Part I - Drippin Blues
EB Rating - 4.5
- Message To Collins
- Drippin Blues
- Lucky 13
- Stretchneck Lill
- Jaybird Stomp
- El Diablo's Blues
- Upside The Head
- Blacktop Alley
- 47 Beers
Part II - Savage Resurrection
- Drivin' Force
- Savage Resurrection (For Jimi)
- Blues For the Eternal Angels
- Electric Redemption
- Jay Gordon
- Russ Green
- Rich Lambert
- Butch Azevedo
Texas enjoys a reputation for putting out more top notch contemporary blues and blues-rock guitar players
than any other state in the US, and considering the rich history of players coming out of that state, few can
argue. One state that may have a legitimate contention for equal rights however is
California. While many of the top players from the West Coast may not be as well known, there are quite
a number of them non the less. Jay Gordon is among those making a strong
case for the capabilities of guitar players from California.
As electric blues has migrated into the contemporary music scene, it's been broken down
into several sub-categories, including Chicago blues, Texas blues, blues-rock, and what I had considered to
be the last frontier and farthest reaching boundries of the blues, Heavy-blues. But Jay's style necessitates
a new classification, at least one I haven't considered before. Shred-blues is the best description I can come
up with that aptly describes Jay's style of play. Even though I'm a major league fan of seriously guitar oriented
blues, I recognize that as the boundries are move outward there's the risk that emphisis on speed
and technique will undue the passion. However, Jay plays with fiery passion that matches the power and ferocity
of his style.
Jay's guitar playing talents
are amazing to say the least. His picking attack is fast and furious, and he's also very capable on slide guitar.
His axe has a piercingly crisp, heavily over-driven tone with tons of sustain and bite. Vocals are on the hard side
and a bit harsh at times, but for the most part they're solid and a good match for his style of blues. The band is a
minimal three piece arrangement of guitar, bass & drums.
Divided into two parts, part one opens with the powerful instrumental "Message to Collins",
and the listener learns right up front what Jay Gordon style blues is all about. The second song, "Drippin Blues",
features Jay doing some serious cuttin' on slide guitar and by the end of that song most serious guitar fans should
be hooked. After a somewhat more rock oriented "Lucky 13" comes the slow (slow?) blues song, "Stretchneck Lill", a
tribute to the tool of his trade. If you hadn't yet acquired a good feel for what is meant by "Shred-guitar",
you will be well educated after experiencing this song.
The torrid pace is maintained throughout the first half of the disc. Settings are turned down
a tick or two for "Blacktop Alley", which leads into an honest to gosh acoustic mini-set including "Farmdog"
and "Tears", both of which feature some nice acoustic slide work. Then, all the dials are reset to 12 as Part II
begins. Here Jay really pushes the limits, exceeding even my liberal definition of blues and gets more into a
heavy-metal mode. This is especially true in "Savage Resurrection", a tribute meant for
Jimi Hendrix, but which has a decidedly Frank Marino feel to it. In fact,
70's fans of early Marino will relate quite well to all of Part II.
This disc is heavy-duty, highly animated, guitar-driven blues and heavy rock that will
send most traditional blues fans running for cover. Only those interested in seeing just how far the blues
can be stretched need dwell here. Or, if you're a cocky guitar player looking for some challenging new chops,
this disc should keep you busy for quite a while, if not totally frustrate.