Born In Oakland
Mud Slide Records
Sometimes you just want to hear honest uplifting music with blues-tinged notes and a professional approach to the genre. Well this seven-piece unit certainly fits these criteria and some more. They hail from Oakland and this is their seventh release. They have been going in some guises for thirty years. A hard-working band who have backed-up such legends as John lee Hooker and Buddy Guy on their travels, so they come with good pedigree. Ten tracks of differing punctuating pulsing tunes, their style seems tinged with a West Coast American blues flavour. They comprise of consummate frontman, vocalist and mean harmonica player Ernie Pinata, who really rocks on I Don’t Care – a real craftsman. He is ably assisted by funky bass man Torn Gerrits on the intoxicating instrumental, In the Middle, with a smooth trumpet solo by John Christensen, and tenor saxophonist Gerry Jonutz keeps the beat going. Guitarist Richard Healy, trombonist David Bowman, and drummer Tony Huszar finish the line-up of this very tight band. The tempo rises on opener Sunny Day, a foot tapping grinder of a tune funk, orientated with good rhythm, and is a wonderful feature of this release. Fine And Healthy Thing is swing driven with bold vocals. Best of the slow songs is the blues-infused Your Eyes. Another highlight, Devil’s In my Headset, shows the band at the top of its game, a real grower. All I Have To Give closes things off with a jazzy battle between horn section and guitars and full throttle harmonica. Different flavours of music genres culminate in this highly infectious and evocative release. A real find.
– Colin Campbell, Blues Matters Magazine (issue 101), Great Britain
Reviewer Colin Campbell is based in Scotland. He has been writing about blues music for over six years. He is also a keen photographer. He has been enthused and heavily influenced by blues music for three decades. Music is a healer, blues is the medicine.