Review: Ron Cartel – Don’t Make The Monkey Drunk

Posted on: Monday, May 26, 2014

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Ron Cartel – Don’t Make The Monkey Drunk

(Music Avenue/ Blues Boulevard: 250358)

Singer Ron Cartel was born and raised by Italian parents in Harlem so it may not be that big a surprise that he is a fine blues performer. He lived in Switzerland for 11 years and has worked with the likes of Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Tower Of Power, legendary drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, experimental jazz guitarist Sonny Sharrock and Doctor John.

That last name is probably the inspiration behind the spooky-sounding opener, leading into a strong programme of contemporary blues – lend an ear to his rendition of George Jackson’s classic and not yet overused ‘Last Two Dollars’, the Magic Sam inflected original ‘My World’, or the slightly jazz tinged slow blues ‘I Hurt Everybody’. The title track has a skipping country-pop feel, but Ron can also tackle Blind Willie Johnson’s ‘God Moves On The Water’ very convincingly, whilst ‘Last Shirt’ has a church wrecking gospel approach.

Two fine live bonus tracks are included – ‘Walking The Dog’ and Muddy Waters’ ‘She’s Nineteen Years Old’. Ron has drafted in a lot of musicians to ensure each track gets the right feel and individual attention – names I recognised include the aforementioned Pretty Purdie, former Robert Cray bass player Richard Cousins, New York’s Danny Dreher, and Tom “Bones” Malone. A lot of care has gone into this release and it certainly repays that effort.

NORMAN DARWEN

www.blues-boulevard.net

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