Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

REVEREND RAVEN AND THE CHAIN SMOKIN' ALTER BOYS

SHAKE YOUR BOOGIE

2011-01-04

With a voice that evokes memories of Rick Estrin of the Nightcats and some righteous blues guitar chops Reverend Raven could make a good living as a solo artist. Instead, he puts his prodigious talents to even better use in the company of a hot wired band that features wailing saxophone compliments of Big Al Groth, top notch harmonica and vocals from Madison Slim and a revolving line up of drummers, bass guitarists and keyboard players. (Drummer Bobby Lee Sellers adds vocals on a couple of tracks as well). Recorded live and raw at the Miramar Theater in Milwaukee (but without an audience) this disc features everything from straight electric boogies, "Stomping and Shouting", to jazzy groovers, "You Didn’t Even Say Goodbye", to mid-tempo scorchers, "Just Count the Days" and "Bricks in My Pillow", slow grinders, "I Can Do You Right" and Southside Chicago style blues harmonica showcases, "She’s Murder" and the title track. While the multiple vocalists and changing line up would sabotage a less experienced crew, the Chain Smokin’ Alter Boys are up to the task with each track fitting seamlessly into the mix. Standout tracks include Hound Dog Taylor’s "The Woman I Love" which gets a rocking treatment worthy of George Thorogood’s Delaware Destroyers, the rollicking instrumental, "PT’s Home Cooking", which gives various members of the band the chance to strut their stuff, and the slinky, "Mail Box Blues". Righteous blues, done right. Give the Reverend an “amen” for this one. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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