Coco Montoya – Songs From The Road ~ CD Review 2014

cocoCoco Montoya
Songs From The Road
RUF records

This live double album features Coco Montoya and his band on the Road, as part of a RUF records series of on The Road albums delivered from their catalogue of blues artists. The opening track I Got A Mind To Travel, is an apt starting point and introduces us to the full band of musicians Coco Montoya uses to augment his vocal and guitar skills the use of Hammond Organ delivered with panache by Brant Leeper who also adds to the vocals. Throughout the album there are glimpses of Coco Montoya’s exceptional musical career especially the influence he certainly gives the feel of movement and the guitar sound is an homage to his old boss Albert Collins while playing the guitar left-handed and upside down like the other Albert King! Coco’s playing is instinctive full of fluidity

The whole album is easy on your ear and an enjoyable listening experience BUT at times you want Coco to let loose and really show us what he is capable of.
On Love Jail his guitar takes on the shape and form of Albert Collins and all the better for it, even his vocals strengthen as the beat picks up, this is a stylish ten minute track. This album has fourteen tracks where Coco and his band just want to please as they play for the length of time need ( Never less than 5 minutes and up to a mighty 15 minutes) to explore all the alleyways and nooks and crannies they feel the music is taking them on their journey of discovery with you, there is freedom of expression that only live music free from the constrains of a studio walls and mixing desk.

Fannie Mae is a an example of this with the applause at beginning before some driving chugging guitar and Coco’s vocals this is trip everyone wants to take as the tale unfolds and some glorious keys from at the end the beguiling chuckle from Coco This is an album that brings the live performance directly into your living room, but do not be fooled this is a poor imitation to actually being at a performance of Coco and his band performing live you get not just the sound but the heat and energy of the man in action and the emotional engagement of the audience you are an integral part off.

This is Blues where the solo’s and instrumentals are there to provide a backbone of support to the vocals not to dominate. We have shuffles that is full of tones that are as clear as a bell from his guitar on Love Chairs, whilst Hey Senorita brings some Latin magic to the proceedings. This is a double album full of textures and musical tones, and the funky groove on Don’t Go Making Plans has all the feel of a jam and an artist out front of an audience enjoying himself as he entertains.

This is a double album you will listen to time and time again as this form John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers entertains with a live sound in your home; it is the next best thing to seeing Coco live on stage!

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Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch