Saturday, February 02, 2013

No Teasing the Blues From Little G Weevil

Based currently in Georgia, Little G Weevil released at the end of 2011 his second album as a leader, The Teaser, although the release only recently started receiving promotion. He has been leading bands since he was 21, established himself in Europe, as well as shared stages with numerous major blues names. Born in 1977, his press biography notes that he started playing drums at 7 and guitar at 17, and “was introduced and captivated by the music scene through listening to legendary musicians such as John Lee Hooker, Lightnin' Hopkins, Albert Collins, B.B. King and Chuck Berry. Hooker particular had a deep influence on him as he states, “John Lee Hooker and his blues was for me, like my grandfather and the tales he use to tell. When I first heard the songs Hobo Blues and Never Get Out of These Blues Alive, I thought to myself, God, I am part of this, I feel it, I belong to this.” 

The years of playing show up on this terrific recording which launches with a hot rocking boogie Real Men Don’t Dance, which in addition to the leader’s gritty singing (“let me see you shake, shake, shake”) and stinging guitar sports some tough harmonica from Maurice Nazzaro and piano from Bob Page. After Page's piano solo, Weevil comes back in singing just backed by John V. McKnight on drums, before the rest of the band joins him for the coda. It is just one example of the terrific interplay between Little G Weevil and his band. The title track slows down just a bit as he delivers the lyric “don’t try to tease the big teaser,” again with a tight groove before Weevil launches some tough slide guitar.

 Highway 78 is a John Lee Hooker styled boogie with a half-spoken vocal against a vamping bass figure that captures Hooker’s classic style while avoiding being an ‘endless boogie’ in the manner of so many Hooker imitators while Back Porch is another Hooker-influenced styled performance, here modeled after some of the slow stomps and dirges that Hooker recorded in the late 40s and early 50’s. Another Hooker styled blues is the solo Losing Cool. These are not simply impressive in Weevil’s evocation of Hooker’s style, but are first-rate originals.

Other audible influence on Weevil is Albert King and Otis Rush, Apple Picker is one of several tunes that he conjures up these influential guitar players. The lyric itself is a fresh one employing a double entendre as he has “everything that a woman needs,” with an explosive guitar solo. Dad’s Story is a nice low-key down home solo blues, while 8.47 is a strutting number with some searing fretwork. She Used To Call Me, is a post-war Texas Blues in the manner of Lightnin’ Hopkins. The closing, Which Way Shall I Go, is a solo hills country styled blues with exhilarating slide guitar.

As mentioned the band (which also includes Bill Burke on bass) plays wonderfully throughout supporting Little G Weevil. Weevil plays in crisp, imaginative, and idiomatic fashion while his vocals are unforced, slightly raspy, and thoroughly convincing in his performances of fresh originals. The Teaser is a terrific album of compelling blues.

A publicist provided my review copy.  Little G Weevil was just announced as the winner of the solo-duo competition of The Blues Foundation's 2013 International Blues Competition in Memphis. Here he is performing at a release party for the CD.

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