Randy McAllister review…November 28, 2015…

RANDY MCALLISTER

AND THE SCRAPPIEST BAND IN THE MOTHERLAND

GRISTLE TO GOLD

REACTION RECORDS

THE KID WITH THE REALLY OLD SOUL–THE PUSH–SOMETHING THAT DON’T COST A DIME–CRAPPY FOOD, NO SLEEP, A VAN AND A BUNCH OF SONGS–I’M LIKE A BOOMERANG–YOU LIT THE DYNAMITE–SOMEONE’S BEEN THERE–BOWLING PIN–GLASS HALF FULL–A WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING–HEY HOOKER–NINJA BOUT CHA

Randy McAllister is a fifth-generation Texan who got the drumming bug from his father, who, besides being a firefighter, drummed in a local rock band.  And, when Randy was stationed in Massachusetts in the Air Force, he learned to blow a mean blues harp.  When he returned to Texas in 1992, he’d developed his razor-sharp wit for writing songs, too.  He’s released several albums for JSP, Severn, and Reaction, (check out his fine 2007 effort, “Dope Slap Soup,” for more of this man’s talents!) and Reaction has just released his latest, “Gristle To Gold.”  It is twelve cuts that trace Randy’s many and varied influences, as well as his unique looks at life, love, and being a blues man.

Leading off is “The Kid With The Really Old Soul.”  It’s a good autobiography for Randy, set over a driving shuffle with slide from Rob Dewan.  It details a young man wise beyond his years, who digs “Dylan, Otis Redding, and Rev. Gary,” and everyone in between.  Andrea Wallace adds backing vocals on the sanctified feel of “Something That Don’t Cost A Dime,” and has that good ole Delaney and Bonnie groove.

Randy gets in a sweet, reflective mood on the soul-infused “Like A Boomerang,” and again on Someone’s Been There.”  He takes a couple of different looks at relationships with “Whole Lot Of Nothing but trouble with you,” but finds a measure of redemption with a lover who makes him realize he drinks from a “Glass Half Full” when he’s with her, “no matter how far I fall down.”

We had two favorites, too.  A stomping, freight-train beat drives the tale of a man who “keeps coming back when I should’ve had enough,” just like that proverbial “Bowling Pin.”  And, he shouts out to John Lee Hooker on the piano-heavy rocker, “Hey Hooker,” thanking the legend for that “endless boogie” on cuts such as “Boom Boom,” “I’m Bad Like Jesse James,” and “Want Ad Blues,” to name a few.

Randy McAllister tells it like it is—yep, he “don’t need validation from any outside source,” because the deep, delicious grooves of “Gristle To Gold” speak volumes!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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