Review: The Joe Moss Band – Drive Time – Live At Chans

Posted on: Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011

“Drive Time – Live At Chans”
(Hit Brothers Records – 657 575 0008-2)

For those who like a band to stretch out, this will be right up their avenue . . . as Chicago guitarist, writer and singer Joe Moss  – the older brother of fellow bluesman Nick Moss – and his band deliver “Drive Time – Live At Chans”, just eight tracks, minimum seven minutes up to a whopping 15 minutes plus – recorded at the famous Oriental eatery, Chan’s Egg Roll & Jazz, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Joe Moss is no mean singer and player, and here in the company of his top band – Greg Sefner (keyboards). Dave Wood (bass) and Dana Thompson (drums) – delivers a high-octane set of blues, with funk and rock leanings – his roaring guitar work is prominent, but in Sefner he has the perfect foil with his classy Hammond organ work, and all driven by the top rhythm section of Wood and Thompson.

The opening “Black Boots” has that ‘space age’ funk feel that a certain Jeff Beck brought to prominence years back, with some tough riffing from Moss and a fine vocal; the following “I Am Feeling You” again sees all four musicians stretch out as the pace is taken down a little on this song “about commiseration” as Joe Moss introduces it. “My Life” again rides on a funky groove, with more telling contributions from Greg Sefner.

The soulful “Lost My World” is a standout, with its lovely clipped guitar sounds, some fierce extended soloing from Joe Moss and again, Sefner’s pulsating Hammond behind him and also taking a turn in the spotlight. The true epic on the album is the 15:03 of “Need Your Love”, a mid-tempo groove, with pulsating bass work from Dave Wood and the wonderful drums of Dana Thompson featuring as the pace is taken down for Moss to give his rhythm section a well-deserved introduction.

The pretty “Maricela’s Smile” – named after and written about Joe Moss’s daughter – is a lovely ballad; the rockin’ “You Make Me So Happy” sees the band firing on all cylinders, and to these ears firmly in the same territory as the Rolling Stones “Miss You” – some particularly incendiary guitar on show here! The straightest blues on the whole album is the closing “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” . . . as the band stretch out over 12:39 on the Billy Myles classic, first cut by the late, great Freddie King in 1960, and done beautifully here, with some ‘off mic’ vocals for good measure!

For those who like their blues ‘mixed up’ this will appeal . . . certainly for fans of the likes of Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, The Allman Brothers and more . . . here delivered by a very talented player and his band, who play with no lack of power, but know how to give the music space when required.


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