Review: Livin’ Life Not Worryin’ – Dennis Herrera Blues Band

Posted on: Monday, Jun 8, 2015


Livin’ Life Not Worryin’ – Dennis Herrera Blues Band

(Ardent Audio Productions: 35961 32132)

Here’s a most enjoyable ‘pure’ blues album from the California-based Dennis Herrera Band, with the emphasis firmly on the swinging West Coast style, with some great Texas shuffles thrown in for good measure! All songs were written by band leader Dennis Herrera, who also features on guitar and vocals.

Apart from Dennis Herrera himself,  his regular band comprises of Dennis Depoitre (harmonica), Lee Campbell (drums), Hank Van Sickle (bass), Richie Wenzel (keyboards), with additional guitar from Alan Maggini and Bill Bates. However, Herrera has been able to call on some ‘heavyweight’ friends who include Anson Funderburgh, Tommy Castro, Igor Prado and the late, great Lynwood Slim, for additional contributions.

The 12-strong song album is strong throughout, and kicks off in fine style, with Brazil’s Igor Prado helping out on the roadhouse rocking blues of “All This Fun’s For Free”, with some sparkling piano work from Rich Wenzel; the more rocky “Can’t Get Enough veers away from most of the blues stylings into a sort of Rolling Stones groove; however it’s back to the blues for the low down “Damn Uncle Sam!”, with some nice harmonica from the Paris-born Dennis Depoitre.

The title cut, “Livin’ Life Not Worryin'” is a stand out with Igor Prado’s second contribution and he lays down some fiery guitar leads as Herrera and band lay down another great shuffle. The late, and sadly missed, Lynwood Slim puts his classy vocals on the driving “Slim Baby Slim”, with the band firing on all cylinder and with more tinkling ivories from Wenzel. Texas guitar legend Anson Funderburgh  throws in his trademark sublime guitar on . . . what else but . . . “Mean Ole Texas Shuffle” – lovely stuff indeed!

Elsewhere Lynwood Slim returns on the slide-driven nod to Elmore James, “Talkin’ At My Back Door”, with guest guitar from Jeffrey Paul Ross; best of all is possibly the closing “Hooker Heater”, with the sparring guitars of Tommy Castro, Alan Maggini and Herrera himself on this driving John Lee Hooker-style boogie – the harmonica work of Depoitre outstanding again.

A new name to me, and for those who love the blues, and nothing but the blues, this will be a treat . . . a fine collection of songs, and all well played and produced by Dennis Herrera and Rich Wenzel. Highly recommended!


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