Manx Marriner Mainline review…April 25, 2019….

MANX MARRINER MAINLINE

HELL BOUND FOR HEAVEN

STONY PLAIN RECORDS  SPCD  1404

NOTHING–EVERYBODY KNOWS–HELL BOUND FOR HEAVEN–MY LORD–MY ONLY ONE–RATTLESNAKE BLUES–WISH I HAD ANSWERED–DEATH HAVE NO MERCY IN THIS LAND–THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE–RISE AND FALL IN LOVE

Going all the way back to the Original Sin, the soul of Man has been in a constant struggle to cope with doing what is morally right as opposed to pleasing his senses.  For us, whenever bluesmen tackle this moral dilemma, often one is treated to one of the best style of blues.  And, if it is two stalwarts of contemporary blues that get together to make it happen, then it is “double good,” indeed!  Such is the case with Stony Plain Records artists Harry Manx and Steve Marriner, who are “Hell Bound For Heaven” on their latest outing for Holger Petersen’s prestigious label.

Harry and Steve have spent many a mile on the road together since Harry took the then-sixteen-year-old Steve on tour with him after his parents’ blessing.  Their paths have always crossed over the course of the last 20 years, but their chemistry is really elevated herein.  Both share vocals and a myriad of instruments on this set, and it leads off with a more traditional, “Chicago blues” cut, “Nothing,” with Steve on harp.  The title cut, a Steve original, has a pure Delta feel, as our hero is “tired of draggin’ these old bones around,”  ready to be “Hell Bound For Heaven, going home to stay!”  It features Harry on the multi-stringed Indian instrument, the Mohan Veena.  Old-time country gospel is the theme of another Steve original, “My Lord is gonna save my soul,” with Steve on harp and 12-string guitar, and the “Marrinaires” on backing vocals!

The fellows go deep for some timeless covers, too.  Harry is on vocals and the slide guitar as he plays the “traveling lover” of Charley Patton’s “Rattlesnake Blues,” with Steve on the harp.  Steve’s vocal and baritone guitar lead the way in our favorite, a soulful, bittersweet read of Roebuck Staples’  classic tale of spiritual regret, “Wish I Had Answered when He called.”

Harry Manx and Steve Marriner had been kicking this idea around for a while, and now, “Hell Bound For Heaven” is a reality.  It is a fine example of that ‘fore day creep of Saturday night that surely gives way to the redemption of Sunday morning!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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