Review: Mike & The Mellotones feat. Enrico Crivellaro – 1+1=3

Posted on: Monday, Feb 18, 2013

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Mike & The Mellotones feat. Enrico Crivellaro – 1+1=3

(Elektrograph Records)

Here’s a welcome first release since 2006, from Dutch outfit Mike & The Mellotones, as ever led by the guitar and vocals of Mike Donkers. The band formed in 1993 and stood out on the Dutch scene with their energetic take on the Texas blues, as opposed to the mostly Chicago-influenced bands in their homeland.

On “1+1=3” Donkers is joined by the rhythm section of Erwin ‘Lefty Zennings’ van Gestel (bass, who has since left) and Lorenzo Hardijzer (drums), with the ‘icing on the cake’ being the appearance of the superb Italian guitarist, Enrico Crivellaro on three tracks, together with contributions by Djembe-groep Brock, Charly Jansen, Raoul Soentken and Monic Bakker.

Proceedings get off to a lively start with the shuffle of the title cut, “1+1=3”, with Donkers tough vocals and guitar and the driving rhythm section; the bands good friend Enrico Crivellaro makes a first appearance on the slow blues of “Just A Dream”, contributing some trademark classy guitar. The first surprise on the album comes in the form of a great bluesy cover of the John Kongos hit, “He’s Gonna Step On You Again”, with some fine slide guitar over a Bo Diddley groove . . . it works!

The rockin’ Texas shuffle of “Stand Tall!” is a standout as Donkers lays down the boogie, and it’s driven along again by the rhythm section of van Gestel and Hardijzer. The country tune “W-O-R-R-Y” is another nice diversion, with telling contributions from Charly Jansen on banjo and mandolin. It’s back to Texas for the funky “Moan And Groan”, before Donkers and Crivellaro share the guitar honours on a driving instrumental tribute to the late, great Freddie King on “Ready Freddy!” . . . very fine indeed.

“Blue Chase” has more funky overtones to it; leading into the tough “I Declare” . . . reminiscent of the classic blues of “Going Down”, with its guitar hook. The rocky “No Sympathy” sees a final vocal from Mike Donkers, with a nagging guitar riff and more top work from the ‘engine room’ behind him. This engaging collection ends with the self-explanatory “Encore Enrico!”, a beautiful jazzy shuffle showcase for Crivellaro’s tasteful guitar playing.

It’s good to have these guys back, although really they never went away!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.mikeandthemellotones.com

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