Dream Train Flying Blues From Alastair Greene

Dream Train Flying Blues From Alastair GreeneAlastair Greene’s musical qualifications are impressive. He has guested with such luminaries as Eric Burdon, Walter Trout, Coco Montoya, Savoy Brown, John Nemeth, and Debbie Davies.

Now, after touring the world as the guitarist for the Alan Parson Project, Alastair has released a solo album called Dream Train. As he says, “I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity Alan gave me to handle guitar and vocal duties in his band. After 7 years, the time has come for me to truly pursue my own musical dream.”  Hence the album title one would assume. (A great interview with Alastair is available here on Bluesdoodles  Alastair Greene Interview by Wes O’Neill

It is clear from the people he guested with previously and who appear on this album where his musical roots lie. Here we are treated to blues variations aplenty, with shuffles, boogies and rocking tracks with soul sensibilities mixed in.

His touring band provides a solid, rhythmic background across the whole album with special guests filling out the sound on selected tracks. Greene is a skilled guitarist and has a subtle feel for electric blues and can transfer this subtlety to acoustic playing too. That’s not to say he doesn’t unleash a stinging solo or three along the way. Throughout the album, I hear hints of S.R.V., Trower and Snowy White in his playing, although the style is very much his own.

The opener and title track is an out and rocker with alternated picking and slide driving a fast, almost 12 bar riff. Then comes a superb slide solo; just what a good blues/rock track needs, although it is far too short. Big Bad Wolf has the vocals following the guitar melody making an effective build before a full-fat solo. The bass guitar on this is stunning too.

Nome Zayne is the only non-Greene composition. This one is written by none other than Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top fame. The title is deliberately obtuse; when it is sung it becomes “Know what I’m sayin’”! Typical Gibbons lyrically and musically and well executed here.

Another Lie has typically beautiful complimentary guitar from Walter Trout. A slower paced traditional electric blues. It also benefits from the warmth of the keyboard fills courtesy of Mike Finnegan (a Hammond B3 specialist who has played with Hendrix and the Phantom Blues Band amongst many others). Both guitarists stuff more feeling into this track than most blues albums can boast.

Acoustic skills are to the fore on the simply complicated instrumental, Song For Rufus. A purposeful oxymoron, for the tantalizing slide in the bridge, creates a complex weave to produce a brilliantly crafted and, for an instrumental, a lyrical composition. Grateful Swagger features Debbie Davies, known also for her work with Duke Robillard, Coco Montoya and J Geils amongst others. She adds a funky touch to this sweeping blues instrumental. This also has a rare, albeit short, great bass solo.

Lucky 13 has Mike Zito, a blues legend in his own right as well as being a co-founder of Royal Southern Brotherhood, sharing guitar duties. A faster paced blues with a ‘standard’ approach and the two guitarists trading sections brilliantly.

Greene may not be the strongest vocalist you’ll hear but has sufficient depth to carry all of the demands of this varied and wide-ranging blues album. The songs, the musicians and the production ensure that Dream Train is never less than engaging. Most of it is a thrill and if you keep your feet still throughout, then you probably need to seek medical attention!

 

Alastair Greene – Dream Train – Rip Cat Records

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

  1. Dream Train
  2. Big Bad Wolf
  3. Nome Zayne
  4. Another Lie
  5. Song For Rufus
  6. I’m The Taker
  7. Dare Devil
  8. Grateful Swagger
  9. Rain Stomp
  10. Demons Down
  11. Iowa
  12. Down To Memphis
  13. Lucky 13

MUSICIANS
Alastair Greene: guitar and vocals
Jim Rankin: bass
Austin Beede: drums

SPECIAL GUESTS
Walter Trout: guitar track 4
Mike Finnigan: organ tracks 4, 7, & 11
Dennis Gruenling: harmonica track 7
Debbie Davies: guitar track 8
Mike Zito: guitar track 12

ALL SONGS WRITTEN BY

Alastair Greene, except Nome Zayne written by Billy Gibbons

Dream Train Flying Blues From Alastair Greene

Blues Full of Grit Grease & Tears with Deb Ryder

Blues Full of Grit Grease & Tears with Deb Ryder

Blues Full of Grit Grease & Tears with Deb Ryder

Blues hits the airwaves from the opening chords from Mike Fiinigan’s keys on Ain’t Gonna Be Easy through to the stomping Right Side of The Grass, confirm the power of combining Organ, bass and Drum with Deb’s vocals steering the music through to the home straight. The blues glue that holds the album together is the vocal power and energy of Deb Ryder who delivers her compositions with a fever that ignites your internal blues radar.  Grit Grease & Tears is her third album and the band around her is definitely impressive on paper and on the album they are stunning the collective talent honed and fused into licks, riffs and interludes that embrace Deb’s deep and dirty vocals.  The album has a freshness the tracks are new and the musicians enjoyment is evident throughout the album shines through like a ray of sunshine on a dull and grey day.

The energy of the opening number picks up as the band Get A Little Steam Up, this track is smoking as Sugar Ray Rayford joins in the duet and the funk is getting a head of steam to drive the blues devils into a frenzy with the pairing of guitarists Kirk Fletcher and Johnny Lee Schell. Not heard harmonica, well that is now blowing fine In a Blink Of An Eye, as Pieter Van Der Pluijm brings his distinctive harp sound to the party.

No one can argue that Dirt, Grit & Grease is not hot, dirty crammed full of blues vibes that excites; and the title track is an invitation to put your foot on the throttle. The tempo is more measured and there is a hurt in the vocals as Deb sings I can’t cry anymore. The horns once again add to the emotional depths of the track, a track that sends shivers down the spine as your music nerves connect to the song.

Deb Ryder has crafted an album with shape and purpose with slower tracks such as Lord Knows I Do nestled in her voice is a soothing balm for a troubled soul with this number. Full of warmth and sensuous as blue velvet full of soulfulness, with drums that are the perfect punctuation for the vocals and keys. Deb talks directly to you with New Mechanic (Patrick’s Blues) this is a situation vacant and you better have lots of energy skills and be ready to bow to this singer’s orders.  A traditional double entendre blues number what is said and meant are definitely not the same on the rhythm driven number with the power of drummer Tony Braugnel and Ric Ryder’s Bass.

The shape of the blues changes again as gospel is pulled into Rivers of Forgiveness full of harmonies and sharpness of Bob Corritore’s harp suiting the number perfectly; a harmonious number with a sting in its blues tail.

Deb Ryder’s Grit Grease & Tears, brings blues to your heart and ears, thanks to strong composition and the collection of talent that ensures the vocals shine and shape the album with a dozen tracks that defines the many shades of blues today.

 

Deb Ryder – Grit Grease & Tears – BEJEB Music

NINE pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Ain’t Gonna Be Easy
  2. Get A Little Steam Up
  3. Blink Of An Eye
  4. Grit Grease & Tears
  5. Sweet Mary Anne
  6. Lord Knows I Do
  7. Panic Mode
  8. Just Her Nature
  9. New Mechanic (Patrick’s Blues)
  10. Right Side Of The Grass