Mick Kolassa review…August 6, 2015…

MICK KOLASSA

GHOSTS OF THE RIVERSIDE HOTEL

SWINGSUIT RECORDS  MMK 022015

RAMBLIN MAN–GRAPES AND GREENS–ONE MEAT BALL–I ALWAYS MEANT TO LOVE YOU–TROUBLE–NOTHIN LEFT TO LOSE (ROBIN’S BLUES)–IF I AIN’T FISHIN–MAMA TOLD ME NOT TO COME–WHISKEY WOMAN–WALKIN (DEAD) BLUES–MAMA’S GOT A MOJO–DELTA TOWN

For Mick Kolassa’s latest album, “Ghosts Of The Riverside Hotel,” he blends his own original songs with some cleverly-done covers that all end up being quite an entertaining set of blues.  Along with Mick, who is on vocals and guitars, there is Jeff Jensen on lead guitar, Bill Ruffino on bass, Robinson Bridgeforth on drums, and Chris Stephenson on organ.  And, there is a veritable “Memphis Who’s Who” as guests, including Annika Chambers, Reba Russell, Victor Wainwright, Eric Hughes, and Brandon Santini.  Why, there’s even an appearance by that ole “Mensa Man,” Watermelon Slim.

Mick gets right down to bidness with a high lonesome vocal delivery on Luke The Drifter’s “Ramblin’ Man,” set over a marching drumbeat.  The Depression-era tale of a man with only fifteen cents to spare can only afford “One Meatball,” and the rhythm pattern is a reggae-fied delight!  Mick takes a clever look at the “Trouble” one can encounter in a bar, and morphs into the “only zombie on the planet playin’ the blues” in “Walkin’ (Dead) Blues.”  The set closes as Mick invites us all “down to the Crossroads” to that little “Delta Town” known as Clarksdale, MS.  You can stay at the Riverside Hotel,” where Miss Bessie (Smith) died!”  This one has Watermelon Slim on harp and dobro.

We had three favorites, too.  Mick strips the Three Dog Night classic, “Mama Told Me Not To Come,” down to its base elements, turning it into a blues rave-up, with harp from Brandon Santini.  We all know Muddy enjoyed the occasional “Champagne and Reefer,” and Eric Hughes’ slide guitar compliments Mick’s own potions for his pain, “Grapes And Greens,” with a side order of “Tennessee corn” for good measure!  And, it ain’t every day that your publicist gets name-checked in a song, but, Mick is wantin’ a little time with just his “fishin’ pole,” so he warns “Frank (Roszak), don’t be callin’ me with your funk.  If I Ain’t Fishin’, I’ll be sleepin’, and if I ain’t sleepin’, I’ll be drunk!!”

Mick Kolassa treats us all to a good mix of several styles of blues on “Ghosts Of The Riverside Hotel.”  And, as with his debut, all the proceeds from the sale of this album go to the Blues Foundation, and, specifically, the HART Fund and Generation Blues.  A philanthropic bluesman—what a cool combination!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

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