Bobby Messano with Deanna Bogart – Welcome To Deltaville
I love the cover concept but the album isn’t just another tribute to Mayall, Clapton & The Bluesbreakers, (despite beginning with a great version of Otis Rush’s “All Your Love”),
this is a modern blues album which stands on the merits of great songs and superb playing. “Invisible Man” could easily have been written by Clapton – get the song to him immediately!
A languid, laid back beat, tasty slide (with a nod to a well known song) and great vocals bid us “Welcome To Deltaville” – “A peaceful spot where we all should be” – yes please! – real or imaginary!
“The Way Of The World” is a reggae tinged tale of resignation at the way things are in the world these days – great singalong backing vocals means we can all share our feelings at the way things are!
“My Crazy Dreams” is a slow blues which, lyrically, many of us can empathise with. A very tasty guitar solo from Bobby is a highlight of this track. In fact the guitar playing across the whole album is superb – tasteful and understated. The guitar sound across the whole album is firmly rooted in the blues – I’d love to have access to those amps and guitars!
As the title suggest “I Ain’t Got Diddley” features the well known riff made famous by Bo and played by garage bands around the world, Here Bobby tells the protaganist of the song, in no uncertain terms, that he ain’t got Diddley for her! There’s a hint, before a short blistering solo, of some JamBand sensibilities at play – more on that later.
The second cover on the album, “The Way You Do The Things You Do” is one of my favourite songs written by Smokey Robinson and I’ve always loved the live versions played by Jerry Garcia. Here Bobby & the band stay true to the feeling of the original version by The Temptations, but add their own swing and great touches to the track. Again, Bobby’s guitar solos are exemplary, and bandmate Deanna Bogart swings a superb sax solo and duets with Bobby’s guitar as the track finishes. I bet this tune swings when it is played live!
“Lonely Town” slows things down after the whirlwind of the previous track – a slowly swinging cool blues number telling a tale that will resonate with many men of a certain age!
“Sleepwalk” is a guitar instrumental that guitar players of a certain age will all have tried to play – Bobby plays the heck out of it here with an emotional, lyrical ending solo built around the famous melody of this Santo & Johnny tune. Again the guitar sound is tremendous – kudos to Geoff “The Guitar Sound God” Wilbourn.
The album finishes with a storming extended version of Traffic’s “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” – a song beloved by many jamband fans and bands alike. Here, Deanna’s sax plays an integral role in the song. In fact the whole band stretch out – I bet this is a live favourite! (Don’t miss the last minute of the track – if you know what it means please let me know!)
So “Welcome To Deltaville” is an album that deserves a place in the collection of any blues fan – the original songs are simply excellent and deserve to be heard far and wide.
The covers are sympathetic interpretations of the originals, yet reflect the “Bobby Messano” sound, so fit in completely on this album. The musicianship is faultless.
In fact the only questions I have: When can I get to see this band play live? And can I bring my axe and sit in too?
(This will be Album Of The Week on The Blues Show on BishopFM on Sunday June 30th 6-9pm UK time.)