Review: Generation Blues Experience – Private Angel

Posted on: Friday, Nov 21, 2014

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Generation Blues Experience – Private Angel

(R MUSIC, INC,)

The ultimate goodtime, feelgood, family orientated cinematic story of the blues would be that a child prodigy with serious musical leanings towards the blues meets with a group pensionable aged old bluesmen that are troupers to the last, still honking out their music with as much class and skill as anyone in their prime and together they go on to astound and conquer all the prejudices of society and rise to fame.

Well, you can now chuck that idea straight out of the window for, it really has happened with the G.B.E., for 80 old Jamie Bluesboy Powell, a formidable blues shouter and rhythm guitarist who has been playing with his 70 old good friend and notable harpist Sammy Lee for a good number of years in the South Central area of Los Angeles in a converted garage (that is now a convivial juke joint) were introduced to an amazingly gifted youngster named Ray Goren and as they say the rest is history.

Two years earlier a 12 year old musical child prodigy named Ray Goren (who now takes lead vocals and plays lead and rhythm guitar) who had been previously playing piano but, he changed his interests from playing Jazz on the piano to blues guitar at the ripe old age of eight and hasn’t looked back since.

The coming together of the old and the new came about when a well wisher asked Rays father if Ray would like to meet the real deal and they subsequently met at Bells Blues Workshop (the converted garage), when Ray stepped up onto the stage to play with the band the magic that was then created led to the forming of G.B.E.

Other members of this unique ensemble are; Lester Lands; bass and rhythm guitars, Albert Trepagnier Jr; drums, Tadg Galleran and Andrew Bush; keyboards with Terry DeRouen; rhythm guitar and on horns; Bobby ‘Hurricane’ Spencer; tenor saxophone and Dan Weinstein; coronet and trombone.

There are eight numbers here, seven originals and one cover. “Private Angel”, amply demonstrates Ray’s confident and resonating vocals along with his subtle and sharply concise guitarwork that most definitely evokes memories and positive comparisons with B.B. King at his most eloquent. The exquisite horn led, highly soulful “Rainin’”, creates a delicate, gossamer grooving Malaco atmosphere. “Crazy”, is a tumbling slowburner with a growling and screaming guitar that gives Jamie’s highly knowledgeable and experienced vocals full rein to express his emotions.

The piano and guitar led shuffler “Katrina”, encourages Sammy Lee to roll and tumble his vocals while bewailing and bemoaning the forces of nature that created that terrible New Orleans catastrophe. While the swinging and rolling horns of “Little Mama”, together with the country echoing piano allows Sammy to happily growl in between the richly picked guitar passages.

The infectious and sensuous harmonica that is sweetly entwined within the powerful slowburning guitar of “Sugar Mama”, is an enticing little gem, as is the live cover of Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine”, which contains blues and Jazz inflected surging and effervescing guitar runs and passages from Ray that butterfly like fly, soar, dance and cry and wail to everyone’s delight.

Recommended!

BRIAN HARMAN

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