Stinging Blades | Slow River

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Delbert McClinton John Hiatt Stax/Volt Soul

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United States - North Carolina

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Rock: Roots Rock Blues: Soul-Blues Moods: Mood: Fun
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Slow River

by Stinging Blades

Funky, bluesy roots/rock for the thinking man or woman
Genre: Rock: Roots Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Reciprocity
2:32 $0.99
2. Mel's Place
3:27 $0.99
3. Pocket of Love
3:37 $0.99
4. Glass and Gravel
4:28 $0.99
5. Invitation to Harm
3:08 $0.99
6. The Middle
4:27 $0.99
7. Murphy's Lawyer
2:49 $0.99
8. Mr. Buddy
4:18 $0.99
9. Motor City Sadness
3:19 $0.99
10. South Chatham Strut
5:03 $0.99
11. Abandon All Hope
5:06 $0.99
12. Slow River
6:35 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Stinging Blades return with their third CD “Slow River,” featuring their best playing and strongest collection of songs to date. The boys channel the feel of Stax/Volt and Chess Records, blending funky roots-rock grooves and touches of psychedelia into that unique Stinging Blades sound. The twelve tunes feature lyrics both smart and catchy that cover themes from troubled love (“Reciprocity,” “Invitation to Harm,” “Murphy’s Lawyer”), to the Great Recession (“Mr. Buddy,” “Motor City Sadness”), to environmental devastation (“Abandon All Hope”), guilt (“Glass and Gravel”), and personal redemption (“Slow River”). The finely honed arrangements support Joe Bell’s soulful singing and wailing harmonica with intricate and fiery interplay between the guitar work of Dick MacPhail and Bill McCarthy and the keyboard stylings of Joe MacPhail. Underpinning it all are Tracy Wiebeck’s elegant, full, and propulsive bass playing and the solid, syncopated drive of Ed Mezynski’s drumming. With guests Mel Melton on harmonica and Shannon Dancy on backup vocals adding color to the sonic mix, it all comes together into a highly satisfying musical ride.

The CD kicks off with “Reciprocity,” propelled by a pounding soul beat and a snarling slide guitar that sounds right out of the Stax/Volt catalog. This leads into “Mel’s Place,” Joe Bell’s ode to chef/musician Mel Melton and his venue, featuring a harmonica duel between Joe Bell and Mel himself, all on top of a bluesy feel that hearkens back to Chess records and Howlin’ Wolf. “Pocket of Love” takes a turn toward funk, with a guitar/bass riff reminiscent of AWB and a colorful and rhythmic organ solo from Joe MacPhail. Wiebeck and Bell’s “Glass and Gravel” brings the mood down in a rootsy tale of guilt and search for peace, supported by a haunting background vocal from Shannon and Dick’s plaintive slide guitar. The jaunty “Invitation to Harm” then brings things back up harmonically and features a nice “Booker T approved” organ solo from Joe. Closing out what would have been the first side of an LP is Tracy Wiebeck’s “The Middle,” a minor key blues rocker that rides a driving ZZ Top style beat and climaxes with an incendiary wah-wah solo by Bill.

The album’s “second side” takes off with “Murphy’s Lawyer,” a hook laden, up tempo rocker with a Rockpile style guitar intro/outro, and well matched honky-tonk piano and harp solos. A heavy “wall of guitars” riff starts “Mr. Buddy,” the Blades funkified appeal to President Obama for leadership through the Great Recession. The song features a terrific bass part from Tracy laden with perfect pauses, a wild solo of dueling fuzz guitars, and another fine, funky organ solo from Joe MacPhail. The Great Recession theme continues with “Motor City Sadness,” the Blades anguished take on the city’s great fall, with Dick’s and Bill’s solos building from sad to mad. “South Chatham Strut” brings the mood back up in a toe-tapping, dance-inducing instrumental in the Mar-Keys/MGs vein, with a MacPhail father-son, guitar-organ “head,” great drumming and spicy fills from Ed, and fine solos all around. True to its title, “Abandon All Hope” presents a dark and foreboding picture of selfishness and environmental destruction that would make Captain Beefheart proud. With swampy, dirty bluesy guitars and lyrics like “tie a rope around the neck of love,” you know this song is not for the Captain and Tennille crowd. The CD closes with the soul-drenched, gospel tinged “Slow River,” which sounds as if it might have been penned by John Hiatt or Dan Penn as a vehicle for James Carr or Otis Clay. Joe Bell pours on the emotion, supported by the “Washinaway” chorus, in a beautiful reflection on mortality and release.



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