Blues Bureau International 2013
Blues going for the bruise, gloom gets highlighted and looked into – in both right and wrong ways.
A master guitarist, Stoney Curtis hangs in the habitat beloved of Pat Travers and Rick Derringer, on the heavy rock and pop frontier, where infectious tunes are propped with blues essentials. His group’s fifth studio work is no different, although this time there’s a portentous limp from the off, as “Pure Greed” spreads its irresistible rifferama for much longer than it takes to get one hooked – quite true to its title – while the title track pitches black desperation into the core of it all. Yet if the organ-oiled “Deja Vu” delves deep into tradition as defined by “The Thrill Is Gone” or “As The Years Go Passing By” and is balanced with “Ice Cold Beer” and “You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About” where perky rhythm-and-blues cooks joie de vivre, the acidic sludge of “Life In Odd Times” falls into the SABBATH-patented tar pit but briefly flaunts the “Love Story” quote.
Sure, bemoaning the ills of the world doesn’t quite cut it as latching onto the affair of the heart. Thus, for all their vibrancy, “Hard Livin'” where the guitar does more talking than the voice, and “Grifter” burn rather dim, if hot in a solo department, although not as bitter-sweetly slow as closer “In The Shadows” – and not incendiary as does “Drivin’ All Night” with its funky panache and four-to-the-floor beat. Later on, “7 Wonders Of My World” takes its pop nous to the rockin’ floor, its piano-sprinkled chug steaming from one channel to another, and you begin to suspect that Stoney Curtis may easily turn “halo” into “hello” when he chooses to. To confirm that, though, repeated, rewarding spins are recommended.