Electric Blues
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  Joe Richardson Express
Way Beyond the Blues
CFB Records - 2001
Visit the official Joe Richardson Express website
AMG Artist Bio/Discography/CD Reviews
Review Published Aug 1, 2001

Discography / Soundclips
Track Listing
  1. Medicine Man
  2. Come Home Baby
  3. Dead Man's Money
  4. Greyhound Bus
  5. Damn That Guitar
  6. Kill Me Quickly
  7. I've Seen the Devil
  8. Please Don't Love Me Anymore
  9. Showed My Soul to You
  10. Lil' Mambo
  11. Goin' On
EB Rating - 4.5+

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  • Joe Richardson
    guitar/vocals/harp
  • Kevin Phelan
    bass
  • Mike Taylor
    drums
    In the past 3+ years I have operated Electric Blues, I have heard a good many excellent blues artists. There are an incredible number of extremely talented blues and blues-rock guitar players fronting blues bands, both in the US and abroad. However, the ranks are reduced quite a bit when considering guitar players who are also excellent vocalists. Throw in songwriting and the list gets even smaller. And when you also add the innate quality of a truly distinctive style/sound, the number is reduced to but a few.
    Joe Richardson exhibits all of these qualities. Excellent guitar, deep, earthy vocals, and interesting 'life's stories' songwriting. The distinctive piece of the formula results from a contradiction of sorts in his vocal, guitar, and songwriting styles, all of which are basic and straightforward, yet somehow at the same time commanding and powerful. Considering my reputation for favoring heavy handed blues-rock guitar, many regular readers of my reviews may be surprised to find me writing these words. Joe is by no means a flashy or self-indulgent player. But no doubt about it, he plays a mean brand of blues. While not flashy, Joe's guitar work is wicked, passionate and moving, regardless of whether he's fretting the notes or working with a slide. Oh yeah, and Joe even throws in a little harp now and again for good measure.
    The opening track, "Medicine Man", begins with Joe speaking in a heavy, deep, soulful voice, very reminiscent of a well-known soul singer who's name eludes me at the moment. This threw me off the track for a moment. Then, the speaking gives way to a rhythmic beat and chanting that is very clearly a taste of American Indian war dance music. Within the first few seconds of the first track, I was wondering what musical path this disc was going to take. The heavy rhythm continued, but once into the body of the song joe's vocals pulled things into more familiar territory, and I was motivated to listen further. The beginning of the second song was much more to my liking, and by the time the lead break of "Come Home Baby" was over, I was clearly a Joe Richardson Express fan.
    Way Beyond the Blues contains 11 original songs, 8 of which are gritty electric blues. Evenly spaced among those 8 electrified songs are 3 solo and/or acoustic songs. There are several standouts on this disc, including Lil' Mambo", "Come Home Baby", "Greyhound Bus", "Kill Me Quickly", "Damn That Guitar", and "Please Don't Love Me Anymore".
    I see this CD appealing to a very wide range of blues fans. Blues guitar freaks will appreciate his passionate playing, while at the same time his guitar is not of the over-the-top style that sends more traditional fans running for the hills. The earthy vocals and strong songwriting should also appeal to many. There's really not a segment of the blues contingent I would hesitate recommending this disc to. Due to the large amount of music I receive and purchase, I rarely listen to CDs for very long before I have to move on. "Way Beyond the Blues" has remained in my player longer than many.

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