Friday, March 1, 2013

A True Friend (Is Hard To Find) reviewed by Harmonica Joe

A True Friend (Is Hard To Find)
Ori Naftaly
Self produced
10 tracks/48:11

Ori Naftaly, a guitarist and composer from Israel, has been playing guitar since the age of 5. He has studied various genres of music which included jazz, classical and blues. Now the Ori Naftaly Band has released a true blues CD. With the release of “A True Friend (Is Hard To Find) they hope to let the blues fans know who they are and the blues that they perform. In October 2012 the band won the Israeli Blues Challenge and will be in Memphis for the International Blues Challenge to promote their new CD.

The band for this CD features Ori Naftaly on lead guitar, Eran Szendri on bass, Ofir Ventura blowing harp, drummers Yam Regev and Shoni Dadon sharing the drum work and keyboardist Kfir Tzairi and Erez Ofer. Also included in this mix of fine musicians are Yiftach Mandelbaum on sax, Dor Nagar on slide guitar and harmonica. Added to this are no less than six singers which make it tough to determine which one is doing a great job of singing the lyrics. You may go to to check out all the artist. This is really a great lineup of blues artist for this CD.

The opening track, “Devil Red Blues”, was written by Naftaly and Nagar. This song starts out with Dor Nagar laying down some really bluesy harp as Naftaly plays some way down south acoustic guitar. Nagar’s vocals sound authentic as he sings out his lyrics his feelings and power. This is a solid blues tune that makes you want to listen to the rest of the blues coming at you. On “Dust My Broom” we get a large dose of Ori’s guitar solo talent along with a large helping of some strong keyboard from Erez Ofer. The harmonica and vocals from Nagar again are a treat to the ears.

With tunes such as “She’s 19 Years Old”, “Help Me’, “It’s A Man’s World” and Koko Taylor’s “I’m A Woman” we become aware of the bands talent and feelings for the traditional blues. This band does a great job presenting these tunes with their own style. The 10 songs on this CD are a strong indication that the Ori Naftaly Band studied the blues  of past masters and want to be a future force keeping the blues alive.

It would not be right to look at Ori Naftaly’s “A True Friend (Is Hard To Find) as a band from Israel trying to play the blues. This recording should be listened to first and then find out who and where the musicians are and came from. This CD showcases a very talented and dedicated group of musicians and singers led by Ori Naftaly playing the blues in the right way. Listen to this one and pay attention and you will see that the blues are still alive for young rising stars.

Reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis

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