Review: Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado – Too Many Roads

Posted on: Monday, Jun 2, 2014

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Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado – Too Many Roads

(Ruf Records: Ruf 1200)

This Danish singer/ guitarist/ songwriter/ bandleader impressed many in our region when he made his British debut appearance at the Burnley Blues Festival in 2008, and this CD is a timely reminder of how good he can be. The songwriter element just mentioned is pretty important; Thorbjørn is an excellent guitarist in a variety of blues styles, and his vocals are excellent, and although this is undoubtedly a modern blues album, he tends to avoid re-treading 12 bar numbers – though when he does so, as on ‘Drowning’ he uses a horn arrangement that sounds as if it has been borrowed from a vintage Jamaican ska record.

Never fear though, the opener ‘If You Wanna Leave’ is an excellent, pretty raw sounding shuffle flavoured with fine horns and backing vocalists, the title track is a tough slab of blues-rock, though avoiding any excesses, ‘High Rolling’ sounds a little like a Rolling Stones album track, ‘Rich Man’ has a strong New Orleans flavour and the closing ‘Play On’ is a straight-up Little Richard tinged piano-led rocker.

Contrasting with these are ‘Paradise which is an acoustic based blues, and ‘Long Forgotten Track’ is an atmospheric number close to Americana; ‘Through The Tears’ sounds like a southern soul ballad performance and the heavy riff that powers along the pulsing ‘Backseat Driver’ reminds me Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke On The Water’ though the two tracks are certainly not similar otherwise!

So, a carefully crafted album – hopefully it will bring Thorbjørn to the forefront of the European blues scene again, on this evidence he certainly deserves it.

VICTOR IAN LEYLAND

www.facebook.com/ThorbjornRisagerBand

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