This is Ellis' 9th CD for Alligator Records, a very prestigious imprint in the blues world. With Speak No Evil, the guy's showing the world he's in no mood to slow down and take things easy, starting off with the Hendrixian Sunlight of Love, fiery from the git-go. Likewise, should you imagine Tinsley's mellowing out on that blues shout of his, think again, then take a gander at his mug on the last page of the liner: don't mess with this cat.
Operating out of a favored trio base, with sessioneers on the keys, Ellis takes command of a disc that's surprisingly rock flavored. He's never been shy of the idiom, but Takes What It Takes features a bunch of Mahogany Rush / UFO leads taking off for the skies. At 6:00, and there are always extended cuts on any of his releases, he pushes the borders out for a bit of serious jamming several times over, indulging pure musicianship expanding the foundation structure. The Other Side picks right up where that leaves off, a Bachman-Turner-esque cut, heavy and driving, with even the vocals shading into Randy's territory.
This is a dense disc for just three guys pounding away. The engineering maintains a hot, greasy, dark atmosphere, even during the laybacks and soft spots. Loving for Today, the other long track, invokes a balladic atmosphere, but mists cling to the periphery and the time is always late into the night. Then comes the solo, and we're back into a sweaty swamp of lament and pain. No, Tinsley Ellis isn't about to make concessions to the passage of time; instead, he just digs in deeper, grabs the fretboard more tightly, and knocks the ball out of the park.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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