Review: Tinsley Ellis – Midnight Blue

Posted on: Saturday, Mar 22, 2014

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Tinsley Ellis  – Midnight Blue

(Heartfixer Music:  HFM 1011)

After last year’s all instrumental album “Get It!” a very emotive and extremely satisfying salute to his own particular guitar heroes, Tinsley has now released this equally emotive collection of ten numbers that feature his most welcome vocals. Admirably supporting him are, Kevin McKendree; Organs and pianos, Lynn Williams; drums and percussion and Ted Pecchio; electric and acoustic bass, together, they, as they say, ‘rock the joint’.

The music here, is in many ways a reflection of the thinking of many music lovers (men and women) in their fifties, to recognise the foretelling capacity of music and musicians of both the past and present; this is most noticeable on the opening number “If The River Keeps Rising”, an almost foreboding solemn insight that tells us that at some point in the future, if, we are not careful we will all surely be overcome. The gentle singular acoustic intro gives way to a slow doom laden industrial strength swingeing slide that is underpinned by a storming Hammond organ and crushing percussive beat while over the top Tinsley’s equally prophetically ruinous hoarse vocals soothsay with conviction.

The attacking organ and drums of “Mouth Turn Dry” are only matched by Tinsley’s belligerently anti-sociable guitar runs on the subject of possible complications with relationships. On the Ray Charles inspired, string bending slow blues “See No Harm”, Tinsley does his best to convince all and sundry that there is nothing wrong with being a ‘backdoor man’ with someone else’s wife. “Peace And Love”, features a delicious mixture of burning organ and bouncing and echoing wah-wah, on top of that, Tinsley’s warm and cushioning vocals bear a striking resemblance to B.B King as does his ringing string bending.

The gently soulful and grooving guitar work on “Surrender”, more than compliments the fluid, rolling and surging organ, while over the top Tinsley’s vocals effortlessly delicately glide out of the speakers.  The anthem building, slow loping blues of “Harder To Find”, begins with an almost demonic guitar riff that is underpinned by a rolling, surging organ that ratchets up the emotion as does the relentless pounding drums, all the while Tinsley keeps asking the question and his vibrating emotion filled guitar work builds and builds until it reaches the sky! “That’s My Story”, is a slow, shoulder shifting, strutting axe grinding mover that Z.Z.Top would be proud of!

The album finishes with a classic slowburner “Kiss Of Death”, an emotionally meandering and sometimes searching organ competes with equally sullen and drowsy pounding drums, Tinsley produces a vocal that is torn and scarred with pain while his guitar emits an equally sorrowful and racked sound.

Highly Recommended!

BRIAN HARMAN

www.tinsleyellis.com

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