Review: Michael Falzarano – I Got Blues For Ya

Posted on: Saturday, Jul 25, 2015


Michael Falzarano – I Got Blues For Ya

(Hypnotation Records/Woodstock Records: WR0049)

New York based Michael is a man who can trace his playing days all the way back to the early seventies, when he was an integral member of such bands as; Hot Tuna, The New Riders of The Purple Sage and his New York City based rock’n’roll band The Memphis Pilgrims; more recently he has collaborated with a loose collection of vocalists and musicians who have become The Extended Family who back him here on this, his new album of ten original compositions and two covers.

On “The Night King Curtis Died”, a solemn feel emerges from the speakers with a slowburning, dirty screeching slide from Kane Daily, the wailing guitar is equally matched by Michaels rasping and barbed voice, the deliberating drumwork from Ray Grappone almost suggests a funeral dirge. The title number is a pounding belter which races along with guitar and percussion entwined fighting for control, while over the top Michael gravelly imparts his message with urging gusto. “Snake Box Boogie”, is most definitely an infectious toe-tapping, piano pounder in the  irresistible building style of John Lee Hooker with Professor Louie on piano and Hammond organ duties, the clackety-clack percussion chugs along like a demented train that is more than late.

The late Vassar Clements adds a wonderful down-home feel, with almost magical violin on the back porch roller that is “Big Fish”, whilst underneath the sweet slide, courtesy of Kerry Kearney is simply divine. A live rendition of The Reverend Gary Davis sombre “Death Don’t Have No Mercy”, is a fine and chilling reminder that apart from taxes there is nothing else so final and complete; the combination of Barry Mitterhoff on mandolin and Jason Crosby, violin, gives this slow walking acoustic blues due depth and dignity.

“Crossroads Avenue”, is a slow purring tale of darkness, demons and the Devil all meeting to do the deal of a lifetime, with rolling piano dragging percussion and jagged bubbling harmonica all underpinned with a medicine show mandolin, sanctified wailing  and worried soulful backing vocals. “The Devil’s Gone Fishin’”, mines a melancholic wailing Chicago club fuelled guitar seam, with suitably sympathetic piano and drums underpinning it all.



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