The Mike Eldred Trio review 02-02-2013…

THE MIKE ELDRED TRIO

61 AND 49

RIP CAT RECORDS  RIC 1113

DON’T GO DOWN THERE–JAKE’S BOOGIE–LOUISE–MR. NEWMAN–SHE’S A ROCKET–RUBY’S BLUES–FOR A GIRL–THIS OLD TRAIN–JIMMY JIMMY–MS GAYLE’S CHICKEN HOUSE–I AIN’T COMIN’ BACK–LOOKIE HERE–61 AND 49

 

Immensely talented guitarist, singer, and songwriter Mike Eldred was once a member of ex-Stray Cat Lee Rocker’s ensemble, so he knows a little bit about rockin’ rhythm and blues.  And, along with John Bazz on bass, Jerry Angel on drums, and a host of special guests, this trio has laid down “61 And 49,” an album originally released on another label in 2011, and now reissued by Scott Abeyta and the good folks over at Rip Cat Records.  It is thirteen original tracks that serve as a microcosm of the flourishing and varied metro Los Angeles blues scene.  There’s straight-ahead blues, West Coast jump, and even some roots-rock cuts that are reminiscent of the Byrds or Tom Petty.

 

Mike kicks off the set with the haunting a capella “Don’t Go Down There,” joined mid-song by the Emmanuel Church Gospel Choir.  Their message is clear–this song is about that mythical Crossroads, where, if you go, “there’s a man waitin’ to take your soul.”  Kid Ramos adds guitar to the swing of “Louise,” while Scotty Moore (yeah, THAT Scotty Moore!) jazzes up that familiar riff of Ms. Gayle’s Chicken House.”

 

On the roots-rockin’ side, “Mister Newman” and “For A Girl” are great examples of how Mike uses the blues as the base for songs that are not pure “three chords and a cloud of dust.”  And, Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos adds guitar to the harmony-heavy “This Old Train,” which could’ve easily been on any of The Traveling Wilburys sets.

 

We had three favorites, too.  Speaking of three chords, Ike Turner reprises his days at Sun Records with Jackie Brenston as he bangs away on the 88’s on the absolutely-smokin’ Fifties-inspired “Jimmy Jimmy” and “She’s A Rocket.”  And, the set closes as it began, with another brooding, slide-drenched Delta blues, the hellhound-on-my-trail tribute to Robert Johnson that serves as the album’s title cut.

 

Mike Eldred has shown his vast versatility on these thirteen cuts.  He can swing low into the Delta, then cut back north to Memphis, and westward into the roadhouse boogie of Stevie Ray.  Then, he tops it all off with roots-rock that would fit on any Americana playlist.  “61 And 49” is an excellent, diverse set, indeed!   Until next time….Sheryl and Don crow.

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