The Hitman Blues Band review…May 12, 2016…

THE HITMAN BLUES BAND

THE WORLD MOVES ON

NERUS RECORDS  NR 4491

BAD BAD MAN–THAT’S WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A MAN–DON’T YOU TEMPT ME–MOVING ON–TWO-MINUTE WARNING–THE WORLD MOVES ON–HAMMER DOWN–TWO TRAINS RUNNING–CATCH-22 BLUES–ANGEL IN THE SHADOWS–JENNY GOODBYE–I’M ALL ABOUT YOU–HOOCHIE COOCHIE MAN

The Hitman Blues Band, based out of New York, play what they like to call “modern blues,” and they certainly do come at you with an abundance of energy.  We particularly like the way they meld the traditional sounds of the Delta with the uptown Stax sound thru the addition of a horn section.

That’s the story on their latest set, “The World Moves On.”  Russell “Hitman” Alexander is on guitar (a monster slide man, indeed!) and vocals, and wrote or co-wrote all the cuts ‘cept one.  Five tunes are originals that have been remixed and remastered, and now feature the Hitnan Horns.  “Bad Bad Man” leads off, with the Hitman’s hellhound slide hammereing out the blues ’bout a man with a lifetime of poor choices following him.  “Moving On” features drums from Bernard “Pretty” Purdie and a fine keys solo from Bobby Forrester.

Hitman takes a few unique looks at love and coping with and without it.  The minor-key story of a sad affair on the skids has just reached the “Two-Minute Warning before goodbye.”  The horns give this one a vintage soul feel, and do so again on the poignant look at the ultimate loss, where “The World Moves On, but my center is gone.”

There are timely touches of humor, too, to balance things out.  Hitman uses the analogies of chocolate, champagne, and even a mattress to describe to all the ladies just “What It’s Like To Be A Man,” on this slyly-sexy midtempo groover.  And, a man who dreams of being with a lover involved with another man is the twisted tale of those “Catch-22 Blues,” featuring a cool touch of jazz, courtesy of Ray Alexander on the vibes!

Our favorite was a chooglin’ harp-fueled (from Neil Alexander) endless-boogie journey straight down to the corner of Mississippi Hwy. 49 and 61.  It’s called “Two Trains Running,” and, just like Robert Johnson, you KNOW what’s gonna happen–one train “pulls into the station, the other ain’t never comin’ back.”  Which one will YOU be on?

The Hitman Blues Band has brought the blues into the 21ST Century by combining its base elements that are most appealing to the fans–the Delta-meets-Stax sound is alive and well on “The World Moves On.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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