Here's a blues item you don't chance across every day: a completely instrumental release. Way back when, this wasn't common but a hell of a lot more likely to crop up then than now. Thus, we had all those righteous Harvey Mandel, Dennis Coffey, Walt Barr, and other LPs. In Medford & Main, Stubbs resurrects the forgotten tradition, reminding the listener why the past is every bit as alive as the present.
Blending Mandel and Coffey with Cropper, Upchurch, and a good deal of old school funk (and I mean pre-Mother's Finest and pre-Tower of Power, all the way back to the beginnings of Motown), this young guy wields an impressive array of electric axes, all chosen for particular tones and inflections delivering a soupcon of gourmet yesteryear delights. If you've been listening to Robillard, Beaudoin, and others, you'll detect some of the same ingredients through those catalogues as well. More than a few players and connoisseurs favor this style but it isn't often committed to disc.
Liner writer Dennis Brennan makes a cogent comparison of Stubbs to Lonnie Mack, a player who spilled over with soul and made quite a name for himself. He's right, a good deal is mindful of that giant, as well as the not so well known Wayne Cochran, Shuggie Otis, and a small host of rock and rock-blues bands who reveled in the ways and means of the mode. Double N is a cut I particularly recommend, where Stubbs nails a long-dead tone through an old Telecaster, a Silvertone, and a vintage amp. I haven't heard that sound since catching Elliott Randall (Randall's Island) at the Whiskey in the 70s.
Likewise, the follower, Tube Top Temptation, shows where Hendrix got some of his change-ups: via the innovative jazz and cross-genre fretbenders that came just before him. Thus, grab this CD if you want a really unique trip down memory lane replete with sassy-ass horns, lurching bass, Elvis drums, and all the paraphernalia that makes the style so damned rib tickling ('cause there's a good deal of sly musical humor if you listen closely) and satisfying. You're only rarely ever going to have the opportunity to hear this kind of music.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles