Friday, January 18, 2008

The Charles Burton Blues Band reviewed by Dave Stine

The Charles Burton Blues Band
Charles Burton Blues Band
12 tracks

This is a self-funded CD (read Disc Makers) that came without much side information but with a very nice letter. The Charles Burton Band (Charles: guitar and vocals; drummer, Eduardo Sabogal; and bassist, Rick Nash) hails from San Diego, CA. From the minimalist artwork (just some photos) I didn’t know what to expect. Charles Burton is a tall man with a bald head who resembles, somewhat, any number of villains on TV detective shows. The first song on the CD, “I Wouldn’t Lie To You,” is a typical 12-bar mid-tempo blues tune employing the over-done graveled up voice. My first reaction was, gosh, not again--BORING. At song 2, “Cuba” Burton leaves familiar and clich├ęd blues territory with a nice samba-esqe instrumental ala Wes Montgomery. Song 3, “You Can’t Treat Me That Way” is familiar walking blues tune that Charles guitar hook makes it unique and enjoyable. A “Crosscut Saw” riff begins song 4: “Big Eyes.” The Charles Burton band seems to favor non-standard blues backbeat drumming for a samba-type beat. Maybe it’s the SoCal location. So just when I think I’ve caught on to their thing, song 5, “This Little Number,” swings out of the speakers dripping of B.B. King/T-Bone Walker. This is yet another car/girl double entendre tune but Charles hooks gets a pass from me. Shoot, the guy wrote everything, so I’ll give him a break. Song 6 again shakes me, wakes me back into the James Gang era of my youth. The funky “How We Do It Downtown” demonstrates another side to this versatile band.

“My Baby Don’t Love Me” is a slow blues that is satisfying if nothing new. “Swing It” which follows is Les Paul without the overdubbing--a very nice instrumental. “Block Party,” the next song is one I’d like to re-write to fit the end of a day at New Orleans Jazzfest where there are literally miles of block parties. Burton’s version involves a car breakdown that turns into a fun time. Hmmmmmmmm, seems there are quite a few car references on this CD. And yes, “Block Party” is VERY samba influenced, but this time with Albert Lee-like country licks over top. Thanks for asking. Song 10 (if you’ve been counting) is pretty standard blues fare and the closest the CD has to “filler.” “I’d Like To Know” is perhaps my favorite on the CD mainly because of the cool chords Burton throws in on top of yet another “Crosscut Saw” beat, again with country guitar licks. The last song on the CD, “Pull Her Over,” is a rockin’ blues tune (again with a car) that brings a nice close to what ended up being a very enjoyable CD experience. Pluses for Burton are that he only gravels up his voice twice; he doesn’t play long solos and what he plays is tasty; and he has a tight band that can play outside of the standard blues box. I look forward to more from The Charles Burton Band and hope to see them live somewhere.

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