Sunday, July 03, 2011

Look Out For Terry Hanck's Greasy Soul Rockin' Blues Sax

Saxophonist and vocalist Terry Hanck has been part of the San Francisco Bay area blues scene for several decades, including a lengthy association with Elvin Bishop. He, in fact, is part of Bishop's Raisin' Hell Revue that had a CD on Delta Groove. Now Delta Groove has issued his CD Look Out. This is co-produced by Hanck and Norwegian born guitarist Chris 'Kid' Anderson, who was part of Hanck's band before joining Charlie Musselwhite and then replacing Charlie Baty with Rick Estrin & the Nightcats. Andersen also lends his guitar to a number of tracks along with guitarist Johnny 'Cat' Soubrand from Hanck’s current band, bassist Tim Wager, drummer Butch Cousins and the keyboards of Bob Welsh.

The album cover describes this as "Greasy Soul Rockin' Blues," a not inaccurate description for Hanck's mix of jump blues and soul. Listening to him, obvious influences are honkers like Junior Walker, Big Jay McNeely and Joe Houston. He plays tough R&B sax and is a pretty strong-voiced vocalist who brings plenty of passion to his delivery. The band is terrific behind him with a relaxed, steady backing that doesn't rush the tempo, even of hot shuffles and in addition to the leader's sax, both guitarists get plenty of solo space.

An example of the Junior Walker influence might be on the reworking of Guitar Slim's recording, You Give Me Nothing But the Blues, usually done as a shuffle and transformed here a "Shotgun groove." There is plenty of raspy sax along with some strong guitar from Johnny Cat, making much use of the lower register here. The other material is pretty solid and not overdone to death from covers of Chuck Willis' Keep a Drivin’ as well as Louis Jordan's Just Like a Woman.

Hanck's own originals are pretty solid efforts as well ranging the reggae flavored Girl, Girl, Girl, to the nice ballad Keep On Holding On, that provides a contrast to the jumping remake of Tiny Bradshaw's Train Kept a Rollin’, with the focus on the leader's sax, although the most famous cover of the song is the Yardbirds' guitar rave. Another nice jump tune is the Fats Domino classic Hello Josephine, with the closing tune being an Ike Turner rocker, Just One More Time. On this latter tune, Kid Andersen emulates Turner's use of the whammy bar on the original. Its a solid close to a strong recording that showcases Hanck as a singer as well as a saxophonist with an excellent band.

My review copy was provided by a publicist.

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