Delta Groove Records
Oakland blues might not be as notorious as the blues from Chicago's South Side or Memphis' Beale Street, but it has given us such greats as Lowell Fulsom, Jimmy McCracklin and Sonny Rhodes, not to mention the lesser-known, but just as bluesy likes of Cool Papa, Sonny Lane and Troyce Key. Now add another name to this list: guitar player and singer Frank Goldwasser, formerly monikered "Paris Slim" for his francophone roots. On his latest CD, Bluju, Goldwasser tips his hat to these Oakland bluesmen -- all of whom he has either backed up or played with. But Goldwasser doesn't stop there, updating his thoroughly authentic down-home blues stew with dashes of African rhythms, funk grooves and even pop tempos. With a little help from his friends, including master percussionist Souhail Kaspar (Kronos Quartet, Sting), blues legend Phillip Walker and West Coast guitar honcho Alex Schultz, Goldwasser gets the mojo going. Though he takes his pages from the Oakland Blues Bible, Goldwasser has no problem playing the heretic to establish his own vision for the future of the blues.
-- Joe Sciallo
Dangerous Magical Noise (LP/CD)
In The Red
The Dirtbombs are a garage rock band like the Minutemen were a hard-core band -- it's shorthand that gets the unfamiliar in the right neighborhood, but they transcend the bounds of the genre. No bowl cuts or MC5 costumes, and then there's the lineup: guitar, baritone guitar, bass, and two drummers playing exactly in synch. Over the years, they've gone through numerous lineup changes and put out a good album, a great album, a CD and a teetering stack of fine 7-inch singles. Sonics have veered from crude pounding to gorgeous soul covers, with stops for silliness and weird psychedelia on the way.
Dangerous Magical Noise turns another corner. "Motor City Baby" could be right off a T. Rex record. Guitarist, vocalist and center of gravity Mick Collins is too iconoclastic to paint himself into the pop corner, but he can create a brain infection with the best of them. "Sun is Shining" steals the ball from Lenny Kravitz (!), and "F.I.D.O." sounds like a rock band covering the best Jackson 5 song you never heard. And the live fave "I'm Through With White Girls" made it on here -- woohoo!
The album has a few songs that sound kinda tossed off, but nothing too embarrassing. It's rock 'n' roll done up right, looking back without hiding in a wax museum and looking forward without subjecting us to another remix record.
-- Chris Selvig