Jay Gordon and Blues Venom review…August 17, 2015…

JAY GORDON AND BLUES VENOM

WOODCHOPPER’S BALL

SHUTTLE MUSIC  SHU  14115

THE STINGER–HOBO HILTON–CHAINSAW BOOGIE–STRANGER BLUES–VOODOO WOMAN–TRAVELIN RIVERSIDE BLUES–PAIN–MESSAGE TO COLLINS–DRIPPIN BLUES–PURE GRAIN ALCOHOL–BLUES VENOM–ORIGINAL SIN

For those unfamiliar with Jay Gordon, he is a West-Coast, certified bad mofo blues guitar player.  Endorsed by Gretsch, he coaxes enough energy outta that “big black guitar” to power most Third World countries!!  Seriously, tho, Jay has opened for the likes of Albert Collins and Johnny Winter, and has played Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival.  Add to that his Grammy nomination, and his pedigree is in place.

“Woodchopper’s Ball” is his latest set, twelve cuts of originals mixed with cool covers that just let the man wail on the strings.  He starts off the party, exhorting “Let’s go to work,” then rips into “The Stinger.”  Bassist Sharon Butcher handles the vocals on Koko’s “Voodoo Woman,” while Jay sends out an icy-cold blast of blues on the instrumental, “Message To Collins.”

If you dig slow, deep, passionate, crash-and-burn blues, then this album is one you cannot miss.  Jay turns in several fine slow-riders, including some killer slide work on “Pain,” while the autobiographical “Blues Venom” features fine B-3 work from Rich Wenzel, and a cool harp break from Mario Ramirez, the real-life brother of the late Richie Valens.  The set closes with a bang and nine minutes of blues bliss where we learn the “Original Sin” of a bluesman!

This set has its share of lighter moments, too, and those served as our favorites.  A little shot of Elmore James comes thru in the roadhouse rock of “Chainsaw Boogie,” played on a guitar made from a real chainsaw!  The “Hobo Hilton” is a tongue-in-cheek slow-burner about living in L. A. literally in the shadow of the Capitol Records building, but the fame and fortune that goes with it might as well be a million miles away.  And, the set’s most unique cut is Jay’s take on “Travelin’ Riverside Blues,”  done unplugged and acoustic, just the way ole Robert Johnson intended, on his way down to the Crossroads.

Jay Gordon can hold his own with any guitar slinger on the planet, and he lets all his fire and fury fly from his fingers on “Woodchoppeer’s Ball.”  Simply put, the man can rock some blues!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

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