There's a bit of a 'do or die' quality about a band's
sophomore effort. A "now it's time to prove it" quality, if you will. Based
on the quality of "Topless," Big Daddy G's second outing, you can bet he'll
be doin' it for a long, long time!
Although he's a life-long resident of Whitby, Ontario, Dave Glover's guitar
work has the sort of lean, clean tone usually associated with Texas -- no
surprise, since he lists both T-Bone Walker and
Freddie King as influences.
And there's a bit of Texas grit around the edges to keep it real. He's also
spent some time listening to the great jazz guitarists; like them he
constructs his solos, so that each time he cuts loose he seems to follow a
musical logic that reaches an almost story-like climax. Dave's musical
partner, Tortoise Blue, is a triple-threat, handling lead vocals, Hammond
and harp. To me it's his harp work that really shines; he's got great tone,
and there's something almost laid-back about his solos. Even at top speed it
feels as though he's perfectly relaxed and having fun.
As the main songwriters, Dave and Tortoise keep it pretty lively. The title
tune's a rockabilly romp, and "Stringbeans 'n' Tater," named for Dave's
daughters, could just as easily be called a tribute to Freddy King. There's
gospel on "Keep Your Head Up," "Checkbook Game" swings like mad, and there's
way-cool jazz organ on "Spud's Groove." Bassist Wayne Deadder contributes
the disc's opener, a jumping "New Man Blues." Excellent horn charts by Pat
Carey are a highlight throughout.
Guests this time include Dutch Mason, Canada's own "Prime Minister Of The
Blues," (an honorarium bestowed by B. B. King himself!), and Donnie Walsh,
who's led what many consider "Canada's blues band," Downchild, for over
thirty years now. Jack De Keyser, another local legend, contributes some
sizzling guitar, as does Ottawa's Tony D. Also from Ottawa, making his (I
believe) recording debut on harmonica, Southside Steve Marriner. Fifteen
years old at the time of the sessions, he's simply awesome. Future, watch
Dave's friend, Tony Flaim, was to contribute vocals to the project but
passed away days before the sessions started. The spontaneous "Blues For
T.F." is a fitting tribute, and the inclusion of a demo he cut prior to his
death proves a classy way to wrap things up. Nice touch, guys.
Okay, I confess. I do know Big Daddy G. (I wrote some of the liner notes for
"Topless" as a favor). And no, I don't get a cut if you buy the disc. But I
think you should anyway, because it's over seventy minutes of pure,
from-the-heart and the gut blues, played with passion and crafted with care.
What more could you want?
Guitar (Electric), Vocals