PW: egroj

domingo, 26 de febrero de 2017

Kid Ramos • Greasy Kid Stuff

Review by Hal Horowitz
For his fourth solo release, and third on the Evidence label, the Fabulous Thunderbirds' guitarist, Kid Ramos, once again calls in some high-profile blues friends for assistance. Instead of last album's guitarists and jump blues horns, this time Ramos sticks with harpists/vocalists to provide the momentum on a set of relatively stripped-down, greasy blues. He's also the only guitarist on the sessions, which makes this a spotlight for his picking as well as his bandleading abilities. Harmonica aces Rick Estrin (Little Charlie & the Nightcats), Paul de Lay, Lynwood Slim, Johnny Dyer, James Harman (who only plays on one of his three tracks and sings on the others), and Charlie Musselwhite, along with Rod Piazza, all contribute. The leadoff title cut, an instrumental that sounds like it was left over from his last horn-infused West Coast album, is the one exception. The sessions were cut in two days, which gives them a raw, not quite primal edge that adds to the gritty nature of the recording. Although the original intent was to perform exclusively covers, nearly all the harp-playing guests brought in their own original material. Just a handful of interpretations remain: Willie Dixon's "I Don't Care Who Knows"; an obscure Lightnin' Slim track, "Mean Ol' Lonesome Train"; an old uncredited Excello side, "Rich Man's Woman"; and Bobby Blue Bland's "Hold Me Tenderly." It sure sounds like this was one big part, as each guest plays with a relaxed gusto, whipping off harp lines with nonchalant intensity. Ramos' tough yet flexible guitar fills the holes and takes the lead just often enough so the listener knows whose album it is. Otherwise he's content to leave the majority of the spotlight to his high-profile guests, who turn in sterling performances. While few of their original tunes sound drastically different from standard blues fare, the ensemble playing and electrified atmosphere adds a palpable excitement to the tracks. The various vocals also infuse a diverse feel to the album, with Ramos' guitar and presence being the thread that holds it together. The closing "Harmonica Hangover" features Estrin and Musselwhite on what seems to be an improvised duet, with both harp men discussing the proceedings and other guests, as well as trading licks on an appropriately upbeat shuffle. It's a fitting finale to an album that works because of the loosely structured environment that Ramos provides, meshed with the remarkable talents of his talented contributors.

1 Greasy Kid Stuff     2:57
2 Chicken Hearted Women     3:01
3 Charlie's Old Highway 51 Blues     5:44
4 Say What You Mean, Baby     3:19
5 I Don't Care Who Knows     3:30
6 It's Hot In Here     2:52
7 Devil's Foot     3:55
8 Low Down Woman     3:30
9 Hold Me Tenderly     2:00
10 Marion's Mood     4:01
11 Rich Man's Woman On A Poor Man's Pay     3:53
12 Gratitude Is Riches (And Complaint Is Poverty)     3:58
13 Ain't Gonna Holler     2:59
14 That's What She Hollered     3:34
15 Country Woman     3:11
16 Mean Ol' Lonesome Train     2:54
17 Harmonica Hangover     3:35

    Acoustic Bass – Jeff Turmes
    Arranged By [Horns] – Jeff Turmes, Kid Ramos
    Drums – Richard Innes
    Electric Bass – Jeff Turmes (tracks: 1)
    Guitar, Vocals – Kid Ramos
    Percussion – Stephen Hodges (tracks: 9, 16)
    Piano – Tom Mann (2)
    Rhythm Guitar – jeff turmes (tracks: 12, 16)
    Saxophone – Jeff Turmes

    Recorded At – Clear Lake Audio

The Kid’s got it goin’ on here; 17 cuts steeped in the blues, but sounding as fresh as the day T-Bone Walker first strapped on an electric.
The concept here finds Ramos with lots of harp-playing buddies. Guesting on various cuts are the likes of Rod Piazza, James Harman, Lynwood Slim, Charlie Musselwhite, Rick Estrin, Paul DeLay, and Johnny Dyer. Not a bad lineup, eh?
While all the guests shine on vocals and harp, there’s plenty of room for Kid to play, too. The title cut is an instrumental roadhouse shuffle that lets him do his thing. “Chicken Hearted Woman” allows for some nasty soloing and some chickin’ pickin.’
Kid shows his West Coast influence throughout the proceedings, with nods to the aforementioned Mr. Walker. And on occasion – like “It’s Hot In Here” – things actually manage to get a little jazzy while keeping a good amount of grease on the effort.
I’ve always liked the way Ramos plays. His solo and band work with the likes of the Fabulous Thunderbirds have remained true to the tradition, while showing flair, imagination, and – most importantly – soul. And for this effort, fun too. Cuts like “That’s What She Hollered,” “Country Woman,” and “Harmonica Hangover” sound like a bunch of friends just havin’ a blast.
Kid has strung together two great albums – his West Coast House Party from last year, and this one, put him at the forefront of young traditional blues players. And, you know what else? He may have the coolest pompadour since Jimmy Vaughan was 30 years old. Gotta love it!
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Feb. ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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