Review: Coco Montoya – Songs From The Road

Posted on: Sunday, Jul 13, 2014

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Coco Montoya – Songs From The Road

(Ruf Records: RUF 1203)

Here’s a great addition to the Ruf Records “Songs From The Road” series, although this one is a little different – with two live CDs, as opposed to the regular one and DVD – but it certainly captures the brilliant Californian guitarist, Coco Montoya, and his road band, on top form. The ex-John Mayall Bluesbreaker has been around a long time now and is certainly in the ‘premier league’ of modern blues players.

The two discs contain shows virtually a year apart, recorded at The Triple Door in Seattle, and are produced by the legendary Jim Gaines, with label boss, Thomas Ruf, acting as executive producer. This is a bit of a ‘must’ for blues guitar fans as Montoya is a sumptuous player with great tone, attack when required and subtleness at others. He is joined by his top band, who comprise: Grant Leeper (keyboards/vocals), Nathan Brown (bass) and Rena Beavers (drums/vocals).

With just 14 songs over the two discs the band get the opportunity to stretch out, with nothing less than five minutes up to a whopping 15, but it is all of top, top quality, with highlights a-plenty – kicking off with Coco Montoya’s former-employer’s tune, the late great Albert Collins, on a rousing “I Got A Mind To Travel”, that first appeared on record back in 1995; as did the glorious “Love Jail” , a Montoya tune that has certainly stood the test of time.

Coco Montoya and the band take it down for the beautiful Smokey Robinson tune, “The One Who Really Loves You”, with excellent contributions from all the band. The two shows contain also two other songs from his Ruf debut, “I Want It All Back” – the old blues of “Fannie Mae” and the rolling “Hey Senorita”. The whole band get funky on “I Won’t Beg” from the “Can’t Look Back Album”. As previously mentioned Montoya is a truly great player, and in keyboard man Grant Leeper has the perfect foil

If you are already a fan of this great player “Songs From The Road” is a very worthwhile addition to your collection; if not, a great ‘entry’ point to some fine, pure blues . . . highly recommended!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.cocomontoyaband.com

www.rufrecords.de

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