middle of Nowhere - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, In The Middle Of Nowhere, from John Clifton and it's quite good. Opening with the excellent, I'm Leaving You Baby, with it's firm Chicago romp style. John Clifton, former leader of MoFo Party Band, has his own gig and on lead vocal and harp, this gig is hopping. Backed by Scott Abeyta on guitar, Jake Finney on bass, Edward Fritz on drums, Bartek Szopinski on piano and John Shafer on tambourine and cowbell this band is tight. On shuffle track, If It Ain't Me, Clifton is howling on harp and his vocals are vibrant. I particularly like Szopinski's piano work and the fluid guitar soloing of Abeyta on this track. Very cool. Cool Spot In Hell is a good name for a laid back jazzy track in the middle of a hot set. Abeyta lays in some really nice lead runs and Szopinski's phrasing is terrific leading up to Clifton's own lush harp scape. Very nice. Four Years Ago is a great driving blues track with a heavy bottom. The contrast between Clifton's vocals and the bass work of Finney really adds raw tension. To really boost the mix, Clifton's relentless harp work sends this track over the top and Abeyta adds heat of his own making this one of my favorites on the release. Breaking way down on a slower blues track, So Tired I Could Cry, the band really gets a chance to wring every drop of blues from the release. Szopinski, Abeyta and Clifton each have their turn upfront and they make me sweat just listening. Wrapping the release is country fused, Honky Tonk Night Time Man with train like running rhythms by Fritz and genuine chickin pickin by Abeyta. 

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