CD Review – Memo Gonzalez and The Bluescasters – Live in the UK

Posted on: Friday, Nov 3, 2006

Memo Gonzalez & The Bluescasters
“Live In The UK:
(Crosscut Records: CCD 11092)

The fourth release from the very excellent Memo Gonzalez & The Bluescasters catches the band doing what they do best – tearing up small venues, delivering, as it says on the cover – “Rollin’ & Drivin’ Blues”.

Recorded in Oxford, Swindon and Leicester in 2004, the big man from Dallas, Texas – now resident in Germany – and his top notch band of Kai Strauss (guitar and vocals), Erkan Ozdemir (bass) and now-departed drummer Klaus Schnirring deliver 13 cuts of non-stop energy!

Memo Gonzalez is a fine frontman, both in the vocal and harmonica departments, but his band leader, Kai Strauss, is on his usual top form – sounding as if he was schooled on the blues in Texas, not Germany – combining the rhythmic drive of Jimmie Vaughan and the intensity of Ronnie Earl – and it doesn’t get much better than that.

Those who have caught the live shows over the past few years will warm to revisiting some of the tunes – from the roadhouse blues of “I Wanna Ask You Pretty Baby”, the Doc Pomus tune “His Latest Flame” and Kai Strauss’s showcase on “I Wanna Ramble”/”Feelin’ Good” – he positively tears it up!

Other treats are the epic “Greyhound”, complete with more stunning guitar; the rollicking “Louisiana Lover Man” and the encore of Jay Miller’s “Big Time Operator” – which brought the house down at Warrington recently.

The rock-steady rhythm section of Erkan Ozdemir and Klaus Schnirring keep it nice and simple behind the dynamics of Kai Strauss and Memo Gonzalez – making for a most enjoyable release from this top European blues band.

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