Dave Arcari & Helsinki Hellraisers – Whisky in my Blood
Record Label – Blue North Release Date – 25 March 2013.
From the first second, this CD can only be the handiwork of Glaswegian Dave Arcari, with his punk take on acoustic. There is nothing gentle in the delivery as his voice and guitar dominate the Hellsinki Hellraisers so that they provide a stable platform of excellent musicianship for him to launch off from. The backing artists are Juuso Haapasalo (upright & electric bass) and Honey Aaltonen (snare drum, cymbal, rub-board), who elevate the songs from a one-man show. The title track, ‘Whisky in my Blood’ is wild and loud if you have ever seen him live your immediate vision is Dave filling a stage that normally dwarfs a three or four piece band. Then the surprise nugget track 7, ‘Still Friends’ a gentle, lullaby style love song with gentle drumming and everything toned down this gentler side is continued with ‘Wherever I Go’ with its country waltz style, almost as if Dave has realised with fellow musicians around him he can concentrate on singing and his deep tenor definitely comes to the fore. Then it is back to more typical Arcari style with ‘Still Laughing’ and lots of references to the Devil, again the drumming, this time with brushes, compliments the guitar work making a complete sound with the addition of the double bass. As ever it is that authentic, unique sound that he gets from the National Guitar which you either love or hate as his clawed fingers strum the guitar so that it is all a quiver, as in his cover version of Jitterbug Swing, so often associated with Bukka White. The other two covers are Robert Johnson‘s, ‘Walkin’ Blues’ and ‘Preachin’ Blues’ which again are given the Arcari treatment whilst still keeping the integrity that listeners expect from these much loved blues classics. Like ‘Still Friends’, on ‘Third Time Lucky’ the National takes back stage with Dave playing the banjo for the shortest track on this 14 track album lasting just under two minutes.
This album has a definite live feel, resulting from the album being recorded live at Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki; the album was mixed between there and Chem19, Glasgow, Scotland and mastered at Boiler Room, Chicago, USA. Whilst this album possesses similarities to Dave’s previous recordings and again showcases this travelling musician as a skilled songwriter and awesome slide guitarist that just wants you to have fun whilst listening to a punk blues sound that is modern and works so well. This CD reflects the skills of this accomplished musician and your foot will be tapping from beginning to end as the Arcari style shines through.