Ramsey - Stranger Blues
Review by Ricardo
is, apparently, a leading proponant of the 'Iowa Sound' - "A
unique blues/folk/rock hybrid"... Hmm... not sure
about that but I do like this sparse, low key, ethereal re-working
of some classic blues songs - Howlin' Wolf's 'Sitting on Top of
The World', Little Walter's 'Crazy Mixed UP World' and the title
track, Elmore James' 'Stranger Blues' to name but three.
Maybe you could call it 'Minimal Blues', so stripped down is it
to it's essentials. Compared to the histrionics of a lot of contempory
blues music this makes a welcome change, focusing as it does on
the soul of the song rather than the sports-guitar antics of the
singer. The playing throughout, though, is impeccable - these boys
(and girl - Pieta
Brown features, and is great, on several tracks) have
got some taste and style in their chops and a 'less is more' philosophy
is apparent throughout.
That's not to say that this record lacks substance however. These
musicians are heavyweights, it's just that, like Ali leaving that
last punch un-thrown as Foreman was going down, they know that it's,
well, cooler to hang back sometimes.
This could be described as a tribute album, indeed Ramsey's own
blurb talks about him honouring his inspirations, but the tribute
is in breathing fresh life into the songs, not in re-treading the
same knackered tyre. Great sounding, with something to add, this
is a record The Blues can be proud of. So can Bo.
Available from July 18th 2006 at www.cdbaby.com