Planetary Blues Band review…October 4, 2013…

PLANETARY BLUES BAND

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE SOUTH LOOP

SELF-PRODUCED

SEE THAT MY GRAVE IS KEPT CLEAN–THE THORNS WILL SHOW YOU–THIS PRECIOUS EXISTENCE–THAT’S NO WAY TO GET ALONG–SACRED AND PROFANE BLUES–BLUES RESURRECTION–CRAZY CRYIN’ BLUES–IN A BLUE STUDY–WHEN I SAY I LOVE YOU–THE SHILLELAGH

The Planetary Blues Band are a family blues band based in Valparaiso, IN.  They are Martin Schaefer-Murray on guitar and vocals, Michael Schaefer-Murray on guitar and vocals, Bobby Schaefer-Murray on bass, and longtime friend Nick Evans on drums.  For a group of young fellows, they bring a surprisingly strong set of blues-rock to the table with their release of “Once Upon A Time In The South Loop.”  The seven originals and three covers   show their versatility and the fact that they have taken care of their blues homework, as the covers have that authentic spirit, and the originals evoke the memories of the masters from whom they learned the blues.

Both “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” and “That’s No Way To Get Along” are steeped in the Delta traditions, of course, but the fellows, whether intentionally or not, add a touch of gospel fervor from which the core of this music sprang.  In fact, they tackle that eternal struggle of good vs. evil in the twin-guitar attack of “Sacred And Profane Blues,” with the guitars firing faster as the song progresses.   Memphis Minnie’s “Crazy Cryin’ Blues” is presented here as a driving rocker, with guitar lines that might remind listeners of early Allman Brothers, while “In A Blue Study” has an upbeat, Pigpen-era Grateful Dead vibe within the vocals and instrumentation.  The set closes with a blistering instrumental, “The Shillelagh,” which recalls the glory days of Chess Records.

We had two favorites, too.  The fellows get down and dirty on the sweaty, scorching slow-drag of “Blues Resurrection,” and tackle the age-old question of “why can’t we all just get along” in “This Precious Existence,” done in an odd 6/8 time signature.  The twin leads, tho, are reminiscent of Clapton and Duane Allman from the Derek and the Dominoes era.

The Planetary Blues Band are listed as a rock band on their website, but they sure have one foot planted firmly in the blues genre’.  “Once Upon A Time In The South Loop,”  is at once refreshing, viable, and exciting from a hugely-talented group of players!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow

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