On his new Blind Pig release pianist/vocalist Victor Wainwright proves once again why he’s a two time recipient of the Blues Music Award as “Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year” with his command of the 88’s. Whether he’s laying down energetic boogies, "Saturday Night Sunday Morning", "Two Lane Blacktop Revisited" and "Piana’s Savannah Boogie", mid-tempo soul, "If It Ain’t Got Soul", sinewy Little Feat style rockers, "Genuine Southern Hospitality" or greasy B3 driven rockers, "Reaper’s on the Prowl", he plays with a command that will have you looking at the liner notes to make sure there isn’t a second keyboardist adding to the mix. There hasn’t been this much piano in a blues release since Mitch Woods and the Rocket 88s were tearing things up a decade ago. Adding to Wainwright’s appeal are his stellar vocals that draw inspiration from his roots in the deep-south with echoes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Omar Dykes, Dr. John and even Jimmy Buffett: check out "WildRoot Farm" for a track that evokes Buffett’s laid back, hammock ready musings. As talented as Wainwright is, a look at the liner notes reveals the major role played by bassist/ producer Stephen Dees who wrote or co-wrote every one of the tunes collected here. He has crafted terrific songs that allow Wainwright to apply his talents over the broad range of material spanning the 13 tracks. In addition to the piano heavy numbers, there are acoustic, acapella, field chants, "When the Day is Done", mysterious, swampy numbers that pull out some well-timed scatting from Wainwright, "The Devil’s Bite" and the chugging title track that starts with a deep chuckle about the good times ahead at the casino before luck takes its inevitable exit. Based on the strength of this disc, Wainwright needs to clear more space on his shelf for another Pinetop Award! SMITTY
review by Mark
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