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If there is one thing that Johnny Mastro & Mama's Boys
know how to do and do right, it is tearing apart any beliefs we might of had
as to how the blues must sound, especially the modern 21st Century Blues,
with their amazing Debut release for Ripcat Records, "Luke's Dream". "Luke's
Dream" will have your ears perked up from the first few opening notes and
your toes a tapping shortly after and in the end once the album is over, if
you don't come out of it believing that you have just heard some incredible
music, well then you best just close the casket lid, because it's all over
for you my friend.
They say SoCal is presently one of the most exciting areas for Blues in America and Johnny Mastro & Mama's Boys is certainly one of the reasons why, as the have not only taken that area by storm over the last few decades, but also that have made a huge name for themselves in Europe, as well, with having done an amazing 22 tours over there, easily earning the reputation as Global Ambassadors for 21st Century Blues.
Johnny Mastro & Mama's Boys consists of members Johnny Mastro (Vocals/Harmonica), Smokehouse Brown (Guitar), Mike Hightower (Bass), and Jim Goodall (Drums). The band origins and name comes from them playing as second house band at legend Mama Laura Gross's "Babe's and Ricki's Inn", in Los Angeles.
Johnny Mastro's career now spans 3 decades with over 4000 gigs to his credit. Also to his credit is his amazing Harmonica work for he is one of the better ones out there, more then holding his own in Harmonica Competitions with the likes of Billy Boy Arnold, Rod Piazza, and James Harmon. Mastro has shared stages with many greats including Keb 'Mo, Kenny Neal, Kirk Fletcher, and Paul Delay, to name just a few. "Luke's Dream" marks his 10th album to date, and his first for Ripcat Records, certainly one of the more exciting labels out there today.
"Luke's Dream" consists of 13 dynamic Tracks, 50 great minutes in all, of which 10 are originals, written or co-written by Johnny Mastro, 2 Covers, (Jack Dupree's "Junker's Blues" & Bo Diddley's "Roller Coaster"), and 1 super psychedelic arrangement of Walter Jacobs "Temperature". In addition to Johnny Mastro & Mama's Boys, "Luke's Dream" features quite a few Special Guests, which included Peter Atanasoff (Guitar), Kirk Fletcher (Guitar), Max Bangwell (Percussion), Scott Abeyta (Guitar), and Lisa Cee (Percussion).
For the most part "Luke's Dream", reminded me a lot of not only R.L. Burnside, but also Scissormen, with there raw and at times Psychedelic Blues feel. At times you could swear they are playing through frapped out speakers, which of course lends even more to their original raw sound.
As far as favorites go, there were a ton of them on "Luke's Dream", with the one that was the most over the edge was the Psyched out closing Track "Temperature". That gem clocked in at 7:44 and believe not sounded like something I haven't heard in 30 or more years but also transported me back to that time period with the ease of slicing through butter with a hot knife. I originally played this album amongst a small group of friends and once this Track started playing we all stopped the conversation and intensely grooved out on that song. Amazing stuff...
"Luke's Dream" was an absolute pleasure to listen to. You just don't hear this kind of Blues nowadays and because of that, Johnny Mastro & Mama's Boys really stand out amongst musical their peers.
"Luke's Dream" enthusiastically gets my highest rating of 5*****. Some of the best and most unique sounding Genre Stretching Blues I have heard all year.
Also beyond the Album, one really needs to visit their main website, for an addition mind blowing experience...
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
Listen To Samples Here... http://www.amazon.com/Lukes-Dream-Johnny-Mastro-Mamas/dp/B007SBHKHK
Additional Artist Info... http://www.johnnymastro.com/