Review: Dave Arcari – Devil’s Left Hand

Posted on: Thursday, Dec 9, 2010


“Devil’s Left Hand”
(Buzz Records)

Recently released on his own Buzz Records, is “Devil’s Left Hand”, the new album from possibly the hardest working man in the blues, Scottish troubador Dave Arcari, the follow-up to his highly successful “Got Me Electric”. As ever, Dave’s National slide-driven ‘alt blues’ hits hard, with his fierce guitar attack and gritty vocals being on top form here.

“Devil’s Left Hand” features eight Arcari originals, with his own arrangements of Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson tunes. On his last album he successfully put some Robert Burns lyrics to music on “Parcel Of Rogues”, and repeats that here with the Scottish national poet’s “MacPherson’s Lament”, and very fine it is too!

As ever his slashing National steel guitar and slide work dominates, but he switches to Telecaster on the superb “Trouble In Mind” . . . surely one of the finest blues songs of all time? The closing “Dragonfly” sees him on home-made diddly bow on this stomping song, with assistance from studio engineer, Paul Savage, ex of The Delgados, who contributes some heavy drums.

The album opens with the title cut, “Devil’s Left Hand”, a dark tale indeed, with customary slashing slide and Dave’s gravelly growl, which leads into a fine cover of Muddy Waters’ copper-bottomed classic, “Can’t Be Satisfied”, the trademark riff hitting home hard. The afore-mentioned “MacPherson’s Lament” takes the pace down, with some lovely melodic guitar work and due reverence to the great man’s words.

The late, great Johnny Cash’s “Blue Train” is another standout here, again driven by Arcari’s tough slide guitar; with another ‘doff of the cap’ to one of the most famous bluesmen of all time whom he has covered a fair bit, Robert Johnson, on his timeless, “Come On In My Kitchen”, again with plenty of revved-up slide work. “Hangman’s Blues”, a tale of the gallows pole, starts off with a retro, scratchy sound, before changing to the pristine sound of the rest of the songs . . . a nice touch.

Over the past year Dave Arcari has wowed audiences as far apart as Glastonbury Festival and Belgium’s Peer Festival, as well as touring relentlessly with more festivals in the Czech Republic and Poland, and also visiting Finland, Estonia, Germany, Ireland and the UK . . . phew! To sum up, another fine addition to his catalogue, and more power to his elbow, and his good lady, Margaret . . . t-shirts, cds, bookings, press, and a whole lot more!


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