Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Joe Pitts Brings Us Ten Shades of Blues
Singer-guitarist Joe Pitts is a name new to these ears, but this Arkansas native has put together a hard hitting self-issued release Ten Shades of Blues, that looks at him covering some of his inspirations and others he just likes. With his rhythm of Jimmy Lynnon bass guitar and assorted drummers, keyboards and harp, he handles ten songs that display his gravelly, unforced songs and his fluent guitar. Initially hearing the blues-rock of the British invasion, he discovered Albert, B.B. and Freddie King, Muddy Waters, Elmore James and Robert Johnson and others on the blues highway.
Interesting opener is Breaking Up Somebody’s Home, with his guitar centered performance derived more from Albert King’s recording than other renditions, and he takes a solo that displays his own style. There is loose accompaniment for his take on Muddy Waters’ Cross-Eyed Cat, with some nice harp playing, slide guitar and more modern-styled guitar on the coda. His vocal is pretty solid here but his vocal is a bit over the top on Walter Trout’s Clouds on the Horizon, on which he plays some screaming guitar. With an insistent groove, his vocal is more restrained in delivery and he does a nice take on Luther Allison’s Pain in the Streets. The organ playing adds a nice touch to the backing on this track.
Eric Gales' Freedom For My Demons brings blistering blues-rock guitar over a melodic line that evokes Stormy Monday, as he fervently delivers the lyric about the demons are dealing and what he’s selling sure looks fine but give Joe some freedom from his demons and some peace of mind. Put the Shoe on the Other Foot, is a nice rendition of an Albert Collins recording with some nice playing that suggest Collins without trying to be a sound-alike, while Pitts’ rendition of I’m Worried, is a bit more in the vein of Allman Brothers than Elmore James with a bit of distortion on his vocal.The jazzy, low-key No Stranger to the Blues, features some atmospheric rhythm guitar and biting single note chicken scratching runs with a nice vocal.
A bit more rock flavoring is heard on the guitar on a nice shuffle take on John Mayall’s Walkin’ on Sunset, with Terry Bradley adding slide guitar here. The disc concludes with Peter Green’s The World Keeps On Turning, on which he takes to an acoustic guitar and his fingerpicking that contrasts nicely with some chording as he sings about nobody sees him crying or knows how feels while his relaxed delivery contributes to a moving vocal performance. Its a nice end to a collection of generally solid, engaging performances. This should be available from cdbaby, itunes and other sources. Weblinks for Joe Pitts include http://joepitts.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Joe-Pitts-Band/54309185026.
The review originally appeared in the Dec.15 2010-Febuary 1, 2011 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 332) to which I made a few minor edits. I received a review copy from the publicist for this recording.