Thursday, December 27, 2012
Sleeper reviewed by Rick Davis
The Tall Paul Band
Tall Paul Webner, originally from Canada, is a seasoned 20 year bluesman. He grew up in Washington D.C. with a passion for learning guitar. After finally ending up in Tucson, Arizona, he formed the Tall Paul Band with Kevin Heiderman on bass and Les Merrihew on drums, in 1998. The band has made an appearance at both the Chicago Blues Fest as well as Buddy Guy's Legends. He has backed bluesmen like Sam "The Man" Taylor and opened for blues legends like Studebaker John and the Hawks, covering obscure venues for over twenty years.
Sleeper, the debut album for this power trio, features nine original tunes in addition to cover songs "Matchbox" (Ike Turner) and "Come To Papa" (Willie Mitchell/Earl Randle). "Come To Papa" is a tune trans-formed from the blues classic "Come To Mama" by Koko Taylor and Etta James with a strong baseline and soulful vocals from Webner. The CD opens with the original tune "Sleeper," allowing Paul Webner to vacillate between lead and rhythm guitar with ease and is driven by a highly charged, electrifying bassline. "Space Race," one of two instrumentals, is a throw back to an intergalactic '60s instrumental with the other being "Don't Leave" a smoother jazz tune with a rumba beat. "Ridin" is a great shuffle giving you the sense of rollin' down the highway on a Harley without a care in the world. Bass and lead guitar are in perfect unison on the hard-driving, blues-rocker "Something Special." "That's For Sure" is smooth shuffle with Paul flooding his baby with adulation. Move over Elvis for the rockabilly infused original "199 Days" penned by the base player Kevin Heiderman. "Goin Back Home" delivers guitar solos reminiscent of The Georgia Satellites "Keep Your Hands To Yourself" with an added harmonica solo from Paul. "No More" is a nice mix of jazz and funky rhythm guitar flowing throughout the tune.
Tall Paul Webner is able to produce a multitude of sounds from his ES-355 Gibson creating a great collection of musical styles. His debut album is a masterpiece, hopefully with much more to follow.
Reviewed by Rick Davis