Misty Blues crank it One Louder

Misty Blues crank it One Louder

Misty Blues crank it One Louder an entertaining album with some genuinely special guests providing a solid series of songs with variation and originality.

Bluesdoodles rating: 3 Doodle Paws – – an entertaining album with some genuinely special guests providing a solid series of songs with variation and originality.

Two albums in one year, with the difficulties the pandemic has thrown, is no mean achievement as Misty Blues 11th album (including None More Blue and the brilliantly titled Weed ‘em and Reap from last year) is released in January. Once again Gina Coleman and the band have successfully blended the blues, jazz, rock and R’n’B into eleven new songs that are all original and reflect some of the emotions and issues that throws up.

Although relatively unknown here in the UK, the band (and their revolving musician list) have toured most of the US and supported the likes of Tab Benoit, John Primer, Albert Cummings and Michael Powers and continue to grow their fanbase.

Opening with A Long Hard Way, and only Gina’s mellifluous vocals backed by her special resonator guitar (called Mavis) in the intro, we get a lyrically complex and deep song of the hardships suffered by musicians through the pandemic, illuminated by lines such as “through barren shafts and unlit mines, misguided by my thoughts: misinterpretations and fraught conflations, It’s been a hard way back home.” The band join in for a bluesy run through and a laid back sax solo splits the gospel-tinged choruses.

Freight Car features the inimitable slide maestro, Justin Johnson: this is the man who finds or builds a guitar from just about anything…look him up playing an ironing board fitted with a neck, headstock and pickups. It’s genius and sounds remarkably good and he has a wealth of quality material in his back catalogue too…my pick would be the double album, Smoke and Mirrors. On this track, he adds his instinctive touch and feel with the bottleneck and the whole thing gels nicely with the slide glistening throughout and the solo…majestic and could have lasted a couple of hours for me.

How the Blues Feels features the bass vocals of the legend that is Big Lou Johnson: he’s the voice of TV and radio and even some toys! His latest album, Bigman, is worth a listen too. This is a slow and moody blues that suits his delivery perfectly…Gina matches him on alternative verse and the short key solo and then a great rock guitar solo makes the use of the Sitting On The Top Of The World riff more than acceptable and the harp solo helps too.

This Life We Live ups the pace with the rock ’n’ roll bounce; the guitar sax duet doesn’t last as long as it should before piano and sax have their turn and they all join in for the denouement that has me imagining King Louie (he of the jungle swingers) going in with them.

Birch Tree is an analogy on life, growth and reflection that can sound a bit twee, until you realise how the words correlate to almost anyone at some point and hey, Rush did it with a whole forest! this is a slow slide, courtesy of Gina’s cigar box guitar, backed kind of ballad with sax and coned trumpet adding the fills. Leave My Home uses funk and brass to evict the person in the storyline. Trumpet, twin saxophones and a neat keyboard take the solos.

Hit You Back is a nice blues with great vibrato on the guitar behind the verses and simple but effective keys bass and drums adding the colour. The slide guitar solo is intelligent and too short, although the organ solo nearly makes up for it. Seal of Fate brings accordion to the party, hence the slight Zydeco feel that gets the toes tapping and the piano and guitar solos are just great.

I’m a Grinder features Gino’s son (Diego Monque) on bass and he adds a ‘bit of slap’ as Bill takes up the trumpet…there’s still room for a nice guitar and key solo though. Do My Thing has an introspective story of happiness that may be a front and loneliness is never far away (although using phrases like “happidy doo” and “happidy dang” sounds a bit Disney, it doesn’t detract.) Keys man Benny sings on this and a great set of backing vocalists bring New Orleans, funky gospel to mind.

The final track, Take a Long Ride, has Joe Louis Walker guesting on guitar…we here at Bluesdoodles loved his album, Eclectic Electric from earlier in 2021. The opening drum beat and chords set the scene for bluesy song with a bit of weight behind it. If only the brilliant JLW solo had been longer…

Misty Blues crank it One Louder

Track listing
Deaf and Blind
A Long Hard Way
Freight Car
How the Blues Feels
This Life We Live
Birch Tree
Leave My Home
Hit You Back
Seal of Fate
I’m a Grinder
Do My Thing
Take a Long Ride

Gina Coleman: vocals, cigar box, guitar
Benny Kohn: keyboards, vocals
Aaron Dean: Alto and Tenor saxophone, vocals
Seth Fleischmann: guitar
Bill Patriquin: bass, trumpet, vocals
Rob Tatten: drums, vocals
Diego Mongue: bass
Yahuba Garcia: percussion
Bob Stannard: harmonica
David Vittone: accordion
Chris Rand: baritone saxophone
Wendy Lipp, Rebecca Mattson, Kathy Ryan: vocals

Recorded at Building Records Studio in Marlboro, New York.

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(iTunes transported me to Another World…as in the 2018 album from guitar bluesman Mitch Laddie and the lead-off track, Home.)

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