Friday, April 22, 2016

Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue

The eponymously titled Electro-Fi album by the Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue brings together singer and harmonica player Mark Hummel with guitarists Little Charlie Baty and Anson Funderburgh, R.W. Grisby on bass and Wes Starr on drums. They are friends although only some have played together prior to this revue. They are joined by Jim Pugh on keyboards, along with saxophonists Eric Spaulding and Jack Sanford for this recording that Chris "Kid" Andersen recorded at his Greaseland Studios.

Its a terrific set of all blues with any lumpy or rocky filler that contains a mix of interpretations of  lesser known blues gems along with originals penned by Hummel. Hummel has been and remains a real good vocalist and here this starts with the opening rendition of Gatemouth Brown's "Midnight Hour." In addition to Hummerl's vocal there is  plenty of slashing guitar by Baty and Funderburgh, both of whom delight with their contrasting styles. Hummel plays harp on Billy Boy Arnold's "Here's My Picture," followed by Hummel's original shuffle "Prove It To Me" with some greasy fafisa sounding organ and terrific guitar (I suspect from Charlie Baty). Hummel's moody "Cool to Be Your Fool," with backing from just piano and rhythm, borrows the "Sittin' on Top of the World" melody.

Lowell Fulson's "Check Yourself" takes listeners  into a jump blues vein with Hummel taking a harp solo followed by some blistering playing (likely from Funderburgh). Baty trades fours with Hummel's harp in the relaxed rendition of Mose Allison's "Stop This World," with Pugh terrific again. An older Jimmy McCracklin tune "Take a Chance," takes us uptown on a rocking number that sounds like it would have if Junior Parker had done it. "Walking With Mr. Lee" is a terrific feature for Hummel's harp, while the Grisby penned "Detroit Blues," is a nice lazy Jimmy Reed-style shuffle. Among the other selections is a solid cover of J.B. Hutto's "Dim Lights" if Hummel can't match the fervor of Hutto, it still has terrific slide guitar.

This is a terrific revue and reports of their shows seems consistent with the music here. The performances are marvelously performed and backed by an excellent rhythm section. Fans of real deal blues are in for a treat with this gem.

I received my copy from a publicist. Here is a recent performance by them.

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