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FAME Review: Kilborn Alley Blues Band - Better Off Now!
Kilborn Alley Blues Band - Better Off Now!

Better Off Now!

Kilborn Alley Blues Band

Blue Bella Records - BBCD1015

Available from in mid-March 2010 from Blue Bella Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Ahhhhhhh…Chicago blues! It's the style that made the all-time best player and best dirty white blues band (Peter Green & the early Fleetwod Mac) the legend both still are and has spawned some of the most righteous, nastiest, burningest blues around, this band no exception. These guys not only reek righteously of the old school, but the recording job keeps all the smoke, sweat, cheap beer, and whiskey sidecar shots intact. All ya hafta do to turn your parlor into a prime dive is slap this disc on and revel.

Andrew Duncanson has some Bob Hite (Canned Heat) and Buddy Miles in his voice, and the band oft employs two guitars, not a commonplace in a blues ensemble. Then there's plenty of Joe Asselin's mighty harmonica, a house-traveling wail that brings the windy city's gales to your doorstep. Also pick up on the old Electric Flag vibe here, Mike Bloomfield's 60s / 70s gig alongside his aforementioned buddy Buddy, which naturally indicates a plenitude of white and black soul (Better Off Now, etc.) though, frankly, these cats ace that venerable old combo.

Then catch the blues fusion groove going in Train to Memphis and see where the gents really come into their own in a major way. Not a cut on this disc languishes, everything fired up and shakin'. Of the quartet of excellent releases the Blue Bella label issued this month, this is the one that really lit my groove to the bone, infectious as all get out. These guys have a driving rhythm that every band sweats to achieve but so few do.

And may I say that I hold tremendous admiration for bands that include ALL their members in the writing attributions? It's too often that only one or two cop the cred and leave the rest out in the cold. Not these guys, 'n hats off to 'em for it. There's a lot to be said about democracy in art. It shows unique heart.

Track List:

  • Nothin' Left to Stimulate (Asselin / Breen / Ducanson / O'Hara / Stimmel)
  • Foolsville (Asselin / Breen / Ducanson / O'Hara / Stimmel)
  • Better Off Now (Asselin / Breen / Ducanson / O'Hara / Stimmel)
  • Train to Memphis (Asselin / Breen / Ducanson / O'Hara / Stimmel)
  • Watch It (Nick Moss)
  • Bubbleguts (Asselin / Breen / Ducanson / O'Hara / Stimmel)
  • Tonight (Asselin / Breen / Ducanson / O'Hara / Stimmel)
  • You Can Have the Tail (Asselin / Breen / Ducanson / O'Hara / Stimmel / DeCerbo)
  • Keep Me Hangin' (Asselin / Breen / Ducanson / O'Hara / Stimmel / DeCerbo)
  • Whoa Yeah Woman (Asselin / Breen / Ducanson / O'Hara / Stimmel / DeCerbo)
  • Tough Times (John Brim)
All songs written by Asselin, Breen, Ducanson, O'Hara, & Stimmel.

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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