Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wild Cards reviewed by Harmonica Joe

Wild Cards
Al Miller
Delmark Records
14 Tracks/70:10

Al Miller’s CD, “Wild Cards”, has just been re-released by Delmark Records. Originally released in 1994, Wild Cards” was produced by Dave Specter. This recording is one that is well worthy of being available again for new and old blues fans to hear.

Al Miller may not be one of Delmark’s most known blues artist but after listening to “Wild Cards” you will realize that he should be. Miller is one heck of a harmonica player vocalist, guitarist as well as a fine songwriter.

Over the years Al Miller played with Johnny Young, The Durty Works, and Mike Bloomfield (to name a few). Miller semi-retired from music to do a “real” job and have a family.

“Wild Cards” has a very formidable list of players, this includes Willie Kent, Harlen Terson and Mike McCurdy taking turns on bass. There are also four vocalist included in the mix. Theses are Al Miller, Willie Kent, Tad Robinson and Steve Fruend. Joining the list of players are three awesome guitarist, Al Miller, Dave Specter and Steve Freund. When Ken Saydak is added on piano and organ, “Wild Cards” has a great line up of blues musicians! This CD’s list of fine players and singers make it a very unique recording. At the same time this fact makes it hard to review individually with limited time and space.

“Special Way” is a tune that showcases Al Miller’s vocals, harmonica playing, guitar licks as well as song writing ability. The harp playing gets your attention along with the piano playing of Ken Saydak. This is a good tune.

“Deal The Cards” features Willie Kent doing a fine job on vocals and bass. Al Miller’s harp solos are really enhanced by Dave Specter’s guitar playing on this track. This tune is a strong tune for this CD project.

I do have to give special mention to the instrumental track, “Blues For John Littlejohn”. The guitar playing of both Steve Freund and Dave Specter are showcased here. Both of the guitars play off of each other to the beat of Harlan Therson’s strong bass line. This is one of the best tracks on “Wild Cards”.

I hate not to mention all the fine players and tunes on the CD, take my word for it that Al Miller’s CD “Wild Cards” is a blues recording to be listened to.

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