Tinsley Ellis review…March 25, 2013…






Blues guitar master Tinsley Ellis has a lengthy discography that goes back to 1983 and his early days with harpman Chicago Bob Nelson and the Heartfixers.  He’s recorded for Alligator, Capricorn, and Telarc, and, for the first time in thirty years, he has released an all-instrumental album.  This one is entitled “Get It!,” and finds Tinsley in fine “voice” thru the use of various axes, and he also plays bass on five cuts.  Rounding out the ensemble, we also have Lynn Williams on percussion, Ted Pecchio on bass (on the other five cuts), and the unparalleled Kevin McKendree on keys.

Tinsley grew up in southern Florida and listened to the British Invasion bands, as well as B. B., Freddy, and Albert King.  Throughout these eight originals and two tantalizing covers on this set, Tinsley expounds on his love for the blues and his uncanny ability to bring the sounds of many of his guitar heroes to life thru his own compositions.

An excellent case in point is the leadoff  “Front Street Freeze.”  Along with some cool backing by Kevin on a vintage Leslie, Tinsley uses a Strat to pay a sweet tribute to Albert Collins.  The ethereal, other-worldly “Milky Way” uses a bit of twang from Duane Eddy, with more great Leslie from Kevin, while Kevin bangs away on an acoustic piano over Tinsley’s wah-wah leads on “Fuzzbuster.”  The title cut swings down thru the Texas roadhouses by way of SRV, while the set closes with a Latin tinge, Tinsley’s tribute to the Catalonia region of Spain.  It is entitled “Catalunya,” and has a sweet, Santana-ish vibe.

We had two favorites, too.  “Anthem For A Fallen Hero” is perhaps the set’s most powerful piece, done on a Les Paul as an homage to another of his heroes, the late Roy Buchanan.  And, on a considerably lighter note, is “Berry Tossin,” which brings the feel of Chuck Berry’s classic riffs over a bluesy backbeat, and features Kevin doing his best Johnnie Johnson/Lafayette Leake impression!

As one can easily ascertain from listening to Tinsley Ellis on “Get It!,” his versatility is boundless.  And, luckily for us blues fans, he has put his heart, body, and soul into these ten instrumentals, to create a magical set, indeed!   Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.




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