BLUES BEYOND BORDERS–LIVE IN ISTANBUL
INTRO–SOLID GOLD CADILLAC–DOWN BOY DOWN–MOJO MAMBO–BOOGIE WOOGIE BAR-B-Q–I GOT A NEW CAR–WHAT CAN I DO–QUEEN BEE–CRAWFISHIN’–LONG, LEAN AND LANKY–THIRD DEGREE–ROCKET 88–IN THE NIGHT/LAMBAYA PUF DE–HOUSE OF BLUE LIGHTS
DVD EXTRAS–THE JOURNEY–EXPLORING–THE CULTURE–ADVENTURES ON THE ROAD AND ON THE BUS/THE BAND–TURKISH INDEPENDENCE DAY IZMIR–THE POZITIF CREW–SLIDESHOW
Boogie woogie piano man Mitch Woods took his band, The Rocket 88’s, to Istanbul, Turkey, in October, 2010, as a part of the Efes Blues Festival. In so doing, they played twenty-six shows in twenty cities over a five-week period. The Vizztone label was there to document the whole thing, and they have just released a CD/DVD combo entitled “Blues Beyond Borders–Live In Istanbul,” that shows how the power of the blues can bring nations and cultures together under a common theme.
Mitch makes a great ambassador to the blues, too. His booming voice and larger-than-life demeanor, as well as his “radiatin’ on the 88’s” keeps the appreciative crowd on their feet throughout. It also doesn’t hurt to have a helluva backing band, either. Saxman Amadee Castenell is a sight to behold. Cornell Williams is on bass, Adam Gabriel is on guitar, and Larry Vann mans the skins. They rock, roll, and cajole thru a baker’s dozen of a combination of West Coast swing and jump blues, Chicago blues, and New Orleans second-line stompers that are guaranteed to have you on your feet and dancin’!!
If there was a language barrier, you couldn’t tell it from the enthusiasm of the crowd. Check out Amadee’s sax solo and Adam’s guitar break on “Boogie Woogie Bar-B-Q.” The West Coast jump sound is represented by the Louis Jordan-styled “Down Boy Down,” and Mitch uses his piano skills to tell a few “car stories,” too, the leadoff “Solid Gold Cadillac,” and a cool, stop-time tale of “buyin’ new,” “I Got A New Car,” even tho it’s “900 a month with three years to pay!!” Bass man Cornell Williams gets in a raucous vocal on the slow-burn of “Third Degree,” while that N’Awlins vibe is all over “Mojo Mambo” and “Crawfishin,” which features some cool audience participation! Our favorites included the swingin’ “original rock and roll song,’ “Rocket 88,” and the set-closing tale of “fryers, broilers, and Detroit BBQ ribs,” “The House Of Blue Lights!” This one has a brilliant piano solo from Mitch to bring things to a close.
DVD choices include the full-length concert, as well as humorous asides from Mitch and the band as they ride a bus from town to town. There’s also a look at Turkish Independence Day, and it all culminates with a slideshow of candid shots taken by the fellows as they traveled across Turkey.
This set is a fine snapshot of how the blues can unite people of vastly different socioeconomic and cultural divides. And, the cuts on “Blues Beyond Borders–Live In Istanbul” are a pure, unabashed joy to listen to! Thanks for a great show, Mitch! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.