Saturday, January 08, 2011

Roy Gaines' Excellent New Frontier Lover

Influenced by T-Bone Walker, Roy Gaines has a six-decade career as a blues guitarist and singer. He has done countless sessions with the likes of Bobby Bland, Junior Parker and Jimmy Rushing and recored a number of albums over the years. Roy just issued on his Black Gold label Tuxedo Blues which I will be addressing in the next few weeks. In 2000, Severn records issued New Frontier Lover. It was his last US issued recording until Tuxedo Blues. Gaines did subsequently have a CD issued on the Japanese P-Vine label, “Guitar Clashers from Gainesville, Tokyo,” with Japanese guitarist, Mitsuyoshi Azuma. The following review of New Frontier Lover appeared in the January-February 2001, Jazz & Blues Report (issue 249).

Roy Gaines’ latest, New Frontier Lover (Severn), is among the best of 2000. David Earl has put together a terrific band behind him including Steve Gomes on bass and Benji Porecki on keyboards and there are some nice horn parts on most tracks. Its a collection of new material, although one can hear echoes of some of the greats Gaines was a contemporary with and played with.

Many of the songs have memorable hooks and some of the catchphrases from the tunes will be lingering in your mind after you listen to this The title track is funky number where Gaines gets to boast about his prowess. It is followed up by my favorite track, The World’s Biggest Fool, a terrific slow blues suggestive of Guitar Slim’s Something to Remember You By, with the band sounding like Slim’s band on his Atlantic sessions. What’s the Reason is a nice shuffle with a latin tinge to it while Roy is in a T-Bone Walker vein on You Can’t Make Nobody Love You, although Gaines plays with a somewhat dirtier tone here than Walker.

Roy’s Theme is an instrumental evoking classic instrumental shuffles like Gatemouth Brown’s Okie Dokie Stomp, and Roy’s driving attack here compares favorably to the best of them. Hinds Ends & Elbows is another hook-laden song, with Gaines’ hot vocal and guitar evoking the memory of the late Johnny Copeland. Gaines also handles a medium tempo Chicago blues shuffle, My Woman, My Blacksnake and Me, with Steve Guyger adding his harp to the blues stew. Guyger is also present on the rollicking closing number, Roll Your Own Biscuits.

This release has been one I have been listening to constantly since I got the advance of it. I am not sure if it will be in the stores when you read this, but it is one that is sure to be on my best of 2000 list. Look for it.

This was on my Best of 2000 Blues list and the music holds up well a decade later. This should still be readily available. I received a review copy from Severn Records for the review.

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