Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Personnel: Mike Sanchez - Piano, Guitar, Vocals Andy Silvester - Guitar, Pedal Steel Al Gare - Double Bass Mark Morgan - Drums with guests: Al Nicholls - Tenor and Baritone Saxophones Dave Priseman - Trumpet Ricky Cool - Harmonica Note:
Here’s Mike mixing guitar driven Southern blues with a whole slew of rhythm and blues piano boogies and rolls. To join him he’s assembled a killer band that virtually amounts to a Big Town Playboys reunion! Al Nicholls is blowin’ sax, Ricky Cool plays harp, Mark Morgan keeps the beat, Andy Silvester is all over the place on lead guitar and pedal steel and King Pleasure’s Al Gare is down at the deep end on double bass. And of course, here’s Mike playing wonderful piano, strapping on the electric guitar and singing better than ever- his vocals on this album are electrifying! As you’d expect, the music is heaving with shakers and stompers from the repertoires of Slim Harpo, Billy Myles, Larry Williams, Little Walter, Junior Parker and Tarheel Slim.
There are fifteen tracks here and not a dud amongst ‘em. In fact it’s hard to pick out a standout but for an old Excello freak like me, Sanchez’s version of Slim Harpo’s “Strange Love” is a favourite. I love the reverberating bass lines, the simmering guitar licks, Ricky Cool’s harmonica and the way the whole thang just lollops along. Perfect! Tarheel Slim’s “Wildcat Tamer” gets the full treatment too- tons of swirling guitar, pumping bass and upbeat percussion slammin’ away while Sanchez wails out just like Elvis on Union Avenue. If you want to hear Sanchez let rip on the keyboards, you’ll love his driving version of Lieber & Stoller’s “I Wanna Do More”, it’s a poppin’ little number with great bass,tremendous piano and some hefty sax. You get more on Brook Benton’s quirky “Hurtin’ Inside” which is driven along by Sanchez’s intricate piano and features tons of great horn from Al Nicholls and trumpet player Dave Priseman. Then there’s big banging’ R&B on “Tell Me More”, a real rocker with funky drumming and some of the best raspin’ sax you’ve ever heard. Let’s face it, this CD rocks! Junior Parker’s “Come Back Baby” barrels along thanks to Mark Morgan’s terrifying backbeat and a persistent electric guitar lick before Ricky Cool thunders in with some scorching harmonica. Then, if you really want to rock out, just listen to “Sapphire”- it’s a true 50s rocker with screaming vocals, finger bustin’ piano, some explosive whammy-bar guitar and a monumental backbeat. A killer.
One other thing- I nearly forgot to tell you about the Jim Reeves song! “Blue Boy” is a cool country tune given an R&B edge by buoyant piano and bass and Mike’s Nat Cole vocals. It also features some nice guitar and impressive pedal steel from Andy Silvester. And it’s good enough to be the hit single from this CD!
This is the Mike Sanchez rocker we’ve all been waiting for- it’s nothing less than a world class set of R&B, blues and rock’n’roll by a tremendous band. ~~ by Red Lick.