Paul Reddick was weaned on the blues, not even hearing rock & roll until his teens, and that earlier influence shows in an unusual showcase of dirty white blues, my favorite kind. The lead cut, I'm a Criminal, is surprisingly Mountainish, with Reddick presenting a less blustery Leslie West vocal presence, guitarist Kyle Ferguson pealing out some goddam fine lines combining West with Paul Kossoff (Free). The cut's well chosen as the opener, setting the period tone in the 70s, an atmosphere mostly upheld save for some bizarre jazzily timbred cuts treating the occasional horn section in an almost unsettlingly weird way.
Probably the sharp difference in tone and set there are attributable to the fact that this CD's an anthology of Reddick's history, with the noted cuts issuing from side projects with The Rhythm and Truth Band. Save for a few covers of Johnny Cash, Son House, and Walter Jacobs, every cut but one was co-written by Reddick, so there's also a certain euphonious present through it all.
Reddick also plays harmonica, not with any unduly surprising facility but solidly, comfortingly, as the blues can't go for long without the traditional harp. 'Ere long, his voice takes on Captain Beefheart similarities, especially on songs like Template Blues, a track also about the most impressive exposition of his harp playing. No matter what, though, there's a clear and distinct broadband paintswath of the 70s impregnating Revue, bringing back the glory days when Savoy Brown, Fleetwod Mac, Keef Hartley, Siegal Schwall, the Groundhogs (on Smokehouse, the singing's a dead ringer for T.S. McPhee), and the Bluesbreakers held sway, displaying an inventive boldness almost completely missing from the form in the last couple decades—except, that is, for such acts as The Hoax, Homewreckers, Jim Suhler & Monkeybeat, and others.
Acoustic bayou impressions aren't left out, and Villanelle is a lazy mosquito-drone of upriver lament and muggy days. Train of Love comes to us equally unamped, kinda like a ginhouse boogie with cow-catcher guitar, a country-ish washboard number. Queens Hotel is hands-down the oddest number in the set, a cut with the Rhythm and Truth gents, a winesoaked musical bed with mutant Mexicali essences set to a run towards a straight frontline. Trouble Again resumes the raucous mindset, leading back into a run of cuts ending in the instrumental The Sidemen Boogie, only 2:33 but burning every second of the way, kinda like a liquored-up gumbo version of Buck's Boogie (Blue Oyster Cult). By the time the disc winds down, you know Paul Reddick ain't yer average bluesman, joining such righteous non-mainstreamers as the Nighthawks, Juke Joint Jumpers, Walter Trout, or maybe even the James Montgomery Band…not bad character references for the resumé.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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