Monday, January 17, 2011

Electrofied's Bad Case of Blues Has Promising Diagnosis

A really good guy, Tony Fazio, is the regular guitarist with Stacy Brooks, but also be seem playing with Charlie Sayles and other bands when a solid, reliable guitarist is needed. As busy as Tony is as a sideman, he has a project, Electrofied, that he is centrally involved in. Electrofied dates back to 2002 and was founded by Fazio and drummer Richard James Burgess. It presently includes vocalist Scott Taylor and bassist Rob Rusteburg, and they have issued in late 2009, CD, “Bad Case of the Blues” (Marva). It is a recording that has garnered some critical praise and a nomination as best blues/traditional recording for the Washington Area Music Awards. This writer has only caught a brief performance of them at a benefit for a local musician and was impressed by the group’s energy as well Scott Taylor’s presence as a vocalist.

To these ears, Bad Case of the Blues” shows more promise than it displays a group that has arrived. That might be the result of the use of only a trio in the studio behind Taylor’s passionate vocals (although harmonica wizard Charlie Sayles guests on one track). Live one might not notice as much the simple, functional rhythm provided by Rusteburg and Burgess and the limited musical coloring guitarist Fazio provides. Not to say he plays bad, but having a rhythm guitarist or a keyboard player for the recording would have made it a fuller and richer backing.

The material is generally solid is somewhat generic in terms of themes. The opening title track has a good lyric about being mistreated and the doctor’s diagnosis about the pains Scott has been having isn’t heart trouble or bursitis, but simply a bad case of the blues. A solid vocal by Taylor and some strong guitar by Fazio. On the funky “Cadillac,” Taylor salaciously invites the lady to take a ride in his big and wide Cadillac, but the cluttered sounding accompaniment comes across as clunky behind Fazio’s buzz-tone solo. The addition of Charlie Sayles harmonica helps on “Life Is Like A Boomerang,” as does Burgess’ interesting drumming here. Sayles use of the harmonica’s high register provides a fuller spectrum of musical colors here. “Rub Me Down,” is a nice soulful slow blues as Taylor asks his lady to come on over and rub him down to help drive Taylor’s blues away. Its a pretty strong vocal and nice guitar where the simple backing works.

“Put Your Hands In The Air” is a song about loving the blues, while Charlie Sayles returns to add his embellishments behind Taylor’s vocal on “I’ll Go Insane,” with its lazy Jimmy Reed groove. Fazio takes a couple choruses of scorch the earth guitar on the solo break. One other fine slow blues performance is “It Ain’t Right,” with a especially strong vocal. “Rainbow” and “Early in the Morning,” however, reinforce this listener’s sense that Electrofied’s music shows considerable promise but they need to expand their musical palette in the studio. Think about the sound of Burgess’ drums (hint listen to recent recordings by the Brazilian Igor Prado Band and Studebaker John) and how that can enliven the somewhat dull sound heard here. That said, I certainly hope I can catch one of Electrofied’s all too infrequent performances around the Washington, DC area, and I certainly look forward to their future recording efforts as well.

This is available from
I received a review copy from Tony Fazio.

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