Review: .44 Pistol – Served Raw

Posted on: Wednesday, Apr 20, 2011

“Served Raw”
(Footstomping Records #1001)

Here’s a lively offering of down-home kick-ass raw blues from Stafford-based trio, .44 Pistol – comprising of Pete Wearn (vocals, slide guitar and harmonica), Ash Jones (lead & rhythm guitar) and Dunc Smith (drums and percussion) – it’s very much a ‘do-it-yourself’ album which was recorded in Wearn’s dining room and the function room of a local pub, but has a charm and appeal probably due to that . . . tons of energy with all the playing live, and just a few vocal overdubs.

The band mix a collection of old Delta blues covers and do them their own way, with a sprinkling of original tunes – they are bass-less, with two guitars driving the songs, together with the drums of Dunc Smith, although proceedings start with a brace of Pete Wearn originals . . . the old-time ‘crackly’ harmonica instrumental “Drop The Needle”, leading into the driving “Salvation”, with Wearn’s slide guitar and ‘gin-soaked’ vocal setting the template for what follows.

“Ol’ Time Country Blues” has a deceptively acoustic intro before the band thunder in, with Pete Wearn displaying his harmonica skills here; the traditional “Good Morning Blues” takes the pace down a little, before the stomping lo-fi “Could Say The Same”, co-penned by Wearn and Sandy Mathers. “Call My Name” keeps the tempo fired up, another ‘foot to the boards’ blues, driven along by the fine drum work of Dunc Smith.

The legendary Hound Dog Taylor’s “Send You Back To Georgia” is a standout, with more fine harmonica from Pete Wearn and a rocking boogie from the guys, with a great ‘dirty’ guitar sound from him and Ash Jones. Elsewhere “Keep Rockin'” does exactly that, with more slide on a rousing “Riverside Blues” . . . the album ending (well, nearly) with a reworking of “Mystery Train”, called “Train I Ride” here, an energetic, raw track like most, and thoroughly enjoyable. Stick about at the end of this for a hidden, acoustic closer!

This is the band’s first full-length release and a most noble effort . . . well done guys . . . and I would suggest the live experience could be well worth catching!


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