Review: The Mike Eldred Trio – Elvis Unleaded

Posted on: Saturday, May 25, 2013

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The Mike Eldred Trio – Elvis Unleaded

(Rip Cat Records)

The blues roots of Elvis Presley are well-known these days. Singer and guitarist Mike Eldred (a former member of ex-Stray Cat Lee Rocker’s band) has an excellent reputation as a blues and roots player, and let’s definitely add singer to that now, as he pays tribute to the King of Rock and Roll with wonderful vocals on 20 numbers associated with the Pelvis. Of course, Elvis was one of the main figures in the appropriation of R&B numbers by white artists, and there are songs here from Little Richard, The Coasters, Lloyd Price, Jimmy Reed, Fats Domino, and Chuck Willis, all names which will be familiar to blues lovers.

The tracks come thick and fast, from the blues-wailing version of the opener ‘Burning Love’ onwards, and he even succeeds in making ‘Bossa Nova Baby’ much more listenable! Backed by The Blasters’ rhythm section of Jerry Angel and John Bazz, with the occasional addition of Gene Taylor on piano (listen to his rolling New Orleans licks on ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’ and powerhouse boogie on ‘T-R-O-U-B-L-E’), Jerry Donato on sax and Scott Yandell trumpet, and the suitably cheesy backing vocals of The JOBS Quartet, Mike rocks out, keeping his guitar breaks short, sweet and bluesy. His sense of enjoyment is palpable, the energy level is well-up, and for the listener, this CD is great fun from start to finish – at which point I’ve just hit the button to start it up again!

NORMAN DARWEN

www.ripcatrecords

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