Mr Black and Blues’ album “Blow These Tracks”
From humble beginnings, Michael Pollitt returns as Mr Black and Blues for a second album “Blow These Tracks” recorded live on the Blues Train. This album is unique and special, produced with special guest Chris Wilson, an Australian legend. “Blow These Tracks” is hearty and it’s meaty and as a live recording, it’s so grounded and earthy. In a world first, this album was recorded on one of Australia’s live music institutions, Queenscliff’s Legendary Blues Train (a working steam train!), home to Australia’s finest Blues musicians for over 20 years. This album comes after a 10 years abroad and has so far sold out all of its shows in Australia.
“Blow These Tracks” offers a nice fusion between Rock and Roll and Blues with possibly a twang of Country. With the constant drum beat, not unlike that of a train, this album really shows off the electric guitar talent that Mr Black and Blues has. Each song is (unsurprisingly) just made that much better by Wilson’s crazy harmonica. The compilation between the two is energetic and spirit-lifting just because the passion for music that both musicians have just oozes from each song. Mr Black and Blues is influenced by a number of greats, Max Crawdaddy, Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles, with a cover of “Gimme Some Lovin’” being performed in the latter half of the CD. In my opinion, nothing beats the original Ray Charles, no matter how hard you try, but they show a good effort in just using guitar, drums and harmonica. This rendition is more rock than anything, with a set beat and dominant, husky vocals and harmonica/guitar solos. In this respect, they take the song and make it their own, but I’m just not sure I would have tried to cover a legend.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m being picky, this album is fantastic. It’s wholesome and really shows off their talent. In fact, there are elements of this album that do a great job in paying homage to classic sounds, for example “Muddy Waters” begins as a fantastic rock song, with a strong electric guitar, then the harmonica somehow reminds us that the album is being recorded on a steam train. It’s interesting and oddly curious how such a sound can be reminiscent of a place. Wonderful. The long winded harmonica from Wilson just takes me to a place where the yellow grass is long and sways lethargically in a warm breeze into an oncoming dusk. Have a listen to “Broken Heart Blues” and tell me you don’t see yourself in a hammock there.
Although each song has the same sound (instrumentally and vocally), they do well to vary the atmosphere with tempo and pace. Some are energetic like the constant chug of a train, while some are slow and lazy. This just shows great talent and range from the musicians and somehow I just feel that in their audience conversation between song, Mr Black and Blues should have a thick southern accent. In this respect, this album just makes me proud to be Australian because he is an Aussie himself!
For more information, check out http://www.mrblackandblues.com/