Review: Bullfrog Brown – Mother River Delta and With Steve Lury & Peeter Piik

Posted on: Sunday, May 31, 2009

BULLFROG BROWN
“Mother River Delta” (KWAQ Records: KWAQ0801)
“With Steve Lury & Peeter Piik” (KWAQ Records: KWAQ0901)

Here’s a couple of releases that have been waiting for review for a good while, some ‘Blues from the Baltic’ by Estonian outfit, Bullfrog Brown – principally guitarist Andres Roots and vocalist, Alar Kriisa. The guys describe their music as ‘alt blues’, but to me sounds like very fine Delta and country blues, beautifully delivered – both musically and vocally.

The earlier 7-track “Mother River Delta” is just Andres Roots and Alar Kriisa on a mix of acoustic and slide guitars and some percussion – highlights are the stomping menace of “30”, the sweet country-flavoured “Nothing But Trouble” and the slide-driven “The Wagon Song” – all featuring Roots lovely acoustic and steel guitar, with Kriisa’s growling, distinctive voice.

“Talkin’ Drinkin’ Man” is firmly in classic Delta blues territory, with more engaging slide guitar, with this mini-album rounded off with the sort of Robert Johnson meets Elmore James blues of “Rain” – again, very nice indeed.

The current part studio and part live release – “With Steve Lury & Peeter Piik” – is full-length and a more muscular effort, with the duo of Andres Roots and Alar Kriisa joined by Kent-based harmonica player, Steve Lury, and the stand-up bass of Peeter Piik, to give it much more of a band feel.

Again it is very much in a Delta blues style, but also very engaging – due partly to Lury’s harmonica playing, which is usually amplified and with a meaty tone, but not swamping the other musicians, as heard on the opening “Blues For Breakfast”, which is later reprised as “Breakfast With Steve” – basically the same song, but with more harmonica.

Lury, who made contact with the band through an internet blues forum, is unknown to me, but his playing is consistently strong throughout – with some nice Sonny Boy Williamson-style acoustic playing on “Pumpkin Blues” – the perfect foil for Andres Roots impressive slide guitar work.

“Papa Wolf” sees a sinister vocal from Alar Kriisa – with, unsurprisingly given the title, shades of the great Howling Wolf; “Modern Times” rides on another nice slide riff, with “Dust In The Groove” being in similar territory – more superb work from Steve Lury here.

Andres Roots switches to some grungy electric playing on the mid-tempo shuffle of “Narva Road Breakdown” – with fine solo, firing off Lury’s harmonica – an album highlight! The slow blues of “24.00 Hours” brings proceedings to a rambling halt, as the band stretch out over some eight minutes – with the guitar/harmonica pairing intertwining again – more top electric work here from Andres Roots.

GRAHAME RHODES

www.myspace.com/bullfrogbrown

www.myspace.com/stevelury

The cds are available from the excellent

www.rootscd.com

UPCOMING GIGS

Bullfrog Brown have a few upcoming dates in the bluesinthenorthwest.com region.

28 Aug 2009 20:00
Tower Blues @ Lawrence House Studio, Grand Theatre Blackpool, England
29 Aug 2009 19:00
Bob Dylan Acousticfest Manchester, England
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