Review: Andres Roots Roundabout – Leigh’s Spider Jam

Posted on: Saturday, Jan 7, 2012

(with special guest L.R. Phoenix)
“Leigh’s Spider Jam”
(Roots Art: RAR1102)

Here’s another welcome addition to the catalogue of prolific Estonian bluesman Andres Roots, the former Bullfrog Brown writer and guitarist is here in the company of a bunch of friends, mainly from his home country, on nine of his own compositions . . . . a collection of both instrumental and vocal tunes, ‘bookended’ by two live numbers, with the studio numbers, as ever, recorded at The White Room in Tartu.

Special guest here is the British-born, Finnish-based Leighton Phoenix – aka L.R. Phoenix – who has recordings out himself, and he handles all the vocals impressively on the album, firstly on the swaggering, Stonesy rocker “Mean Old Town No. 2”, driven by the guitars of Andres Roots and Martin Eessalu and fine piano work from Ahti Bachblum, and Raul Terep on drums. Preceding this, and the opening track, is the gently rolling instrumental “Folk Club Blues”, which apart from Roots and Eessalu on guitars, features the very sweet and lovely toned harmonica of Indrek Tiisel.

The (almost) title cut of “Spider Jam” is a jazzy, swinging instrumental . . . with Ahti Backblum laying down some tasteful Hammond B3 organ, with Roots on slide guitar and Terep on drums . . . L.R. Phoenix returns to sing the folky psychedelic blues of “Comin’ Home”, with both acoustic and electric guitar from Andres Roots and some lovely strings courtesy of Asko-Rome Altsoo and Hanno Maadra.

The instrumental “Roundabout” again features the compelling harmonica of Indrek Tiisel . . . it’s another nice, rolling blues dominated by Roots slide work and the backbeat of Raul Terep’s drums. The next vocal track, “Lightnin’ On Horizon”, sees a guest spot from Bert Deivert on mandolin, with Andres Roots on Dobro and Martin Eessalu on electric guitar, it’s another appealing steady-rolling country blues . . . beautifully recorded and played by all concerned.

The lovely “Horse Feathers” is a duel between Roots Dobro and Eessalu’s banjo and fairly gallops along. The last vocal track is the fine “Concrete Factory Blues”, a low down Chicago-style blues which rides on a terrific electric slide riff from Roots and growling vocal from L.R. Phoenix, and is a definite highlight here. The two afore-mentioned guitarists and Tiisel’s harmonica close this recommended release with the great “Legacy Blues”, another
instrumental highlighting what fine musicians we now have wherever the blues is played . . . more top class ‘Blues from the Baltic’!


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