Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Danny Caron - How Sweet It Is (Self Released, 2008)

I have been getting dismayed at the lack of subtlety in a lot of blues guitar playing lately. Seemingly every guitarist wants to crank his instrument to ear-splitting levels and leave no note unplayed. So when Downbeat gave a short review to this disc, and remarked on Danny Caron's taste and restraint it caught my interest. Caron was guitarist and bandleader for the master of tasteful restraint, blues and R&B singer Charles Brown, and this disc carries on on that vein with a classy mix of ballads and blues. The disc opens in an exciting fashion with the uptempo instrumental "Zydeco Boogaloo" which mixes Louisiana gumbo funk with swinging R&B to good effect. The majority of the tracks here are instrumentals, mixing in jazz like the standard "Body & Soul" and the Brother Jack McDuff's organ grinder "Rock Candy." Vocalist Barbara Morrison sits in to sing a couple of simmering mid-tempo blues "The Promised Land" and "I Need Your Love So Bad" and an older track by Caron's former employer Charles Brown is featured on the late night blues of "Need Your Love So Bad." This was a solid disc of thoughtful and restrained jazzy blues. Fueled by the wonderfully swirling Hammond B3 organ of Jim Pugh, this is a classy tasteful disc.

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