Review – Johnny Mastro – Warrington – 13 April 2007
Posted on: Monday, Apr 16, 2007
Johnny Mastro & Mama’s Boys
Warrington R&B Club at Warrington Town FC: 13/04/07
A bit of a coup this for Ray and Barbara at Warrington – the highly-rated Californian blues band’s only North West club date, following a barnstorming show at the Burnley Blues Festival. Johnny Mastro and his band have long been prominent in the LA blues scene and this was their first UK visit.
Over here on the back of their new “Take Me To Your Maker” release, the band – Johnny Mastro (lead vocals and harmonica), Dave Melton (guitar and vocals), Paul Loranger (bass) and Jim ‘Jimbo’ Goodall (drums) – deliver some of the rawest, purest blues around – with Mastro’s harmonica and Melton’s tough guitar licks prominent.
A packed house at Warrington were treated to over two hours of great blues, a mix of mid-paces shuffles and slow blues, with surprisingly, the last album – “The Black Album” – featuring more. This was tough, in your face stuff, a mix of the likes of the classic Paul Butterfield band, with more contemporary stuff, such as the late, great Lester Butler’s Red Devils.
Highlights of two great sets were the shuffle of “Middle Of The Night”; the great slow blues “Can’t Kick This Habit”, with a Led Zeppelin feel and superb guitar from Dave Melton; and the funky “Loverman”.
Dave Melton was given his turn on the vocals and provided a nice “Anna Lee”, and a slowed down “Done Somebody Wrong”, with lashings of top-notch slide guitar – although I have to say he slightly overdid the slide stuff, and I much preferred his great riffing and soloing! Another slight gripe was a slightly muffled sound and Mastro’s harmonica being a little on the quiet side for me.
The two front men were able to add their virtuosity because of the top-notch rhythm section. Bassist Paul Loranger was last seen over here with rocker Eric Sardinas; and Jim Goodall hit his kit harder than anybody I have heard in a long, long time – he has vast experience in the LA scene – playing with the resurrected Flying Burrito Brothers and the likes of Roger McGuinn.
This top night ended with my favourite cut off the new release, a storming boogie in “Shade Your Woman” – with great harmonica from Mastro and more great guitar; Dave Melton rounded off the night with some Guitar Slim on “Something To Remember Me By” – great stuff!
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