PRELUDE TO CLEAN SLATE–CLEAN SLATE–SALT STONES–RAISE A TOAST–BULLFIGHTER BLUES–LAY LOW–BEE AND THE BOXER–LET IT GO–BLACK SUGAR–GOLDEN GLOVES–MI-5’S ALIVE–NO MEMORY–SHAKE LOOSE PARANOIA–SHINE A LIGHT–SEIZURE GIRL
For Dallas-based Bravo Max–frontman and bassist Johnny Beauford, Garrett Padgett, and Jonathan Jackson–their latest album, “Bullfighter Blues” offers up a radical departure from their past works. On this set of fifteen originals, the band pays a collective nod to several styles, genres’, and eras, and visit several of the bands they were listening to at the time these tracks were laid down over six days in the spring of 2015, namely groups such as The Kinks, Black Sabbath, Tame Impala and Kurt Vile, to name just a few. That quirky vibrance is one of the cool things about this set.
Check out the opening cut, a 90-second instrumental entitled “Prelude To Clean Slate,” that sounds as if Ennio Morricone met Marshall Tucker on the way to the Allmans house. It segues’ into “Clean Slate,” a tale of a man looking to “start over” in a relationship. It utilizes a unique horn section over wah-wah guitars, and those odd arrangements are all over this set.
The title cut, “Bullfighter Blues,” might remind long-time Middle Tennesseeans of our own Webb Wilder, with the twangy guitars over the brash vocals, as well as the dark humor of the set-closing “Seizure Girl.” Our favorites, tho, leaned more toward the British Invasion guys. The guitars in “Lay Low” start out quietly enough before giving way to a full-on aural assault by song’s end. And, the roadhouse rock of “Bee And The Boxer” owes a nod to both Chuck Berry and The Replacements.
To properly appreciate Bravo Max and “Bullfighter Blues,” one needs only to turn it up loud, sit back, smoke a Camel, and raise a toast to one of the Big D’s best bands! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.