Review: D’Mar and Gill – Real Good Friend

Posted on: Saturday, Nov 12, 2011

“Real Good Friend”

Here’s a nice little offering from two seasoned musicians, from differing backgrounds, drawn together to produce a stripped-down, raw, but varied blues album, “Real Good Friend”. The players in question are guitarist, singer and songwriter Chris Gill, former leader of The Sole Shakers, and drummer Derrick “D’Mar” Martin, who has a 15 year stint with Little Richard to his name and a host of session credits.

Nine originals are to be found here, and just one cover . . . a radical reworking of the chestnut “My Babe” . . . delivered as a funky grooving rumba, with Gill’s vocal answered by  Martin’s backing vocal. To add to the authenticity and earthiness all the tracks were cut live in the studio. The title cut, “Real Good Friend”, is a stand out . . . a slow slide-driven blues, the ‘real good friend’ in question being Chris Gill’s guitar. The energetic and hard-driving shuffle “Maybe Baby” slips through the gears; with some fun on the double-entendre laden “Crawfish Boogie . . . with some kazoo and a nice finger-picked guitar solo.

The duo get jazzy on the sweet and laid-back “Harmony Street”, with Gill’s delicate chording and some whistling and Martin’s smooth playing on his hybrid kit. “Two More Days” takes the pace up again as the duo boogie along with more fine playing and nice, flowing vocal. The minor key blues of “Tore Down” nods in the direction of blues giant Skip James . . . a stark and chilling song, and another highlight here.

“Mississippi Honey” is a lovely ballad, beautifully sung with some nice picked and amplified guitar from Gill’s National Tricone, and glides along in fine style; the closing “International Blues Stomp” is a rousing instrumental inspired by the International Blues Challenge in which the duo were semi-finalists, and is driven by more fine slide by Chris Gill and Martin’s drum work, which has an African feel on many tracks including here, with a fine solo.


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