Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Black Wind Howlin' reviewed by Dennis Barker

Black Wind Howlin'
Samantha Fish
Ruf Records
12 Tracks/54:22

Samantha Fish, the effervescent young singer, songwriter, guitarist, first became known beyond the Kansas City area in 2011 with the release of "Girls With Guitars" on Ruf Records. She soon after released her first Ruf solo CD, "Runaway", for which she was awarded the 2012 Blues Music Awards "Best New Artist Debut". After two years of nearly non-stop touring, Samantha has now released her second solo album, "Black Wind Howlin'", a collection of 12 tunes, 10 written by Fish, one co-written with Mike Zito, and one well chosen cover, that will almost certainly garner even more awards.

The CD opens with a fast pace blues rocker, "Miles To Go", a tune borne from endless touring, that sets the scene for the high energy, intense, guitar driven songs that follow. Next is "Kick Around" an upbeat, uplifting tune with some great guitar from producer Mike Zito, just one of the many great tracks on this disc.

"Go To Hell", a good tune co-written with Zito, is a powerful male vs female duet between Fish and  guest vocalist Paul Thorn. Track four, "Sucker Born", features dirty slide wah guitar from Fish, and some great wailin harp work from "Jumpin Johnny Sansone". Next comes "Over You", one of the lighter tracks, a slow ballad with nice guitar complimenting Samantha's voice.

The only non Fish penned song on the disc, "Whos' Been Talkin'", written by Chester Burnett, aka "howlin' Wolf", is another of the many highlights on this CD. With excellent guitar from Fish and more heavy harp from Jumpin Johnny Sansone, this great cover of a classic blues tune is sure to please fans everywhere.

On a CD full of great cuts #7, "Lay It Down", may possibly be the best of them all with a driving beat, superb dirty-grungy guitar, lyrics that paint great mental images of "just another Saturday night", and a super vocal performance from Samantha. It also has a clever lyrical reference to a previous effort, "just a reckless little runaway, got something to prove", evidence of Samantha's considerable lyrical skills. Next a change of pace with "Lets have Some Fun", a nice, sexy, laid back little blues ditty that stands tall with just Samantha's vocal and a single acoustic guitar-she just keeps getting better.

A couple of killer blues rockers, "Heartbreaker" (a Fish original, no relation to the Zeppelin tune of the same name) and "Foolin Me", both well done tunes, are followed by the title track "Black Wind Howlin'", a solid blues effort with some smoking guitar that rocks from start to finish. The surprise closer, "Last September" is a straight up country song that features the fiddle of Bo Thomas. A nice way to end a collection of upbeat, guitar driven blues rock tunes, the change of pace demonstrates  the versatility and depth of Ms. Fish. "Black Wind Howlin'" is highly recommended.

Reviewed by Dennis Barker


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