The Tulsa Oklahoma native Scott Ellison grew up when that city was a rock and blues hotbed. later touring with Conway Twitty's daughter and then Gatemouth Brown, Ellison eventually relocated to Los Angeles playing and touring with the likes of The Box Tops, The Shirelles, The Drifters, The Coasters and others before forming his own blues band in the 1990s.
A prolific songwriter as well as a singer-guitarist, he recorded several albums that Dennis Walker produced. His new album, “Ice Storm," is a set of original 'rocking blues.' At times, his vocals reminded me of the late Sean Costello, and he sings forcefully with a raspy grit although a limited range. The songs are standard fare about relationships and partying to the blues. His guitar playing rocks out at times and fans of guitar pyrotechnics will find much here to enjoy.
The opening “Steamin’” is a rocker with Ellison singing about how his woman’s moves and kisses are getting him steaming and ready to explode. The opening of “Big Blue Car” evokes “The Thrill is Gone,” before he talks about riding around the funky town looking for his woman with horns effectively added to the backing, before launching into the hard rock “Pride,” with slide guitar in the backing.
A heavy backbeat and driving slide guitar launches “4th of July,” with Ellison barking out a gravelly vocal. It is followed by “King of the Blues,” thankfully taken at a lower level as he sings about partying with his guitar but hung up about his lady which is making him the “King of the Blues.” “I’m in Trouble,” is a down in the alley tune about being “lost in these blues again,” where he pulls out all the stops on guitar. The title song is a nifty instrumental with a strong tenor sax solo in addition to Ellison's jazzier playing here.
While Ellison is clever with a phrase here and elsewhere, the songs generally don’t stand out, although some with a taste for rocking blues guitar and blues-rock may find these performances more satisfying than this reviewer does.
I received this recording from Earwig or a publicist. This review originally appeared in the November 2008 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 310). Here is a performance by him of "Steamin'" from a few years after this recording.