Great Review by Graham Clarke - Michael Falzarano
Friday Blues Fix, Blues Bytes June 1 2015
Michael Falzarano – I Got Blues For Ya / Hypnotation/Woodstock Records
By Graham Clarke
Michael Falzarano has covered a lot of musical ground over his 45+year career. He’s played with Hot Tuna, The Jorma Kaukonen Trio, The New Riders of the Purple Sage, and his own bands The Memphis Pilgrims, and The Extended Family. Falzarano’s latest release, I Got Blues For Ya (Hypnotation Records/Woodstock Records) offers a dozen excellent tracks of blues and roots, with ten originals from the singer/songwriter/guitarist and two compelling covers.
The originals include the opener, “The Night King Curtis Died,” a grinding rocker about the infamous day the R&B legend was killed that’s driven by Falzarano’s anguished vocals and Kane Daily’s screaming slide guitar. The title track has a crunching Diddley-esque guitar rhythm and an intense vocal from Falzarano. “I Never Think About You” changes tempos a bit, moving to a mellow feel with stinging lead work from guitarist Josh Colow, B3 and piano courtesy of Professor Louie and sweet backing vocals from the good Professor and Miss Marie.
The jumping “Snake Box Boogie” will get the party on their feet in a hurry, with more great work on the keys from Professor Louie and guitar from Colow. The country groover “Big Fish” showcases Kerry Kearney on slide guitar and the late Vassar Clements on fiddle, followed by the rollicking shuffle, “We Got A Party Going On,” and the southern rocker “Good Good Lovin’.” Falzarano takes on a familiar topic, dealing with the devil, on the next two tunes, the hypnotic boogie “Crossroads Avenue” and “The Devil’s Gone Fishin’,” which features some tasty fretwork from Kearney. “Trouble” also cites the devil, this time as a female with black hair, dressed in red.
The covers include a live version of Rev. Gary Davis’ “Death Don’t Have No Mercy,” with Falzarano backed by Jam Stampede. His soulful vocal is backed powerfully by Jason Crosby’s fiddle and Barry Mitterhoff’s mandolin. Wilbert Harrison’s “Let’s Work Together” closes the disc on an optimistic, and rocking, note.
Falzarano’s warm vocals are ideally suited for his material, giving the tunes a comfortable lived-in feeling. You feel like you know these songs even though you’re hearing them for the first time. A tip of the hat also goes to the numerous backing.