Review: Bullfrog Brown – Moon and Central

Posted on: Friday, Oct 23, 2009

BULLFROG BROWN

“Moon and Central”

(KWAQ Records: KWAQ0902)

The prolific Estonian blues band, and recent visitors to our shores, have recently released their third album in the last twelve months or so – “Moon and Central” – named after an area in an old part of Tartu, Estonia. As ever the band are led by the guitar work of Andres Roots and the throaty vocals and harmonica of Alar Kriisa, with Peter Piik on bass. “Moon and Central” was originally destined to be an EP, but as the songs kept coming, it became an album!

The 10 tracks on offer see them deliver a rootsy blend of folky blues – mainly acoustic-based but with some electric touches, as evident on the opening “Hurtin’ Street” – with Andres Roots nice fingerpicked opening giving way to some tough electric slide work. The following “Leave You Sleepin’” is again slide-driven, with vocalist Alar Kriisa also on harmonica. The pace is taken down for the old song “Road” – written in 2000-2001 when the band were three-quarters of Green Bullfrog.

“Shadows” has a nice old-time stompy, rootsy feel – again with Andres Roots slide work impressing and trademark gritty vocal from Kriisa; “Scent Of A Woman” has a jug-band flavour, with Kriisa on harmonica again. “Paint Your Shadow On The Wall” has been resurrected from a longer mid-1990s piece and has a laid back lazy feel to it which is most appealing.

The raucous “Years Past Midnight” is another uptempo blues – a tribute to the band’s friend, Dave Arcari and the band he was in, The Radiotones – indeed it is very reminiscent of the Scotman’s ‘punk blues’ – with downhome guitar from Andres Roots. The album closer sees a live version of the previously recorded “Blues For Breakfast” – with sweet harmonica from British player Steve Lury, who featured  throughout the previous Bullfrog Brown release – aptly named “Bullfrog Brown with Steve Lury”. This stretched-out take sees some sparring between Roots electric slide and the harmonica.

Apart from the three band members and Lury other guests are L.R. Phoenix (backing vocals), Nikolaj Anderson (5-string violin) and Peeter Jogioja (percussion). Another highly recommended slice of ‘Blues from the Baltic’ and all very nice indeed!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.bullfrogbrown.com

www.myspace.com/bullfrogbrown

Bullfrog_Brown_by_Siret_Roots

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